The latest in Capcom’s long running horror/action franchise, Resident Evil Revelations is a mix bag of the series’ history and newer additions. Set on the cruise ship ‘Queen Zenobia’ leading lady Jill Valentine and her new bubbly partner Parker Luciani venture onto the virus ridden decks in order to discover the secrets behind a bio-terrorist organisation. This setting is really rather ironic, as the only other Nintendo handheld game in the franchise (not counting the port of the first game on the DS) Resident Evil Gaiden, was also set on a cruise ship when it released way back in 2001 for the Game Boy Colour. The game was a flop critically and commercially, with its laughably bad controls and poor setting. History is not repeating itself this time however, with horror and action blending well together into one of the highest quality 3DS titles released so far.
Gameplay consists of moving, shooting and manoeuvring through the haunted decks of the Zenobia. This keeps up the tradition of highly polished and tight control system of previous games, with shooting being handled by holding the trigger buttons. New for this game however is the ability to move when shooting, while some may argue that this sucks some of the horror out of the gameplay, it makes for a much easier and less frustrating experience. Speaking of previous games, gone are the open ended, daylight-ridden stages of Resident Evil 5 and instead we are presented with dark, claustrophobic corridors with the return of puzzle solving and a much higher emphasis on exploration. These really are improvements for the better, and really feel like the horror of the first games mixed with the fluidity and action of 4 and 5.
However not all the action takes place on Zenobia. Chris Redfield stars alongside new character Jessica in more open environments, focusing more on action with plenty of shooting, unlike the Zenobia sections, where you make every bullet count due to scarce ammo. These sections really compliment the Zenobia sections, with their contrasting environments making the closed corridors seem even more frightening. Besides, blasting infected monsters in the face with every gun you have now and then is downright fun.
The graphics in Revelations are fantastic, and really showcase what the 3DS is capable of. Realistic character models and brilliant lighting effects really bring everything to life and ramp the tension up even more. Occasional frame rate drops do happen however, and in particular when you open doors to new areas, the game slows right down which breaks the atmosphere at times unfortunately. This really is a minor point however, and the presentation otherwise is absolutely fantastic. The story mode is broken down into episodes, which are streamed together nicely with little ‘Previously on….’ preludes before each episodes which add to the drama whilst kindly refreshing your memory of important parts.
In terms of the story, new characters are mixed. Parker is a likeable guy with his cheeky banter with Jill making for some nice moments. Jessica, Chris’s new partner is a bit bland and even utters quite possibly the worst line of dialogue in the franchise’s history, topping Barry Burton’s infamous ‘Master of picking locks’ gem from the first game. I won’t spoil this cracker, but prepare to cringe when you play it people. Speaking of dumb things, new faces Quint and Keith are just downright awful. From cringe worthy dialogue to laughable voice actors, these two really showcase the games B movie roots, which some people will like, but no doubt that a lot will find them insufferable and want them to suffer an untimely fate at the next monster battle.
Minor quibbles with story and presentation aside, (voice syncing during cutscenes etc) Capcom have really delivered with this game and given a lot of people a reason to finally own a 3DS. Ports and remakes have plagued the system for a few months now and it’s nice to finally see some top quality original titles hitting the system. Fantastic.