When fellow COG staffer Frank Naresh (aka. Alucardblack) wrote his Resident Evil: Revelations review for the 3DS well over a year ago, he walked away incredibly impressed and went so far as to say that it was “by far the best reason to own a 3DS” at the time. Citing the addictive gameplay and praising it for returning back to its horror roots, he declared it to be one of the best Resident Evil games since the first iconic RE game touched down on the PSone oh so many years ago. Quite a bold statement, but from where I sit he was bang-on as Revelations is quite possibly my favourite 3DS game even to this day.
It is not too often we see a 3DS game ported over to consoles, so when Resident Evil: Revelations for the Xbox 360 arrived on my lap I have to admit I was skeptical despite such high praise for the 3DS version of the game. I just could not imagine the development team being able to pull it off, delivering a high definition port of a pretty good handheld game. Remarkably however they did just that. Revelations for the Xbox 360 is not a bad game at all and for a port of a handheld game it is an impressive achievement. Yet compared to other games in its genre, and other Resident Evil games already available on the Xbox 360, Resident Evil: Revelations comes across as a game which will most likely be quickly forgotten.
Taking place between the events in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, Revelations’ story revolves around familiar RE characters Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. Following the tragic events of Racoon City, Jill and Chris have joined a newly established counter-terrorism organization. Their mission is to ultimately stop the bioterrorist organization “Veltro” who was behind the bio-terror attack on the “floating city” of Terragrigia. Shortly into the game Chris disappears while on a mission, so Jill and her new partner, Parker, are sent to investigate the last place he was seen which is aboard a cruise ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Without giving away too much more, this forms the basic premise in Resident Evil: Revelations.
The 10-hour or so campaign is told in a similar fashion to the game Alan Wake where it is broken down into a series of episodes just like a TV show. If you walk away and fire up the game again, you even get a “previously on” segment which brings you up to speed in terms of what is going on. Overall, the story is decent featuring a few twists and turns along the way. I found the characters interesting and enjoyed the ongoing sexual tension between some of the male and female characters. Sure it is about as cheesy as an 80’s Soap Opera at times but I still found it enjoyable nonetheless. Regardless, the game does enough to keep you interested in the characters and what is going on in between all those instances where you are fending off nasty looking abominations.
One of the good things Revelations has going for it is the way the game returns to the survival horror gameplay of earlier series installments. There is limited ammo, a tremendous amount of emphasis on exploration, limited health, enemies that can take more than a few bullets to take down, and a degree of puzzle solving. And yes that creepy and unsettling atmosphere also returns. Sure the gameplay mechanics can be a bit clumsy at times, and Revelations is far from a refined experience, yet sometimes less is better and in the end I liked the fact the development team attempted to keep things as simple as possible.
In keeping with the simplicity, the controls are easy to pick up. Aiming, firing, switching weapons and launching grenades are accomplished with ease. The controls can feel a tad clunky at times and I was surprised how forgiving firing your weapons can be, but not in a good way. There were several instances where I would clearly miss the enemy but somehow the enemy still took damage. It made the experience a little more forgiving but hardly something I would expect to see this far into the Xbox 360’s lifecycle. Some of the in-close combat felt awkward as well as the camera at times can take a life of its own. It really can make those instances where you really have nowhere to go quite harrowing, as you just can’t see. I also found that executing dodge moves takes some practice, and let’s just say your characters are not exactly ‘fleet of foot’ either.
The enemy AI do offer up a nice challenge especially when you find yourself bombarded by enemies. Throw in a big boss into the mix and you can really find yourself in a pickle. It is very old school in its approach and for the most part it works. That said, I did find myself getting bored with the style of gameplay at times and I hardly found much satisfaction unloading round after round of ammo into some of those tedious enemies. On a more positive note, there is a weapon upgrade system and a good variety of weaponry. Not to mention there are many occasions where you will have to get creative in order to dispose of the enemy.
Visually, Revelations is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand the character designs are spot-on. The characters are nicely detailed and look fantastic in high definition. On the other hand some of the games environments lack detail and there are occasions where the low-resolution textures look awfully dated. The sounds in the game are about what I expected and in the end left no real lasting impressions. Of course you already know from earlier on that the dialogue can be cheesy, and the voices can be too, but it suits the Resident Evil theme to a tee.
Overall, Resident Evil: Revelations for the Xbox 360 serves up some satisfying moments and stands as a quality game when you take into consideration it is a port of a 3DS game. Yet in the end, I cannot help but think there are much better survival horror experiences on the Xbox 360 and ones that are certainly much more polished than this one. This is not to say Resident Evil: Revelations is bad game, it is just not an exceptional one and has a little too much of that “been there and done that” feeling to it.