Looking back to when Capcom announced that they would be remastering some games from their impressive portfolio this generation, I never would have imagined that this would be the extent. We’ve had Resident Evil, Resident Evil 0, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 6, Dragon’s Dogma is on the way, and no doubt more titles sit on the horizon. We also have Resident Evil 2 on the way, but that’s a fully fledged remake, so that doesn’t sit in this spectrum. Clearly, Capcom are generating a great deal of cash for these remasters, or else we wouldn’t see them coming in at this frequency.
Now while I would love nothing more than to see Capcom unleash Outbreak I and II as a remaster with online support, we’re sat here now with the latest Resident Evil remaster, in the form of Revelations. This game originally started out as a Nintendo 3DS title, but thanks to the length of play, the impressive visuals (at the time), and the good reception, Capcom then released the game on last gen hardware, so it was only a matter of time before it once again made another appearance. The question is, is it worth your time and attention?
Resident Evil Revelations takes place before the events of Resident Evil 5, but following the events of Resident Evil 4. It may not have a number tied to it, but Revelations is every bit tied to the canon as any numbered title from the series. Jill Valentine and her trusty partner Parker are sent to investigate the disappearance of Chris Redfield and his partner Jessica. This takes Jill and Parker to a seemingly abandoned cruise ship known as Queen Zenobia, a ship that’s every bit as eerie as it is grand, and it’s almost instantly apparent that something more sinister is lurking on the ship.
You board to the constant sound of murmurs, the ship sways aggressively as you make your way below deck, and then you see it, some disgusting deformed remains that’s swiftly followed by your first encounter with one of the many mutated inhabitants of the Queen Zenobia. This is not going to be a straight forward search and rescue, not by a long shot. Despite this being remastered twice on top of its original release, I wont spoil the story for those of you that are yet to try this out. Obviously we know that Jill and Chris make it through the ordeal, due to them both being present in Resident Evil 5, but what I will say is that Resident Evil Revelations still manages to house an interesting story.
Revelations offers a ten hour campaign that’s split into several episodes, much like the chapters that we’re all familiar with from previous installations. Each episode typically allows you to play as alternating characters in alternating locations, which provides a good structure for the plot to rest on. It’s also better optimised on current gen hardware, seeing as frame-rate issues are completely gone, a complaint I recall from Revelations on last gen hardware. The leap however has not rid the game of the terrible voice acting. This doesn’t apply to the entire cast, but you’ll be full to brim of cringe by the time the experience is over, thanks to some poorly selected ‘talent’ to voice the characters. It doesn’t exactly derail the fun you’ll be having, but you’re bound to notice it and be momentarily distracted by it nevertheless.
What really works with Resident Evil Revelations is the setting. The Queen Zenobia is perfect for the series and dishes up a location that rivals that of the Spencer Mansion. We’ve got tight corridors, a few open environments, heaps of small rooms that will toy with your claustrophobia, and an atmosphere that will swallow you whole. This is further bolstered by the enemy, which swaps out zombies for ooze-filled foes that are much quicker on their toes and arguably a hell of a lot scarier. They don’t tend to hit the floor quickly either, meaning you’ll be spraying a large portion of your ammo on any given encounter. That’s another thing that Revelations brings to the table, it sits more inline with the classic Resident Evil formula, being that you’ll need to carefully conserve your ammo and solve several puzzles to make any sort of progress. This can be achieved by using your handy scanning device, which is even more useful on the higher difficulty tiers.
I do wish that the devs had injected some more enemy variations into the game, because despite my favour of the ooze over the zombies, they do tend to become repetitive before long. Thankfully we get to encounter some iconic creatures too, such as the ever so terrifying Hunters. Those of you that remember these from way back in the first Resident Evil will know just how deadly they are, and their inclusion in Revelations is no different. The solid controls grouped with the ability to move and shoot at the same time gives you more freedom to manoeuvre (and outmanoeuvre) the encounters with the enemies and the fantastic boss battles, which is something that was lacking on the 3DS counterpart, due to the lack of a second analog. On console however, Capcom take advantage of the controller layout, resulting in fluid well-paced gameplay.
It’s hard to fully judge the visuals, because this is after all a remaster rather than a remake. Seeing as this is a remaster of a 3DS game, textures still look out of place and character animations are wonky at times. Still, the souped up graphics are well struck and certainly hold their own despite being far from impressive in comparison to current gen standards. One of my biggest complaints for Resident Evil on the whole is the daft AI partners that hinder the experience. Mercy from the gods, your AI partner in Revelations is surprisingly responsive and does well to support you throughout, a far cry from each and every AI partner in Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6.
When you’re done with the campaign mode, you can opt in for the Raid mode. Here, you’ll be able to take on several stages either alone or with another player, beating back hordes of enemies and earning new gear along the way. There’s various characters that you can select from and an impressive bundle of loadouts that you can take to. It’s certainly an addictive mode that will pull you back for that proverbial one last try. Rounding this all off is the addition of characters and gear DLC that come as added incentive, so there’s certainly no lack of content.
As far as Resident Evil titles go, Resident Evil Revelations is up there among the best. Despite this being a remaster, the age of the game is starting to show due to poor textures and wonky character animations. It certainly doesn’t help that we have to endure poor voice acting on top of that, but when all is said and done, Revelations still stands out as a worthwhile investment. The addition of added DLC as well as the core experience offers more than enough content to justify the price tag, with added replay value to boot via the Raid mode. Resident Evil Revelations sits more inline with the classic titles from the series, which is never a bad thing at all. This means that you’ll be puzzle solving and ammo conserving throughout the excellent environments within, whilst taking on some freakishly terrifying enemies amidst a well crafted story that will grip you right up until the conclusion. Revelations may not be perfect, but it’s a game you should definitely consider picking up regardless.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.