Resident Evil: Revelations 3DS Review
Resident Evil: Revelations is first main entry in the Resident Evil series to appear on a handheld. There have been other attempts such as last year's Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D or the Game Boy Color's much hated Resident Evil Gaiden, but no other portable Resident Evil has had as much thought and care put into its story and gameplay like Revelations has to where it almost matches the quality of the main numbered console titles. Revelations also marks a return to the gameplay style that the series had before Resident Evil 4 where exploration and item management were important, but maintains the slick controls of the latest entries series. As good as Revelations is though, it fails to advance the plot of the overall Resident Evil series, and is more of a side story, which may leave some fans disappointed.
The story of Resident Evil: Revelations is generally interesting, but it's slow paced, and hits many of the clichés found throughout the series, but this time in a different setting, a cruise ship. Resident Evil: Revelations narrative jumps around between different characters, settings and even the past, so to make things less confusing I'll just summarize the events chronologically. The game takes place shortly after the formation of the BSAA, where in its early days acted more as a mercenary force used to cleanup bio-terrorism outbreaks. Their competitor the FBC is more successful, and is made up of and funded by several governments making it similar to UN peacekeeping task force. The futuristic city Terrogrigia is built in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and is oddly entirely powered by solar energy. I like to think of the city as a cross between Dubai and Atlantis. For some reason, the decadence and environmental friendliness of the city angers the terrorist group Velerio, and they unleash a horde of hunters upon the city. The FBC is called in, but soon writes off the city as a lost cause and he approves the use of the city's own orbiting solar powered satellite to incinerate all of the city inhabitants and destroy it. Acting FBC officials at the time included Parker Luciani, Jessica Sherawat, Clive O'Brian, Raymond Vester, and the FBC Commissioner Morgan Lansdale.
Unhappy with the outcome of the incident Parker, Jessica, and O'Brien quit the FBC and later join the BSAA. Years later the terrorist organization Velero pops up again and Chris Redfield and Jessica are sent to investigate. No one reports back, so Jill Valentine and Parker are sent to investigate and stumble upon the suspicious abandoned cruise liner the Queen Zenobia. Is it me or does the name of the ship sound way too much like Queen Zombie? The ship is of course riddled with puzzles and new biohazard threats in the form of monsters created from the new T-Abyss Virus. Shortly after boarding the ship Jill and Parker lose contact with the BSAA headquarters, and once they reappear Chris and Jessica are ironically sent to look for their own rescue team. Later in the game a third team is introduced with two lighthearted comical BSAA members, Keith and Quint who further investigate the suspected Velero base in the frozen tundra of Russia. A Parker is certainly the best of the new characters introduced in the game. He has a comical rapport with Jill, and often tells self-deprecating jokes, and Lamont's the current situations hardship. Jessica is overly sexualized in both her appearance and dialogue to the point of being a bit ridiculous like her wetsuit, or her frequent passes at Chris. Scenes with Keith and Quint are usually pretty grating, since the conversations are stupid, their voices are shrill, and they seem far too inept and unprofessional to be BSAA agents. Quint is especially annoying and preposterous since his codename is proudly stated to be Jackass, and he is also an expert computer hacker.
The narrative of Resident Evil: Revelations is a bit jarring since it's constantly switching between the three teams, BSAA headquarters, FBC headquarters, and even flashback stages in the Terrogrigia outbreak where you play as Parker and Jessica. All of the flashbacks, scene changes, meanwhiles, and time line jumps make the story feel jumbled and it's frustrating to have the action broken up so many segments like it's a 24 watanabe. The game story would be much more compelling and had they told it chronologically. Unlike some of the more recent games in the series Revelations is actually scary, not super scary, but it does have a chilling ominous atmosphere. Some of the files you can read are interesting and especially the buildup leading to the first boss is pretty scary. I was disappointed that the story of Revelations didn't really tie in to any of the other games in the series and really only added characters and elements that may someday pop up again, perhaps in Resident Evil 6, but with a name like Revelations I expected much more shocking moments and a better connection to the series overall. Although I suppose the choice to not make too many references to past games, might make the game more accessible to new players, who aren't familiar with the ongoing plot.
The gameplay of Resident Evil: Revelations is spread out over 12 levels, each of which will have you switching between different teams and their objectives. After finishing the game I was surprised that the main focus of the story was on the team of Jill and Parker, since before the game's release I was under the under the impression that levels would alternate between Jill and Chris. Instead about 70% of the time you play as Jill and Parker, and the rest of the game you'll play two stages as one of the other teams including Chris and Jessica, Keith and Quint, and flashbacks where you play as Parker and Jessica during the siege of Terrogrigia. I should also note that you'll always play as the dominant character of the team; Jill, Chris, Keith, and Parker and it's not possible in the main campaign to play as your partner.
