I am an aspiring video game journalist and freelance writer. I spend my time playing, reviewing and blogging about games. You can read my blog over at; www.joystickculture.com
Published June 14th 2012
Do you like zombies? Do you like being scarred? Do you like shooting monsters with a double barrel shotgun? No, I'm not talking about real life, but if you answered a resounding 'yes' for each, you've played a Resident Evil game. In the mid-to-late 90's this series helped defined the Survival Horror genre, setting the bar for all others to be measured by. More recent games have seen an increase of high-octane, blockbuster action over actual survival and/or horror. However, with Capcom's latest Nintendo 3DS title, Resident Evil: Revelations the developer/publisher has set out to change all of that.
Resident Evil: Revelations is a return to form. The game excels at creating a high level of tension and suspense from the starting line. During one early section players will be isolated on the abandoned ship, the SS Queen Zenobia, which serves as the games primary setting. With no ammo or weapons, you're forced to wander through the darken corridors with nothing but a low, eerie tone to keep you company. Every new noise you hear makes you react. You'll stop and look all around you, only to make sure some monster isn't lunging towards you.
Revelations is set in 2005, taking place between the events of Resident 4 and 5. BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) agents Jill Valentine and Parker Luciani are sent to verify the location of fellow agents Chris Redfield and Jessica Sherawat. Their last known location being the aforementioned Queen Zenobia, which is adrift in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Once aboard they walk straight into a trap set by bioterrorist group, Veltro, thought to have been stopped a year prior. Now, they are positioning themselves to release a new virus, called the T- Abyss Virus, which will mutate all creatures living in Earth's oceans. Together the BSAA agents will move to stop Veltro, as well as unravel the mystery behind their return.
If all of that sounds a little convoluted to you, well, you're not the only one. Resident Evil games are infamous for having difficult to follow, and at times terrible plots. Luckily, the series has always delivered when gameplay is concerned. The tired and true 'stop and pop' gameplay is front and centre here, which works well on the 3DS. The systems circle pad makes controlling your on screen character easy. To aim your weapon you'll hold down the right shoulder button to raise your gun and Y to fire. You can use the X button to use your secondary weapon, which can be used with or without holding down the right shoulder button. Revelations also takes advantage of Nintendo's Circle Pad Pro peripheral, which adds a second circle pad on the right of the unit and two additional shoulder buttons. It can take some time to find your footing with the controls. During the first half hour or so you'll feel as if you're controlling a tank. Though, in time you will grow accustom to the control design.
The game is broken up into 12 Episodes, each of which is made up of 2 to four acts. Each act is an average of fifteen minutes in length, and the game saves at the end of each. This is perfect for those who play their handhelds exclusively on their daily commutes to school/work. At the end of each act you're graded on aim accuracy, number of deaths and completed time and given a score. Depending on the score, you'll be granted BP (battle points) which you can use in the games Raid Mode store to buy new weapons and ammo. Raid mode itself is unlocked once you clear the game and allows you to play through missions where you kill as many enemies as possible in the time limit and can be played solo, local or online multiplayer.
With an episodic approach to the game, it not only allows for 'here and there' gaming sessions, but allows Capcom to be a little creative in how gamers experience the narrative of the story. Each act will place you at different times/places during the games plot. The primary focus, and therefore the 'current time', is placed on Jill and her partner Parker. At certain points, players will be put into the role of Chris, and two entirely new characters, Quint Cetcham and Keith Lumley. Quint and Keith, unlike more Resident Evil characters are more down to earth and less 'serious', providing some cringe worthy, yet comedic, lines.
When focus shifts to these characters, so too, does the tone of the game. Whereas sections playing as Jill are more in line of 'classic Resident Evil' in terms of gameplay and tone, when playing as Chris, Quint and/or Keith you'll find yourself in more action-heavy situations. Ammo and health items will be everywhere as you shoot through swarms of enemies. This is a nice contrast since you never feel like you're doing the same thing for too long
Visually, Resident Evil: Revelations makes use of the muscle behind the 3DS as the game looks absolutely gorgeous, in both 3D and normal '2D'. It's nice to see no gimmicky applications when the 3D is concerned. There is no flying blood coming at you, or monsters leaping out of the screen. Rather, the visuals are given a more refined depth. One of the massive drawbacks in terms of visuals is in how dark the game is. Playing on a train, in public or at your desk at lunch time or anywhere with bright natural/artificial light will obscure what's on the screen. Though not a major issue, nor detracts from the game itself, but given the game is portable in nature can deter a few people.
In summary, Resident Evil: Revelations legitimises console gaming experience on Nintendo's 3DS. It excels in delivering a tense, compelling and exciting survival horror/action gaming experience, all in the palm of your hand. Despite some drawbacks in regards to the darkness of the game, it has been built to take advantage of the systems strengths, and that includes its portability. Players can jump online together and play the Raid Mode, and through Spotpass (which automatically connects 3DS owners as they move about in public and swaps data between them) can trade items to assist them in-game. There is plenty for everyone on offer here. Long time fans of the Resident Evil series will enjoy playing a more slowly paced game, especially having fan favourites Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. Whereas new comers, and casual 3DS owners will get a joy from a very intense, yet 'quick fix' hardcore gaming experience. Resident Evil: Revelations is certainly one of the best 3DS games on the market at the moment.
Resident Evil: Revelations is available at gaming retailers such as EB Games and JB Hi-Fi for a RRP of $59.95