Resident Evil: Revelations HD

♪♫”They’re the people from the freaking FBC…”♫♪

Platform Reviewed: Wii U (and a borrowed PS3 version)/ Price: £39.99 (borrowed PS3 version) / Time Played: 15+ hours

It’s odd coming into Resident Evil: Revelations having been an avid fan of it on the Nintendo 3DS.

Sometimes, it can be confusing to review something of this type because there is an overwhelming sense of familiarity and suspicion. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to overcome this and to see through the main campaign of Resident Evil: Revelations – where Jill and her new friend Parker, and Chris and his new slutty friend Jessica, are battling a strangely familiar foe, a new strain of T-Virus (in this case, the T-Abyss Virus) that can turn even innocent coy carp into many-toothed monstrosities, a masked individual and corporate corruption on a grand scale.

The High-Definition visuals are so often hit and miss; where the characters and foes have clearly had much love applied to them, some of the textures and scenery just out of reach are not rendered with as much polish and precision as the rest. It is true that when you consider how far an upscale this is from the Nintendo 3DS version that this really is quite a surprisingly slick job, but the devil in a game of this kind is in the detail – and it’s not just a few spots where corners were cut, there is evidence in each room, in each area you visit of these corners having been sidestepped in order to get the game out on time. It’s a visual stumble on the road you travel through the game, and a shame, because the effort applied in other parts is simply outstanding.

Revelations is also not quite as technically accomplished on consoles. It’s a real shame that on both the PS3 and Wii U versions I noticed at times significant delays and lag when things got rough and ready, and this is very much not acceptable when you consider the vastly increased power on offer. The code feels sloppy, almost slapdash, and that’s a real crying shame. But no more so than the campaign mode proper – something that feels like it was designed for a handheld console. The stop-start every ten or fifteen minutes and constant recaps are frankly better suited to a handheld, and the constant delays and interruptions and prompts to save or proceed or exit tend to just exacerbate the irritation. The Nintendo 3DS could get away with it for various reasons but none more so than it was technically amazing they managed to even do this much – take that and put it on a home console, interrupting the flow and hanging up on bombshells with an Eastenders-style drumbeat just annoys more than it entertains. Couple this with the technical hang-ups and it’s not shaping up well.

On both the PS3 and the Wii U it must be said that I found myself quite annoyed at the controls too. On the 3DS they were sharp and refined – the touch-screen and the layout all just exquisitely tuned. Neither version I tried were anything close to the sharp, almost razor-like feel from the Nintendo 3DS. Not even the Wii U, whose U-Pad version has been bastardised into submission with as few precision moments and the minimum of interactivity as is humanly possible. I could perhaps – PERHAPS – forgive the PS3 and XBox 360 versions for their ills as a compromise, but the U-Pad, in my eyes, has absolutely no excuse in the world to be as shoddy as it is and it’s a humiliating, degrading comedown from the original functional utility of the touch-panel.

So it’s rubbish then. Trashy, cheap, poorly-optimised and  in the real world wasn’t even asked for, or wanted.

Except for the Raid Mode.

Raid Mode, for me, is at least two-thirds of the play experience of Resident Evil: Revelations and deploys a variety of mission structures, usually to go from A to B however there are often some cases where you must battle your way through waves of enemies to activate the goal marker. The significant RPG-like elements of this, the constant tweaking of weapon parts and bonuses to stay competitive and up to date with the competition in each condensed map is addictive and thrilling. Unlocking characters with individual buffs sounds amazing, but in reality the buffs don’t matter too much in the grand scheme of things so most people will tend to stick to a character and an outfit that they personally like – which, I’m guessing, will come down to Jessica’s short-short skirt outfit or Rachel and the deep, deep plunge cut on her wetsuit that takes full advantage of her gravity-defying cleavage.

And there are multiple difficulty modes, many challenges, lots of weapon variations and plenty of challenge to be had. The Raid Mode is arguably the main attraction for most people when the formulaic and predictable campaign story has finally lost its charms – the brief moments of humour and the attempts at being far more high-brow than they really are by invoking Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy can only sustain it for so long. The multiplayer and the interactivity (often through the Wii U death messages and named enemy messages displays) do combine into something a lot more immediately enjoyable and there’s a huge amount of love for the Raid Mode.

