Resident Evil: Revelations has what previous games in the main series lacked: direction and confidence.
Originally released on the Nintendo 3DS, Resident Evil: Revelations is considered one of the best spinoffs in the survival horror series. So much in fact, that seeing the popularity of the episodic portable game, developer Capcom decided to upgrade the visuals to high-definition and bring Revelations to the Wii U, PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with the hopes that everyone who might have missed the 3DS version might play this one.
In Revelations (which takes place between the events of Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6,) you play as different characters from the series. Primarily, the game revolves around Jill Valentine and his partner Parker who find themselves in an abandoned ship called Queen Zenonia in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. As you’d expect, the ship is overrun by bio-organic weapons, so you need to make use of your arsenal of weapons to defeat them and see who’s behind a governmental conspiracy.
There are a couple of elements that make Revelations different to its predecessors. First, there’s the episodic structure. The game’s divided into several chapters and every time you start a new one, you watch a “previously on Resident Evil: Revelations” vignette that sums up all the events so far. Second, you alternate between storylines from different Resident Evil characters (Jill and Parker, Chris and Jessica and so on,) but you always control one of them. It’s worth mentioning that you’re accompanied by a partner most of the time which makes the game decidedly less scary. Finally, you get to use a device known as Genesis scanner that allows you to examine both enemies and your surroundings. Every time you scan an enemy, you increase an investigation percentage and when it reaches 100%, you get a bonus heal item. By analyzing the environments you are able to see hidden items, such as ammunition or healing items.
But for every new element that Revelations adds to the series, the game uses familiar ones. There’s backtracking, so you’ll retread familiar ground and walk paths you’ve visited before. Also, controls can be finicky at times, especially when you aim or when you’re trying to dodge incoming attacks. Most of the times I dodged attacks was by sheer luck, since you need to push the forward button at the precise button to do so.
Apart from the main campaign, there’s an online mode called Raid where you can cooperate with Xbox Live friends or play on your own. A couple of things to note about this mode: first, it’s isn’t particularly popular (despite trying several times to play with others, I couldn’t find an online partner once to team up with) and second, there’s no split-screen coop in this mode which would have been a nice addition to play locally with friends. So if you want to play Raid mode, you have to play alone. It’s worth mentioning that the content from this mode depends on the progress you’ve made on the campaign, so the more episodes you’ve played, the more characters, stages and weapons you’ll have access to. In Raid mode, you’re given an objective and as you advance, enemies get in your way and defeating them grants you access to extra ammunition. Once you complete the objective, your performance is graded and you get unlockable items.
In a way, Revelations is a breath of fresh air the series needed. The main Resident Evil franchise has an identity crisis and focusing on a spinoff while they try to figure that out seems like a great idea. There are light puzzles, emphasis on both horror and action and the new setting feels fresh an entertaining to explore.
Improved visuals, new weapons and characters for Raid Mode, a new difficulty mode for the single-player campaign and the possibility of playing the game on home consoles make the high-definition version of Resident Evil Revelations the one to get. Controls can be woefully uneven at times and the graphic treatment is spotty, but this is still a Resident Evil game worth playing.