Resident Evil Revelations
Action, Survival Horror
February 7th, 2012
Set in 2005, Resident Evil Revelations takes place between the events of the fourth and fifth games of the series, focusing mainly on Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, and the anti-bioterrorism organization BSAA. In 2004, a state-of-the-art, man-made city on the sea, Terragrigia suffers an attack from the bio-terrorist group known as Veltro. With no other option, the city and the infection are neutralized by a satellite. The by-products of the virus can still be seen a year later. Enter Jill Valentine and Parker Luciani. During a brief training exercise the two discover that comrades Chris Redfield and Jessica Sherawat have gone missing, last coordinates over the Mediterranean Sea. Jill and Parker set out immediately to discover the fate of their friends, and find themselves aboard the derelict Queen Zenobia. More mysteries befall the pair as they discover strange monsters and unveil more sinister plots by Veltro.
The graphics do look stunning. The 3D adds that extra layer of depth, but the game can certainly be enjoyed without it. I found that playing on the lowest setting before being completely off was the best for the graphics. Some players have reported mild burn in on their screen when the 3D is on higher settings, so best be cautious. The colors are muted and dark, attempting to recreate that classic horror theme from the earlier games of the series. The claustrophobic halls of the ship do at times look like yet another copy of the original Akrlay Mansion from the first game. Yes, visually it is nice, but it grows a bit tiresome seeing such similar level design from game to game. The more I see something looking like a mansion in a Resident Evil game, the more I lose faith in the creativity department at Capcom. The more injured your character becomes; the more the screen will be tinged with blood-red splatters, causing a bit more discoloration. The effect actually works fairly well considering the game lacks the old style health-in-menu screens.
The character designs in the Resident Evil series have been fairly iconic. Jill wears her usual blue, Chris in green, and that really doesnít change in this game. However, I canít help but shake my head at some of the designs. Jessica and Rachel are both unnecessarily overly sexualized. Iím not a prude by any stretch of means, but the characters were clearly created with a single purpose in mind, and functionality is not that purpose. Sex sells, certainly. But Capcom should learn that their characters donít have to look like bimbos to be sexy. Rachel, a mysterious woman used in trailers to hype the story, runs around with her voluptuous bosoms popping out of her tight wetsuit. If I was investigating a ship run by terrorists that was possibly infested with monsters, I wouldnít want to show skin, especially over my chest. Jessicaís one-legged wetsuit is also a bit out of place. Wetsuits are meant to protect the body while submerged in water, so baring one leg defeats the purpose. As far as the men go, character Raymond Vester looks like comedian Conan OíBrien with a more angular face and much more unbelievable red hair. As far as enemies go, the classic monsters, the Hunters, make a return. These BOWs look as beastly as ever, and even get a lovely new trick to turn invisible. The main enemies on the ship, the Ooze, resemble the creepy Regenerators and Iron Maidens from RE4. Other enemies include some very annoying fish with razor sharp teeth and scales. Out of the water they are a bit slower, but can still be a danger if they are in a group.
The voice acting and dialogue for the Resident Evil games has been notoriously cheesy and at times a bit lackluster. This improved somewhat in games such as 4 and 5 (though they certainly had their moments). Revelations is no exception. Jillís voice actress sounds completely bored at times, as if she is reading her script without any emotion. Jessicaís character sounds like an immature high school student, and her nagging and self-congratulatory statements are asinine and out of place. However, if that was the goal Capcom was going for, it was well achieved by the actress. I also believe the dialogue for all games must include pointing out the very obvious. At one point Chris and Jessica are attacked by infected dogs, exposed rib cages protruding from their bodies and the skin around the brain peeled aside. ďCareful! I think they are infected!Ē Really, Chris? I would have never guessed that about those rabid beasts. Jessica complains about the cold. Well, yes, thank you for pointing out that it is cold. Never in my life would have guessed that with all the ice, snow, and wind. Jessica also does a fair bit of complaining about everything else around her. I can overlook these statements, but those unfamiliar with the series may not be so forgiving. The rest of the charactersí voice actors do a splendid job bringing their characters to life. Despite the sometimes sub-par voice acting and dialogue, the music and audio in Revelations are stellar. The haunting melodies create great atmospheric tension, and when you are besieged by enemies, the music is pulse-pounding addicting to listen to. The ambient sound effects of the creaking ship and the choppy sea water create an excellent build of terror. And with all due respect, one of the first bosses has one of the creepiest voices for any monster featured in the series. "Maaay day. Maaay day."
