If any of you have read any of my posts before you will know that the Resident Evil franchise is one my most beloved video game franchises of all time. Resident Evil Zero, Re-make and Resident Evil 4 (alongside some decent Wii efforts in the form of Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles) are well up there in my list of all-time great games. Re-make in particular has the perfect blend of horror, stunning visuals and an amazing array of scores and sound effects.
Bearing this in mind, I decided to give the previously ignored Resident Evil: Revelations on the 3DS a go. Why I hadn’t tried it out already I can’t quite explain; perhaps the notion of trying to play a Resi game on a handheld device had just seemed mildly unappealing. Suffice to say, my expectations going into the game were not that high.
Happily, Revelations turned out to be a somewhat pleasant surprise which not only exceeded my expectations but actually holds its own as a good game in its own right. Without giving too much away about the story, the game centres around Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield as they work on behalf of the BSAA combating bio-organic weapon threats across the globe in the aftermath of the collapse of Umbrella. Set one year on from a BOW terrorist attack by a terrorist organisation known only as Veltro, our heroes are tasked with investigating possible signs of a Veltro resurrection in the form of dead BOW’s washed up on a beach in the United States. The investigation leads Jill to an abandoned super tanker adrift in the Mediterranean Sea where all is not as it seems….
The setting of the game is one of the major plus points in its favour; the cramped, claustrophobic air of the abandoned vessel serves only to increase the sense of isolation and horror that you feel on exploring your way through the ship which is, of course, crawling with a new type of BOW. The storyline is also rather good in this game; don’t get me wrong, it’s no Lord of the Rings but there is enough of a decent narrative to hold your interest all the way through the game, including some nice misdirects and surprise revelations (hence the name I guess.)
Unsurprisingly, like other Resident Evil games before it, Revelations looks great, even on the oldest, smallest 3DS. I was actually quite impressed with the level of graphical quality and detail that the developers had managed to squeeze out of the 3DS’s hardware. Throw into the mix a fantastic musical score and creepy sound effects (particularly the new BOWs, they sound terrifying) and you get a very polished, competent feeling game which is highly successful in creating an atmosphere of fear and horror.
There are, of course, some drawbacks to this game, however. First of all, it’s too short. I count myself as being a pretty competent Resident Evil veteran, but even so the game only took me 11 hours to complete, which is too short no matter how good at the game you might be. This may also, in part, be down to the difficulty level, which is not set very high. The game also seems to have not quite found the right balance between combat and puzzle-solving/survival elements, swinging too far towards the combat side of things. Perhaps this is not a fair criticism of Revelations in particular though, but more of the series in general. I favour a move back towards gameplay more similar to that seen in Re-make, but I recognise that I might be in a minority in this regard.
Apart from those two factors however, only the sometimes painfully annoying supporting cast and occasionally cheeses dialogue mar what is otherwise a great game, particularly when you consider that this was one of the first games to come out on the 3DS. I would recommend picking this up from somewhere and giving it a go; it only costs around £10 from Amazon and is therefore incredibly good value for a decent game.
If you are familiar with the Resident Evil franchise, I would love to hear your comments on where you think the series should go next; back towards a re-make style game, or nearer to the gameplay found in 4? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.