Review: ‘Resident Evil: Revelations’ (PS3)
The revelation is that it should’ve been ‘Resident Evil 6’on May 30, 2013 at 8:00 am
The port of “Resident Evil: Revelations” to consoles was a necessity for Capcom. “Resident Evil 6” was a almost universally panned by critics. It was mediocre in nearly every respect and if it weren’t for the characters and the name, you would’ve never guessed it belonged in the “Resident Evil” series. Despite that, “RE6” sold five million units and was still considered a financial failure by Capcom.
How much money are they spending on these damn things? I mean, seriously?
So, to ease tensions, Capcom decides to throw a 3DS game onto all of the available consoles, gussy it up for HD, give us a few bonuses, and hope that appeases the fans. Does it?
Well, if you never played “Resident Evil: Revelations” on the 3DS, then this is certainly a game you might want to pick up. It actually feels like a proper “RE” title. Proof that you can have a modest budget and still make a perfectly fine game, without forcing yourself to try and make the next “Call of Duty”.
First let’s talk about the story, which is… whatever. Frankly, if you’re actually still invested in whatever drivel is coming out of this series, you’re the type of person who already bought this game, so this review isn’t FOR you. For the rest of us: there is a floating city that gets blown up by a giant satellite, there are bioterrorists, there are cruise ships, double-crosses, keys to unlock doors, and genetically mutated monsters to shoot at. That’s what this game contains and I didn’t really give a shit about any of it. It’s there, a device that pushes you further into the game, giving you some sort of goal to accomplish.
No worse than most NES games, so let’s move on.
Jill Valentine is your main character throughout the game. You will get to play as a smattering of different characters, including Chris Redfield, but Jill is your protagonist. She is the only one who gets to choose what weapons she carries, gets to upgrade those weapons, and has continuity of inventory and item pick-ups from chapter to chapter. She is the one you have to worry about, making sure she has enough resources to continue on. Everyone else? Use all of their best stuff to your heart’s content, since it won’t transfer over to their next sequence.
While I appreciate Jill’s ability to upgrade weapons, it never really feels like it makes a difference. You never end up feeling any more powerful at the end of the game than you do at the beginning. That feeling of progression is important if you’re going to offer an upgrade system. Hell, it’s important if you’re going to offer the player different guns, but the guns come off feeling rather hollow, as well. It’s never clear whether or not a new gun is actually better than the one you already have. It SHOULD be, but this game doesn’t like to play by conventional game design motifs, so you’re constantly left second guessing yourself.
Luckily, weapon crates, where you can manage and upgrade your weapons, are scattered fairly liberally throughout the ship, so finding one to swap things out isn’t a big deal. Upgrades also aren’t permanent, so you can feel free to experiment.
What sucks is that you can only carry three weapons at a time. Standard stuff nowadays, sure, but it doesn’t make sense with how the rest of the inventory system works. While Jill can only carry three guns, she can also carry five Green Herbs, which are giant potted plants, and nine of each type of grenade, and every key item you come across. Apparently, she has a magic satchel but that satchel is anti-gun.
Look, I understand the need to limit stuff, but why allow a ludicrous amount of everything else and just limit the guns she can carry? It makes no sense. What happened to the briefcase introduced in “RE4”? I loved that system of inventory management. This? Well, at least you don’t have to think about it, but I would’ve liked to be able to hold one of each weapon type.
The reason for this is that for much of the game, ammo is pretty scarce. Not nearly as scarce as it was in the older “RE” titles (this is still primarily an action game) but scarce enough that if you suck, you’re going to run out of bullets pretty quickly. If I had access to one of each weapon type at a time, this would be less of an issue. I feel that I was above-average, my accuracy was above 80%, and ammo was occasionally an issue for me. I can tell how it would easily be a concern for worse players.
You might say, “Well, this is a survival-horror game, so that kind of tension should be expected.” Here’s the thing, this ISN’T a survival-horror game. It’s action-horror. Enemies are far too prevalent and aggressive to survive without actually killing them. They need to be dealt with, just like any other action game. In fact, there really isn’t much in the way of horror, either. Of course, this doesn’t really come as any real surprise, as the last game to have any genuine horror was “RE4” and some people don’t even think that was scary.
I can tell that “RE:R” WANTED to be scary, but its execution was flawed, its methods and timing outdated and copied from more successful horror games this generation, like “Dead Space”. Even the standard “Nemesis” type character that haunts you throughout the game barely ever produces any real tension. You shoot it a lot, it gets knocked out, it comes back later. It rarely chases you, it doesn’t stalk you, and it doesn’t come crashing through walls. The game has very specific instances where it pops up and you either waste ammo dealing with it or you run past it until the threat is over.
Nothing forces you to take it down and the only rewards you get for knocking it out are some gun mods. Nonessential, really. Just a way to get you to waste all of your precious ammo.
Plus, there is another huge problem with this game’s version of Nemesis. Actually, make that TWO huge problems. That’s right, I made a boob joke because they actually tried to sexualize this creature. It. Is. Ridiculous. When she grabs hold of you, you’re not sure whether or not it’s trying to kill you or make out with you. I can just imagine all of the various DevianArt pages bursting with pornographic drawings of this very situation. This character’s design SCREAMS that they were desperate to create extra sex appeal in this game. But…why? Ew.
Now, while you can hold all of the items you could ever want to hold, so you don’t have to find chests to switch chess pieces out, backtracking is still an annoyance you have to deal with. I appreciate the nod to older games in the franchise, but as the game progresses, you’re going to get more and more frustrated with the cruise ship that you’re stranded on. Once you’ve already explored an area on the ship, it’s never fun to go back through it later. There will never be anything new to find, except some more enemies to take down. At the very end of the game, you’ll find a keycard that gets you into a couple rooms and a couple of safes. That’s pretty much it. You’re going to be running around a lot, doing a whole bunch of nothing until you figure out where to go next.