Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Resident Evil: Revelations (Wii U, PS3, 360, PC) Review

We have one last review for the month of July, and it's for a game whose original version released on the Nintendo 3DS two years ago to little fanfare. Now, the game is getting a second chance to shine on HD platforms, including Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. It's Resident Evil: Revelations.

Forget That Other Game,
This is the True Resident Evil 6!

Resident Evil: Revelations was touted as a big exclusive for the Nintendo 3DS, and it was. It was an excellent addition to the Resident Evil series, creating a sublime mix of survival-horror, something that the Resident Evil series had been sorely missing as of late, and action. Unfortunately, sales of the game were anything but sublime. Now, two years and some change later, Capcom has HD-ified the game for high definition home consoles. The end result is a game with a second chance at getting an audience with its stellar campaign and intriguing and addicting Raid Mode.

Jill Valentine and her newly assigned partner Parker Luciani arrive on a luxury cruise liner known as the Queen Zenobia to search for their missing comrades, longtime series veteran Chris Redfield and Jessica Sherawat. On board the ship they discover the crew has been infected by something known as the T-Abyss virus, turning them all into blood-sucking creatures, and a terrorist group known as Veltro is taking credit for the attack. Resident Evil: Revelations is played out through twelve episodes, taking players not only into the shoes of Jill and Parker on the Queen Zenobia, but also as Chris, Jessica, and a couple of annoying, they-don't-quite-fit-here characters known as Quint and Keith. Revelations has multiple flashbacks to an incident that is set as the catalyst of everything that is currently going on, the Terragrigia Panic. Episodes have multiple parts to them, switching back and forth between character duos and settings. It's a fascinating tale, even with the sometimes hammy execution and dialogue.

While Jill's segments are full
of survival horror elements...
Resident Evil: Revelations beckoned the return of survival-horror to the series. Jill and Parker's parts of the game use limited ammunition and a greater emphasis on exploring and puzzle solving than the sections of the game where the pairs of Chris and Jessica and Quint and Keith have. The latter pairs have a larger focus on action, similar to what is seen in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. What it all adds up to is a mix of gameplay styles that both players who enjoyed the classic Resident Evil games and players who enjoyed the more modern Resident Evil games can enjoy.

...Chris's are all action all the time.
Sit, Ubu. Sit.
Limited ammo makes it so sometimes it's best to avoid confrontation rather than actively search for it. You can evade enemies by pushing the left analog stick forward just as a foe swipes or lunges at you. The timing is a bit tricky, but if it was easier, one could just dodge everything and the challenge of Revelations would be significantly lower. Of course, there are times where infected stand in your way or you encounter a boss battle and you have no way not to use some of that ammo you've been smartly hording.

I've heard of Wii Remotes through TVs,
but infected monsters?!
Enemies take a fair amount of bullets to go down, and each enemy type has certain weak spots that do the most damage when hit. It's fun to shoot the legs of an Ooze monster and see it fall to the ground, slowly crawling to your location. Other times you can shoot their arm and have them dazed for a little while, opening up a moment you can unleash a powerful punch on them, saving some ammo for you.

Sometimes all you need is some brute force.
Like the most recent Resident Evil games, you can move while aiming, a godsend for certain encounters. You can switch between a third-person over-the-shoulder camera angle for aiming and a first-person shooting viewpoint for maximum efficiency.

Jill and Parker have a unique tool in their arsenal, the Genesis device. Once again, Genesis does what Nintendon't... or something like that. Sorry for trying to be clever! Regardless, the Genesis can be used to point at objects and find hidden, out-of-sight items like ammo, health and upgrade kits that allow you to mix and match custom parts to increase the firepower, rate of fire and stopping power, for starters, of a given weapon. Some may not like having to stop and examine each room with the Genesis to find much needed ammo and helpful items, but it's a necessary evil-- play on words intended.

Outside of the Resident Evil: Revelations' campaign, which will last anywhere between 7-10 hours (Note that there are three main difficulties to play through, with Infernal, the toughest of the three, having totally different enemy placements than the Nintendo 3DS version of the game), is the ever addicting Raid Mode. This is a cooperative online multiplayer mode where up to two players go through the various maps of the game, shoot through waves of enemies and earn points to be used to purchase better guns, items and other equipment. Points are also used to level your own character up. The fun of Raid Mode is not only playing with another person (it's pretty hard by yourself unless you grind), but additionally earning rare and super rare weapons to take down foes like nobody's business. So even long after the campaign of Resident Evil: Revelations has been taken care of, one can enjoy Raid Mode for countless hours.

Regardless, there are two issues that prevent Resident Evil: Revelations from truly hitting amazing. The first comes from the non-optimization of the port to more powerful hardware. This is seen most egregiously in the load times between major sections of the Queen Zenobia. You'll be sitting in front of a door as its center spins about a hundred times (exaggeration) until it finally opens. This takes about a half minute at the very least to do, and it's not even like Metroid Prime where the loading is masked by the doors. No, these doors basically have a sign on them that says, "LOADING! PLEASE UNDERSTAND!" This was an issue in the Nintendo 3DS original, which was on weaker hardware, so it's confusing to see this problem on much more powerful hardware.

All those synchronized swimming classes
finally paid off for Ms. Valentine.
That is but one of the two issues. The second is rather unfortunate, and unlike the loading times, the Nintendo 3DS original never had this problem. It has to do with aiming. There is notable dead zone when using the analog stick to aim. In Layman's terms, this means that aiming is not as precise as it should be. It feels slippery and lacks the precision of typical third-person shooters. This makes aiming for weak spots on enemies more of a problem than it should be.

On the consoles, aiming can be a bit finicky.
The addition of HD has made Resident Evil: Revelations, which was already an impressive looking game, all the more visually stunning. Character models have been improved, settings are all the more brooding and special effects delight even more. Sometimes there is a little slowdown with the frame-rate, but overall Revelations runs at a steady clip. The sound design delivers an increasingly foreboding feeling within the game's survival horror segments, and creates excitement for the game's action sequences. The voice work is well done, save for some cringe-worthy lines. If the writing and execution of the voice work was a tad better, as a character in the game says, "That would be tits." Moving on, the music in Revelations works wonders on the emotions with atmospheric tracks for exploration and heart-pounding themes for boss battles and other moments of pure action.

Beauty (the sunset) and the beast (everything else).
Resident Evil: Revelations has pretty much successfully made the transition from a handheld to HD platforms, loading and aiming issues aside. Revelations consists of one of the better Resident Evil stories the series has ever seen, a nice level of pacing between survival horror elements and action, and an online mode that will suck away players' hours like an Ooze monster sucking the blood from its victim. In a perfect world (which it apparently isn't), Resident Evil: Revelations, the better game, would have outsold Resident Evil 6, the weaker game, and Capcom would have gotten the message that fans of the series demand quality. Instead, the opposite happened. Now, excuse me while I go into my little crying corner and whine for a few hours.

[SPC Says: 8.75/10]

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