When playing as Jill and Parker you'll be given a goal, explore the ship, restore the power, contact headquarters, that usually involves going from point A to point B. Along the way you'll probably face five to ten T-Abyss monsters that you can choose to avoid but are easily killed. The ship is pretty large, but at the start of the game your path is fairly linear since most areas are blocked off by doors that you don't yet have the keys to. At around level five you'll have explored the majority of the ship and from then on you'll be doing a lot of backtracking, which of course is always annoying. Sometimes the game will be kinda vague about where you're supposed to go. For example Parker will say "Go to the Promade deck.", and although I may have already been there in the story, I'm not a sailor, I don't know what he's talking about, and I wish he'd just say the front or back or the ship like a normal person. There's a tiny map on the bottom screen and even a fancy 3D map you can rotate, but I still get lost a lot on the ship, because even though it shows you your final destination is on the map, it doesn't say what doors to use to get there.
What I really hate are the underwater sections of the game introduced at around level 5. During these sections you'll have to navigate through dark mazes and avoid unkillable enemies while periodically surfacing for air to survive. The underwater controls are terrible. Jill swims very slowly, and has a lot of trouble turning or swimming straight up or down. Although your air supply is rather generous in the game, it's still pretty easy to drown since if you take any damage at all it will significantly shorten your air supply and make you suffocate faster. Enemies in the underwater areas; killer fish and giant slugs are also pretty cheap. The fish love to attack in pairs, and once you're hit Jill is usually too slow to move out of the way, and they'll chain attack you repeatedly until you're dead. The giant slugs however are much worse. They can one hit kill you by swallowing you whole, which by the way has huge range. Underwater enemies wouldn't be so bad if they could actually kill them. You can't use any of your weapons underwater, even the knife. But you can stun enemies for a few seconds with grenades, which are in short supply considering how much backtracking you have to do and how easy it is to get lost underwater. I really don't know why you can't attack the enemy's underwater. Wouldn't a spear or harpoon gun be great?
Unlike most Resident Evil games ammo is fairly plentiful throughout the game. In fact most of the time you'll be at full ammo for everything but your primary weapon. If you don't miss too many shots, occasionally knife or melee enemies, and use firepower upgrades and you should never run out of ammo. Although your supply might dip pretty low now then. In the first half of game you'll want to rely mainly on the handgun for basic enemies and the shotgun for larger foes. In the second half of the game handgun ammo will be in short supply, so I recommend using the machine gun for basic enemies and the sniper rifle for more dangerous foes and bosses. Revelations introduces a new way to scavenge for items by scanning the environment to reveal small packets of bullets or herbs hidden in corners or tables of various rooms throughout the ship. You can also scan enemies to earn more herbs as well. There's also a side quest to scan 30 handprints hidden throughout the game. The weapon crate last seen in the Outbreak games and Resident Evil 0 returns in Revelations. Normally characters can only carry three weapons at a time, but if you pick up a fourth, your current weapon will return to the crate where it can be retrieved later. Early in the game it doesn't seem like there's that many weapon crates, but later on when the ship opens up you usually won't be much farther than two or three rooms away from a crate at any time. Although swapping out your weapons is important in conserving ammo most of the time you'll be visiting the weapons crate to change your guns upgrades and perks. Throughout the game you'll periodically find weapon parts that can be used to upgrade various weapon traits such as; fire power, stopping power, rate of fire, bust fire, spread, or even add the ability to charge shots were more damage. Thankfully these upgrades aren't permanent and can be switched between guns whenever you like as long as you're at the weapon crate. But I do find the weapon crate menu difficult to navigate, and often all accidentally select the wrong gun or upgrade.
The new T-Abyss monsters in the game are a little repetitive design wise, since they are all tall, skinny albinos that have disproportionately long arms with knives on them. They spawn from puddles of white muck and return to their ooze form when killed. They all seem to move pretty slowly as well, the main danger is the amount of them you face at once and not their combat ability. In fact that would probably be my main criticism with the game, that it never gets really intense or requires a lot of skill in shooting or dodging like in Resident Evil 4 or 5. This primarily due to extended enemies stun times which were added to give players enough time to do the new charged melee attacks to finish them off. Even packs of hunters who have finally returned to the series are easy to take out thanks to the generous stun times. Some enemies, especially wolves will run up to you, then turn in place for a while staring at you, before finally attacking. It's pretty weird, and it makes me think that there might be some A.I. problems. Some T-Abyss monsters will launch there arm at you like a projectile, and bosses will charge, so there is some dodging involved. Speaking of dodging there is a new system for it where any time something attacks you if you press up or down on the control stick at the exact right time you'll automatically avoid getting hit. I find the timing of the dodging to be tricky though, so most the time I stick to just unloading a clip into their head before they're anywhere near me. Toward the end of the game I started to wish that there was a greater variety of enemy types, like some regular zombies, lickers, or even different colored T-Abyss monsters. At least in Raid Mode enemies have different sizes and increased abilities.
