Review Context: I am a huge fan of the classic Resident Evil games, cheese and all. I have had problems with the franchise, but they were never more apparent than with the more modern ones, such as Resident Evil 6. I’m always hoping for the franchise to come back into the lime light yet again for survival horror games.
Date of Playthrough: June 1- 10th, 2016
The Resident Evil franchise as a whole has been on the decline recently as Capcom attempts to harken back to the good old days with remasters of the original games. Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City were departures from the original survival horror formula the franchise was well known for, and while Resident Evil 5 was the start of action-packed gameplay, it wasn’t as badly received. With the series on the decline and arguably going to get worse, Capcom decided to start a spin off series of Resident Evil titles called Resident Evil: Revelations. Revelations attempts to bring back the classic formula of the Resident Evil franchise without entirely removing the focus on shootouts and large action segments. Is this attempt at reclaiming the franchise worth a shot, or will it go down as just another failure for the once great Resident Evil?
Revelations takes place before the fifth Resident Evil game on a ship called the Queen Zenobia, as Jill Valentine and her new partner Parker Luciani try to defeat the resurgence of the terrorist group known as Veltro. Of course there is a new virus implemented that has was used to create the virus in Resident Evil 5, and of course there is a big conspiracy revolving around a terrorist attack regarding a city. There is no new territory really treaded here besides the crustacean and sea life theme to the monsters. The story, while intriguing, dances all over the place far too often and doesn’t take any risks making it at times far too predictable. Each chapter is composed of segments, yet most of these segments barely take up time at all. This faster pacing, with most of the focus dedicated to cutscenes, which at times makes this more of a movie than a game. Not saying that is wrong, but when a few chapters don’t even have you fire a bullet then you can think something is up. That is not due to how skillful you can dodge, but rather a lack of things to actually do. Resident Evil has never been great at making you care for one off characters, but this time there is enough deviation from stoic hero stereotype to warrant it as one of the better ones. You play as numerous characters, from Jill and Parker, all the way to the jokesters Quint and Grinder. Each pair has their relationship fleshed out very early in the story and develops as it progresses through both the flashbacks and present. That being said, everyone but Jessica, Parker, Quint, and Grinder lack any inflection in their dialogue and without the classic horrid jokes like a Jill sandwich this stinted acting is not welcomed.
Survival horror in the series has been declining, and Revelations is almost a return to form, but rather comes off as a husk of its former self. The only times I felt tense in the game were in the water, since the enemies are far more annoying and you lack the ability to track them consistently with how slow you move. I did however get scared once, and it made me realize what this game could have been. You are going to check back up on a corpse and you hear in the background a voice, only to come to the realization that it has mutated and is now hunting you from the ventilation shaft. Where was this type of set up in the rest of the game? Most of the other bosses are just action pieces of running away and unloading all your ammo into them. Particularly the final boss being exactly that, while at the same time being the most annoying and overpowered enemy that you will most likely die a few times to. This game gives out cheap shots for a touch of shock horror every once in a while without building up to it in an ambiguous fashion. You know enemies are going to pop out of the sacks on the ceiling. It’s not a surprise, and I have enough ammo to deal with it when it comes. That is this game in a nutshell. You can deal with everything that comes your way easily. Yes, you will lose life frequently by cheap enemy placement, but you won’t feel in danger often unless it’s a boss.
Action is the name of the game, and Revelations wants you to know it from its sound cues of over dramatic music to the very poor voice acting that alerts you. The ship boasts very narrow corridors, which force you to focus in on the action, much like Resident Evil 0 and the train. The problem is that when enemies pop out you know exactly what path they are going to take, and if they didn’t move weirdly you would be able to handle them far too easily. The only time where you can get a relatively difficult challenge and fear dying would most likely be a playthrough on only the hardest difficulty. Revelations does have some of the more interesting enemies and bosses for these action pieces comparatively to the recent years, even if some never pan out. They do incorporate the rail shooter type of style found in past titles like Resident Evil 5, and they feel as plain and generic as ever, despite it being spaced out to only two parts. I just don’t understand the need for it, besides fighting larger enemies, but Resident Evil has never needed larger than life enemies to make them seem intimidating, much like the STARS obsessed Nemesis.
Raid Mode is a blander more streamlined version of the mercenaries mode from Resident Evil 5. It has you go through missions that take place in levels of the campaign that have you kill enemies until you reach the goal. This is a smart way for people to get their action fix for the Resident Evil games, yet the campaign itself hasn’t shaken off the action vibe yet, so why was this necessary? Why not just add a co-op mode to the campaign and shove in a mercenaries mode instead? You need to unlock the characters by completing certain tasks, which could be for finishing a certain amount of missions or obtaining certain bonuses. The bonuses range from killing every enemy, to never getting hit, and the latter is not as easy as you think. The enemy placement at times is just horrible, putting the enemy out of view and around a corner for a cheap pot-shot every once in a while, making this bonus and the subsequent ‘collect every bonus at once bonus’ nearly impossible at times, unless you grind for powerful weaponry and memorized the layout of a stage.
This game doesn’t feel too advanced in the territory of graphics in comparison to the past games, yet it would still hold its ground today with little problems regarding things technically. It was like Resident Evil 6; looks nice, but nothing that would amaze. The creature designs in a Resident Evil game are paramount, as it has given birth to some of the best nightmare fuel in horror games. This crustacean theme was a bit overused, as you had quite a bit of the same looking designed monster with the same death animation to the point that when you were swarmed it would have been nice to see some deviation. Then if you look at some of the bosses though, there is the ingenuity that you come to expect, despite nothing truly standing out in its movements or the way it hunts you down. Overall, the creatures were alright, but nothing truly memorable for the series besides the first enemy you face, the common Ooze. The OST manages to really have me mixed, as I noticed the triumphant and almost comically cheesy fanfares or build-ups in the most overblown action segments of the game. Then of course they keep it quiet and silent with its ambiance protruding both a sense of dread and relatively allowing for some of the lines to be heard so clearly, much like the comms officer repeating the same message over and over as you try to reach the room he is in. It gave you that sense of dread and allowed it to ring to you to your core in moments.
The story was classic Resident Evil, hitting all those old beats with revitalized purpose, easily making it one of the most enjoyable narratives for the series in a long time since Resident Evil 4. It does have layers to it, but it is not as streamlined as past games, like Resident Evil 5, as it actually has a mystery to see be discovered much like the original. Couple that with a non-streamlined map inside the boat and side missions to freshen up the scenario every few parts, and you have an enjoyable, yet distinctively lacking experience playing off of nostalgia. Many of the elements I have mentioned, I also mentioned were implemented better in other Resident Evil games. Revelations may be retreading old territory, but it is still nice to see Capcom put in effort for their stories and try to bring back the tense atmosphere from the survival horror side of the franchise. I still love the attempts at creating atmosphere, the newer characters bringing in the camp like Quint and Grinder, the over the top story about bioterrorism, and a few interesting monster designs, even if some are quite similar to others. Inside of all the shallow attempts to bring a resurgence of the classic Resident Evil, there beats the heart of a solid survival horror game within Revelations. My enjoyment was only caused by the retreading of old beats from the original games, in hopes of fusing the modern action style with its classic survival horror. Despite that, this game will help you at the very least remember how the franchise was before it devolved. While it’s fun and reminds me of the way Resident Evil used to be, Revelations falls flat of standing out on the PS3, often cowering behind better games in its own franchise.
Similar Games Liked:
Resident Evil (GCN)
Resident Evil 4 (GCN)
Similar Games Disliked:
Resident Evil 6 (PS3)
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (Xbox 360)