Revelations is broken into chapters, each containing a couple of different segments usually causing the player to switch characters and locations. I did find the episodic segments to be a bit game breaking. It worked well in 4 and 5 because they were larger games with longer levels to play through. However, this is not the case for Revelations. The breaks are highly immersion breaking and listening to Jillís ďPreviously on Resident Evil RevelationsĒ voice really brings out that bored script reading tone. The recap almost dumbs down the game, reminding players what they just saw minutes ago. I felt this unnecessary redundancy could have easily been fixed if Capcom simply added a cut scene viewer to the main menu instead.
At times Jill and Chris are accompanied by a companion (Parker and Jessica respectively). The partner AI is less than useful, and enemies tend to focus mainly on the main character, which makes trying to use them as a meat shield fairly pointless. People may have complained about the AI in Resident Evil 5, but Revelations is pretty hard to beat. In fact, itís downright atrocious. At least in RE5 your partner could also double as a pack mule. You have no control over your partnerís weapons or inventory at all. On the bright side, on the off chance they do get attacked, they donít seem to take damage, so you donít have to worry about healing them, and since you cannot access their items, supplying them with ammo is also unnecessary. There are also very brief segments where two new BSAA characters are introduced, Quint and Keith. They bring some comedy relief to the game, but at the same time they feel very much out of place. Their banter contrasts greatly with their comrades, and they are a bit hard to take seriously. On the other hand, itís nice to have some characters that arenít mired in angst and have a super serious attitude.
The dodge feature makes a return. Many recall in Resident Evil 3 this feature was used, yet did not make a return in Code: Veronica or other titles (not counting the quick-timed oriented actions). Having the dodge feature return is a nice call back to one of the classics, and any chance to avoid damage is always welcome. At the same time though, the dodge feels hit or miss, and the animation can propel you right into another enemy lining itself up for an attack. Melee attacks also return, though rather than having a variety of moves, the player can charge up their attack by holding the action button. Another new feature is swimming. I found the controls to be a bit clumsy at first, but once you get the hang of the movements there is no big problem.
A new feature is the use of the Genesis scanner. This little tool allows you to scan the environment for items and other goodies such as secret collectables and files. Enemies can also be scanned in order to collect more data, and upon researching them 100%, you are rewarded with a health item upgrade, and the counter resets. I didnít mind using the scanner, though Iíll admit it made me paranoid. I searched every room and hall, often times putting myself in danger, just to see if I could find anything. A tiny orange dot blinks when something is nearby, yet the paranoia made me double check just in case something extra secret was hidden. Some have said that the lack of ammo ups the difficulty, but around chapters 3 and 4, I had more weapons to select from and more weapon upgrades. I never really felt that ammo was any scarcer than in titles like 4 and 5. Having enough herbs on hand can sometimes be a challenge. If the dodge feature fails you, which it sometimes does, you can get hit hard.
Puzzles return, slightly. The same ďpuzzleĒ recurs frequently whenever Jill comes across certain power fixtures. You unscrew the casing by tapping the screws with the touch pad, then you simply realign the pegs so no wires cross and all active power sockets are on. While they become a bit more crisscrossed later on, they are still fairly simple.
Being a prequel to the fifth installment of the series, the fear that something horrible may happen to the two main characters is taken away. We know Jill and Chris survive, and we know the BSAA is still a functioning organization. However, Revelations provides an interesting backstory that could allow for new plots to surface. That gameplay is enjoyable, the unlockables give you reason to go back and explore the areas more, and harder difficulties allow you to test your skills further. Raid mode also allows for a fun multiplayer experience. Rather different from the rush that Mercenaries was built upon due to time limit, Raid is a bit more leisurely. Enemies level up along with you, and some special types of infected come out to play as well. Giant enemies, shrunken enemies, puffer fish, and bosses all pop up through the various levels. Also unlike Mercs, Raid becomes available after the player completes the first three chapters rather than having to beat the entire game, with more levels and difficulties opening up with game progression.
The game lacks traditional horror, but is still a fun addition to the series. I think Capcom just needs to drop the horror pretense entirely. Iím sorry, but it is hard for me to feel any sort of true terror when I have various grenades, powered up machine guns, and a partner on hand. Saucing up the game with more puzzles would have also been nice. At times I felt the game was little more than fetch quests and back tracking. True, that is reminiscent of the classic games, but it can cause replays of the game to have boring stretches. Despite my grumblings the game is enjoyable. I think I complain so much because I do love the series, and believe Capcom can do great things when they put their minds to it. New characters and situations have been added to the lore of the series, flushing out the BSAA first introduced in Resident Evil 5, and there is certainly room for growth. Especially for 3Ds gamers, Revelations is a nice title to own, and due to the price drop, itís affordable as well.