I wouldn't say that the bosses in the game are especially memorable, but they are fun to fight and you do have a few different ways to approach them. People worried about conserving ammo for boss fights don't have to fret , since there is always tons of ammo and herbs in the areas where you fight a boss. Most of the T-Abyss bosses are giant blob monsters with saws or hammers for arms. Clearly facing them up close is suicide, but they aren't that hard to kill with picking pot shots from a distance. It can take a while to kill some of the bosses, especially before you get some of the more powerful weapon upgrades, as long as you keep to long range attacks you be fine. There's also a reoccurring boss like Nemesis from Resident Evil 3 that keeps popping up throughout the campaign, but the new boss isn't nearly as hard to kill or intimidating as Nemesis was. I was surprised to see more on rails gatling guns stages like the El Gigante fight on the hummer in Resident Evil 5, since it was so poorly received. It isn't nearly as hard in Revelations since you can carry so many herbs with you, but still I always hate it when guns overheat in games, and you have to wait for them to cool down before you can continue shooting. As much as I complain about this somewhat easy combat in the game, I must point out the final boss was definitely a challenge, since it took me about eight tries to beat it.
Levels starring the side character teams are much more straightforward, and involve far less exploration and backtracking. Initially as Chris and Jessica you'll explore the Russian tundra, outside of the suspected Velero base, and later you'll explore the ship looking for Jill and Parker. After Chris and Jessica are called away from the scene new characters Quint and Keith are sent to further investigate the suspected Velero base. The start out in the tundra like Chris and Jessica and eventually move into the base, which is basically a big warehouse. They do see a lot more action then any of the other teams, but I still hate playing as them since they will not shut up. The last team is Parker and Jessica in a flashback to the final hours before Terrogrigia was destroyed and how they escaped. The area is pretty much a offices building and plays out like a hunter shooting gallery, as there are literally hundreds in the place. I was disappointed that you didn't fight many bosses as the side characters, maybe because of the scare ammo on all but the flashback levels. What threw me is that I thought I wouldn't have to play as these characters again so I used mostly my machine gun and shotgun, and then latter on when I had to suddenly play as them again I was Initially screwed and had to handgun and knife everything until I found some big ammo reserves further on in the levels.
Raid Mode is essentially Revelations flirtation with a co-op campaign. Raid Mode features shortened digest versions of some of the more action orientated levels in the game, only with lot more enemies which are much stronger. Raid Mode is unlocked in sections after progressing far enough in the campaign. It can be played either by yourself or with a partner online or locally. Most time in Raid Mode your goal will be to either get to the exit or kill everything. However occasionally your progress will be stopped by a chained shut door and you will be forced to clear the room of all enemies to earn the key to proceed. There are three difficulties chasm, trench and abyss, they translate to normal, hard and very hard. You must beat all twenty stages on chasm to unlock trench, and then beat all of trench to unlock abyss. On chasm and trench you'll mostly just face a lot more enemies then in the original versions of the levels in the campaign. Like on Chris's first level in the campaign you face about 25 wolves, but on trench there are about 50. On abyss however enemies and bosses can appear anywhere even when it doesn't make sense. All enemies in Raid mode have life bars above their heads, and any damage you inflict upon them will pop up as a point value next to their head.
Enemies in Raid mode can also differ from ones found in campaign by having greater attack, defense or speed. High defense enemies are a lot taller and high speed enemies are for some reason very short. Baby hunters, as I like to call them are especially cute. Most levels also have a weird yellow puffer fish creature called despot, who when killed has a high chance of dropping a rare or valuable weapon.
In a interesting RPG element when you first start Raid Mode your character will be level 1, and your only weapon will be a handgun. You can earn experience by killing enemies and completing missions. You can acquire new weapons and upgrades by finding them in stages or buying them in the store with experience points or Play Coins. Leveling up lets you equip more powerful weapons, and gives you greater base health and attack power, and also grants you access to buy better equipment and upgrades from the store.
You'll have to replay stages many times in order level up or acquire better weapons. Beating stages with a S rank will earn you a base amount of experience, on chasm it's 5,000 to 20,000 on trench it's 20,000 to 50,000 and on abyss it's 50,000 to 100,000. You'll also get bonus points for not getting hit, killing all enemies, and never missing a shot. As long as you don't take a really long time beating a stage you should always get a S rank, skill seems to have little to do with it.
