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Resident Evil Revelations review

Katharine Byrne
12 Jul 2013
Resident Evil Revelations box art
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
20
inc VAT

A streamlined horror that makes a refreshing change of pace from the rapidly decaying series

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Specifications

Resurrection has always been a core theme of the Resident Evil franchise. Without it, the rotting flesh of its undead dwellers would never have walked from beyond the grave. Equally, the trials of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine would never have reached so many people if the series hadn't received a multitude of ports and re-releases over the years.

This time, it’s the turn of Resident Evil Revelations, which first appeared on Nintendo's 3DS. It felt as close to a home console Resident Evil as was physically possible on a handheld, and now it’s been given a multi-platform HD makeover for the systems it passed over last year.

Resident Evil Revelations campaign screen

Picking up the plot between Resident Evil 4 and 5, Revelations sees Jill on a mission to find her missing partner Chris, who was last heard from on the cruise ship Queen Zenobia. Now stranded on board in the middle of the Mediterranean, Jill and fellow BSAA agent Parker Luciani soon discover they are not alone.

At its heart, Revelations is a throwback to the glory days of the franchise, favouring suspense-driven horror over the more recent action-orientated focus of Resident Evil 5 and 6. There are several moments where the Queen Zenobia calls upon the spectre of the Spencer Mansion to heighten the tension. It’s a hauntingly eerie setting and Revelations' superb sound design really goes for the jugular every time you turn a corner, although less welcome series staples also make a return. Expect to do a lot of backtracking, especially if you want to find the hidden weapon caches.

Resident Evil Revelations campaign screen01

Ammunition is scarce, but you can increase your chances of survival by picking through your surroundings with the Genesis scanner, which reveals hidden items and stashed ammo clips. Scanning enemies rewards you with extra healing herbs, with those daring to scan zombies up close gaining a greater percentage than those who play it safe and only scan dead corpses. Enemies tend to soak up bullets like a sponge, though, so it’s often best to keep your distance - particularly as the dodge can be a little unreliable at times.

Revelations has managed to shed many of the cumbersome complaints we’ve levelled against previous Resident Evil entries, but there’s no escaping the shadow of its handheld origins. The small porthole of the 3DS was enough to make just one or two enemies feel like a potential threat, but that sense of claustrophobic panic quickly dissipates when the same scenes are played out on a big screen. The close-quarters gunplay isn't any less dramatic when you’re stuck in a corner with very little ammo to spare, but when safety often lies just beyond the next door, it leaves the Queen Zenobia feeling rather empty. This is somewhat rectified by the new ‘Infernal’ difficulty mode, which pits you against a far greater number of enemies and shakes up the location of certain items.

Resident Evil Revelations campaign screen02

Revelations’ twelve travel-friendly chapters also feel a little short on consoles or the PC. The 30-60 minute episodes are a refreshing change to the rather bloated chapters of Resident Evil 6, but the ebb and flow of the action can feel a little stunted. This is made all the more obvious when each episode is bookmarked by a TV-style “Previously on…” recap. It worked in Alan Wake, but here there’s rarely anything substantial to consolidate, especially when the script has a tendency to patronise and state the obvious.

Of course, Resident Evil has never been renowned for its subtlety or narrative nuance, with another bioterrorist organisation out to infect the world with a new strain of T-Virus, but such a refined, no-nonsense story structure does have its advantages. It may lack the same scope and scale of its predecessors, but there’s a leaner, slicker game underneath and few will be immune to the pull of Revelations’ obsessive number of cliff hangers.

Raid mode distils the game even further. This adopts a more arcade style approach to the story and sees you play through each level gunning down waves of enemies either alone or with friends. There’s a wide variety of guns and characters to choose from and purchase with in-game battle points, and each one comes with their own unique traits and abilities.

Resident Evil Revelations raid mode screen

Revelations is certainly one of the better Resident Evil titles in recent years. It’s certainly worth a look while you wait for Resident Evil 7, but this half-resurrected mutant still carries the tell-tale signs of being developed for handhelds.

Details

Price£20
Detailswww.capcom.com
Rating***