Resident Evil: Revelations review

Resident Evil games work best when focused on frightful environments filled with infected creatures. It’s the very definition of the survival horror genre Capcom helped write. Spin-off entries, like a rail shooter or straight-up action game, go astray from that core principle, much to fans' dismay. Resident Evil: Revelations, Capcom's first installment for the series on the 3DS, stays true to the series' essence for the most part, albeit inconsistently. focalbox Revelations is set between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5. It comes off more as a standalone game than a bridge between the two. Players spend most of the game alternating between long-time series protagonists Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. They spend a majority of the game looking for one another--she aboard an abandoned cruise ship, he atop a snowy mountain--fighting off Bio Organic Weapons (or B.O.W.s as they've come to be known), and learning details about a terrorist organization's plans to release the zombifying T-Abyss virus, an evolved strain of the T-Virus. The episodic story unfolds through the use of 3D-enhanced cutscenes that make good use of the 3DS hardware. The abandoned cruise liner setting strikes the perfect atmosphere for Resident Evil. The large luxury ship is divided into several small rooms and hallways. Their cramped, darkened spaces offer uneasy chills throughout these stages. B.O.W.s often pop up around corners and occasionally appear out of nowhere. The game’s spine-chilling climate intensifies once underwater elements are introduced, as submerged enemies can jump up and attack at any given moment. Where the game's survival horror tone shines most brightly, however, is during the early boss fights. The first of these boss fights I faced came against the cruise ship’s captain, who had become fully infected by the T-Abyss virus. With a retinue of minor B.O.W.s harassing me as he slowly stalked me, I genuinely felt like there was nowhere to hide and that I had to keep moving in order to survive. I loved the alarming mood this fight created and was happy when I had a few more experiences like this later in the game. BOOM video 11038 There's bad with the good, though. Revelations always puts players alongside an AI partner. That partner turns out to be useless throughout the majority of the game. Going back to that first boss fight, as I ran around, my computer-controlled partner simply stood atop scaffolding and sporadically shot with his handgun, causing no damage to anything whatsoever. I wasn't expecting him to take out the boss single-handedly, but it would have been nice if he could prove useful. Why couldn't he help cover me by taking out some of the minor enemies while I focused on the boss? I expect a trained agent should be as much of a threat as I am, but AI partners barely make any impact. The enemies seem to feel the same way, as they always lunged for me and ignored my partner’s presence. I might better understand the inclusion of partners if the game supported co-op multiplayer, however there's no co-op for the main campaign. Local and online co-op is limited to a separate Raid Mode, in which two players team up to take down a set number of enemies. It's a case of coming so close, but still being so far off. The AI partner of the campaign becomes a distraction, more than anything else.

If only AI partners really helped

Revelations introduces a new feature to the game's core mechanics through an inventory piece called the Genesis scanner. The idea is to use it to scan living or fallen B.O.W.’s in order to earn healing herbs. It can also be used to find hidden ammo packets that are strewn throughout each area. Using the Genesis slows the game’s pace down to a crawl, losing much of its tone in the process. There's no way around it either; the Genesis becomes essential in many parts of the game. In classic survival horror style, Resident Evil Revelations makes ammo scarce and demands players use it wisely. Emptying a clip into a couple of B.O.Ws becomes costly, since ammo often needs to be preserved for getting past bosses. Finding hidden ammo packs is crucial to surviving and thus the player is forced to use the Genesis scanner in nearly every area of the game. I can’t stress enough how much this disrupts the flow of the game. Later parts of Revelations, as the game leaves the inhospitable confines of the abandoned liner, struggle to match its ominous feel. The game compounds this by going in a more action-heavy direction at the same time. These levels feel like a contradiction to the early, atmospheric tension, putting he emphasis more on gunplay and providing near-unlimited ammunition. The introduction of two characters new to Resident Evil, Quint and Keith, doesn't do the game any favors either. This pair quickly establishes themselves as two of the more annoying figures in the series. Aside from being generally irritating, Quint and Keith’s biggest crime is that they feel completely out-of-place in a game of this genre. This is a horror game, yet these two spend nearly all of their scenes mugging for the camera and delivering bad one-liners. When it sticks to horror, few survival horror games feel better than Resident Evil Revelations. Capcom has crafted a great 3DS debut for the series that should satisfy longtime fans. Even if it doesn't lead directly into Resident Evil 5 as I was led to believe, the story is still one worth experiencing.
[This Resident Evil: Revelations review is based on the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, provided by publisher Capcom.]