To gain extra experience you can complete missions on the stages, which are like bounties to kill a certain amount of enemies on any of the stages. For example kill 20 hunters or five saw armed bosses. There are also infection missions that can only be acquired by playing with other people who have them online or locally.
Visiting the store often when between stages is very important. Every time you enter the store two new weapons are offered that are scaled to your current level. One weapon will cost about 100,000 exp to buy and the other will always be 10 3DS Play Coins. Most of the time the weapons are rip-offs, but sometimes there're worth it, like for a magnum that does 30,000 damage or a shotgun that does 2,000. Each weapon depending on its level and rarity has different damage, fire rate, capacity and different amount of upgrade slots for custom parts. So you'll want to look for guns with really high firepower and at least three slots for upgrades, but the max is six slots. You can also buy upgrades to the maximum amount of ammo for each weapon and even the total of herbs. you can carry at once. You can also buy body armor to decrease damage from attacks, and bigger storage cases to increase the number of guns you can have in your inventory between stages.
At first you can only play as three characters, Jill, Parker and Chris, but eventually by leveling up, beating missions and clearing difficulties you'll un lock six other characters Quint, Keith and Jessica and several alternate costumes for use in any of the stages in Raid Mode. Each character has an unique melee attack, and specialize in different weapons, improving speed or rate of fire when using them. Fortunately experience is shared between all characters so you won't have to level them up individually. If you think that the game's too easy you can even lower your level to make things more difficult, and the rise it back to the max level 50 when you come to your senses.
I should also mention that there's also a 21st stage called ghost ship which takes you thru a tour of nearly the entire Queen Zenobia ship. It's unusual because there's only one difficulty that scales to your current level, it has three exits, and it gives you the best chance to acquire the rarest weapons.
One weird thing is unlike most games where when you unlock something it show up right away, in Revelations you must exit the game and go to the missions screen, then select the completed mission that is marked with a !, then finally the reward you earned is unlocked like a new character or difficulty.
The graphics of the game are very impressive. Character models are stunning, and almost meet the quality standard set by Resident Evil 5. The only noticeable difference being the lower quality textures and the lack of shin gloss, which I'm not a fan of anyway. Most enemies and the environments in the levels appear to be about the graphical quality of Resident Evil 4 on the Game Cube. It still looks good, but with the T-Abyss monsters especially you get the feeling that it could be better. The frame rate will stutter occasionally when using elevators or opening double doors, but I think that it's mainly a loading issue. However the framerate also stutters or occasionally freezes for a second when a enemy spawns or when four or five are moving at once. 3D in the game is used subtle, mostly just adding depth to the graphics, and there are few pop out effects, but I haven't played the whole game with 3D turned on however.
Music in the game is solid and ominous, which fits the creepy atmosphere of the game. It's not super memorable though, despite being well done. Voice acting is a bit spotty, but the main cause of this is the ridiculous unnatural sounding dialogue. Jill often seems too nonchalant and dead pan during urgent dire situations and Quint's voice is incredibly high pitched and grating, like a bad early 90's anime dub. On the other hand the voice actors for O'Brian, Chris and especially Parker elevate the material and give it much more emotional impact. I also must mention that for some reason the characters lips don't move during the gameplay dialogue, but do in the FMV cut scenes.
With the default controls. The left stick move your character, how far you press it determines if they walk or run, there is no run button. Pressing the A button while moving backward will make the character perform a quick turn. The R button readies your weapon for aiming, then use the Y button to shoot. The B button will let you use a herb if you have one. The Y button is context sensitive, it can be used to open to open doors, flip switches, pick up items or ammo and do melee attacks when close to a stunned enemy. Down on the D pad reloads your weapon.
With the Circle Pad Pro The left stick move your character, how far you press it determines if they walk or run, there is no run button. Pressing the A button while moving backward will make the character perform a quick turn. The ZL shoulder button is used ready your weapon for aiming, and the ZR button is used to fire. The right stick normally controls the camera and aims your weapon when it's readied. move backward and shoot. gdgfgr The ZR button is context sensitive, it can be used to open to open doors, flip switches, pick up items or ammo and do melee attacks when close to a stunned enemy. The Y button is used to reload your weapon and break free of an enemies' grasp by rapidly tabbing it. The B button will let you use a herb if you have one.
Some people swear by the gyroscope controls , claiming they are the best for aiming. These people, I believe are crazy. Still if you for some reason don't like the default controls, and don't have a circle pad pro, then you might consider trying them out.
In this bonus feature I'll be reviewing the Circle Pad Pro and how well it works with the game.