Playing Resident Evil: Revelations is a lot like watching porn in high definition for the first time. The higher resolution makes for a better viewing experience, but before you know it, you’re focusing on all the ugly blemishes and botched surgical scars instead of, if you can excuse the pun, enjoying the ride.
Reason being, Revelations is based on the 3DS game that released a year and a half ago. While it looks clearer thanks to the bigger screens used for PC and console gaming, it makes the visual imperfections and dullness that Nintendo’s handheld managed to hide all the more apparent. Everything that aren’t the game’s protagonists seems to be draped in a muddy filter of sorts. The textures appear substantially low-res than what you’d expect from a PC or console game in 2013. Or even 2010 for that matter. In the looks department, it’s a tad disappointing because all that’s made clearer are blurry environments.
Needless to say, if you’ve managed to play the 3DS version of the game (unlikely considering that Nintendo likes to believe India doesn’t exist) you’ll be best served sticking to that. If not, well, prepare to lower your expectations on the eye candy front. Though Capcom is traditionally known for impeccable production values, this is not the case this time around.
Having said that, much like your favourite movies that involve full frontal nudity and much more, there’s a sort of guilty pleasure attached to playing Revelations. For starters, gone are the run and gun, dudebro control scheme and cover mechanics that made Resident Evil 6 the most divisive game in the series. There’s a rather deliberate pace in line with titles such as Resident Evil 4 and 5.
Like most games pre-Resident Evil 6, the controls aren’t as responsive or slick. Timing a dodge or lining up a shot requires a little more anticipation and thought in order to pull these moves off successfully. In any other game, this would seem like a bad thing but in this case, it makes for tense, enjoyable gameplay that keeps you on your toes. It’s a welcome change and fits the setting and locales perfectly.
Speaking of setting, most of Revelations takes place on a ship called Queen Zenobia. It starts off with series favourite Jill Valentine on the hunt for her old partner and franchise staple Chris Redfield. Throw in a plot involving a floating city, bioterrorism, hordes of walking dead and tons of corny dialogue and you have typical, yet enjoyable Resident Evil fare that has a lot in common with most B-grade movies. In terms of narrative, it’s nowhere close to say, Bioshock: Infinite but does more than enough to keep you engaged till the very end.
Clocking in around 10 hours, Revelations is on par with most current-gen offerings. The game is divided into small chapters with roughly 20 minutes or so of gameplay interspersed with cut-scenes. While this is all fine, the amount of backtracking is a tad annoying. Before you know it you’ll be going back to familiar confines with access to rooms and areas that were previously closed off taking away the charm of being on a cruise ship with a morbid, gruesome past. By
and large, you’ll scurry across narrow corridors, lining up shots and dodging monsters but every now and then, it puts you in the middle of some interesting boss fights that are tense, gruesome encounters laden with potential cheap deaths thanks to the close quarters the game puts you in.
Furthermore, the camera isn’t the most cooperative keeping you aware of your surroundings. The view is from a very tight angle that keeps enemies out of view. Unless you’re trudging through the game at a snail’s pace, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself ambushed or miss out on items. Thankfully, the game incorporates a feature known as Genesis which lets you scan the environment for ammo and items as well as pinpoint enemy weak-spots. Other inclusions involve Raid Mode which lets you and a friend massacre never-ending waves of enemies and a new Infernal mode exclusive to PC and console versions.
Infernal mode is so called because you start off with a full stock of weapons and ammo. Sure that might appear to make the game a walk in the park but you’ll soon realise that zombies need much more than a few bullets to hit the floor. They’re transformed into bullet sponges and there are a lot more of them to kill. Before you know it you’ll be panicking as you try to find enough ammo and health pick ups to survive. It’s a cool addition that further heightens the element of survival for adrenaline junkies looking for a bigger thrill.
Once you manage to overlook the graphics, you’ll realise that Resident Evil: Revelations is a return to form for a series that’s had its fair share of ups and downs. It ends up hitting most of the right notes thanks to its adherence to a traditional formula, proving some things are better left untouched.