So why wasn’t more love spent on it? I argued this with The Mercenaries 3D and I’m going to argue the same damned thing right now for Revelations HD. With more space, more power and more everything, why hasn’t more care and love gone on the arguably best part of the experience? Rachel as a character is great, but by the time you get Hunk – the game is over. Hunk isn’t a character more than a sign that you’ve officially pretty much completed everything the game has to offer for a single player, and will likely end up as a simple bragging right in multiplayer games. Limiting it only to Resident Evil: Revelations areas and characters also feels somewhat frustrating; with so much history in the series, so many locales and characters and even the much-missed Dino Crisis and Clock Tower games to pillage for scenes and characters, there’s arguably so much more that can be done within the confines of the Raid Mode that it’s hard to see any limitations at all. Capcom have the depth and breadth of characters and content to make the best and most refined Raid Mode Mercenaries Multiplayer Game ever conceived, and it would be utterly glorious. And you get that sense as you play through it, kind of always sad that it’s so limited and dependent on the game in which it is based.

Don’t misunderstand though, Raid Mode is still easily the best reason to buy Revelations HD without a second thought, but it’s not greatly improved over the Nintendo 3DS version and in truth, the multiple additions could have and arguably should have seen their way onto the Nintendo 3DS version. It’s incredible to me that Capcom spent any money at all on this multi-format HD release and ultimately still fails in its hit-or-miss tally of games in recent years. It still feels like a mistake, something that just shouldn’t exist or have been made to exist. Technically sharper controls and more interesting on a technical level on the Nintendo 3DS, a frustrating ploddy single player campaign on a home console and a raid mode that is sadly limited by the lack of Capcom’s ambitions, you just go through and concede that as a technical exercise, it’s rather impressive. As a game… you do have to wonder…

But the ultimate question has to be, “Was it worth it?”, and I have to say… as much as it pains me, no. Capcom might have thought that porting the very well-received Revelations to home consoles would temper the criticism it got from Resident Evil 6. You can’t really fault the logic – well-liked game on 3DS should directly equate to well-liked game on home consoles. But the execution is lacking. And truth is, the Nintendo 3DS version is faster, smoother and controls better. It is, ironically, the superior version of the game – as hard as it may be to accept that reality, it’s one that we must take on board when a company like Capcom is prepared to blow a years worth of money and staff time on a project of this kind. I am somewhat tired of companies complaining about not making money or selling enough units of games when you have things like this which, in fairness, make no bloody sense at all.

If Capcom really, truly want to compensate for Resident Evil 6, then do that series-defining “Mercenaries: The Raid, Extended”. Have characters from every Resident Evil, with multiple costume choices. Have hidden Easter Eggs and hidden bonuses, stages from across nearly two decades worth of games. Pillage Dino Crisis and Clock Tower for scenery and enemies and characters. Heck, even go back to where it all began in 1989 and take stages and characters from Sweet Home. Do something like that, a truly staggering celebration of Survival Horror and everything that Capcom has been doing with it for over two decades and then maybe, just maybe, we’ll sing your praises. Because it’s a history that deserves to be celebrated, not watered down into a set of series that just about pass the grade because they’re alright.

Revelations HD is just an upscaled and inferior version of a true handheld classic, a technical showcase of what was and is possible on the Nintendo 3DS. The home console is neither polished nor refined, and it certainly hasn’t been improved in any way at all. It is the same game – but by no means justifiable for the entry price, especially when the 3DS version was cheaper and is cheaper still than this game. And yes, let’s say it again – the 3DS version is, to my mind, the better game overall.

And that’s so depressing I think right now I’m going to go into the bedroom and cry myself to sleep.

SUMMARY;

YAY!;

  • Rachel is playable! Woo!
  • The new weapon mods in Raid Mode are much improved.
  • It’s certainly a great technical exercise.

NAY!;

  • The campaign structure doesn’t fit a home console title.
  • Controls are not as clean as the 3DS original.
  • How can this have MORE slowdown points than the 3DS version? Can someone explain if this is not simply lazy optimisation?
  • Raid Mode could be so very much more if Capcom bothered to spend any time making it more.

Ey?;

  • Rachel is a pretty agent, this is just ‘tween me and you,
  • It’s a pity then that in the end she turns into an Ooze.
  • (Is it weird that even as a leech I’m looking at her boobs?)
  • So it’s absolutely certain
  • That just behind that bloodied curtain
  • Are the people from the freaking FBC!

(I am not sorry Seth McFarlane for ripping off your ripping off of the Fireman’s Picnic Anthem.)

OVERALL CONCLUSION – Zomnomnomnom… (5 out of 10 – Average)

Resident Evil: Revelations isn’t a complete disaster, but there’s no ambition or polish at work here and frankly it was much better and had much more impact on the Nintendo 3DS. It all leads to a game that feels more like a missed opportunity than an attempt to save face, a game that compromises between all the consoles and versions and ultimately ends up pleasing none of them. This could have been an update to the 3DS version and I’d have applauded it. At a whole £39.99 though, it’s just a lot of money for something that feels like it shouldn’t be. The real revelation at play here is that the 3DS version is still the best.

 

* Image used taken from official title screen. No copyright infringement intended.

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