I bought this game a week ago after a rather impressive demo was released that convinced me enough to purchase the full product. It was a risky move as I have never been a particularly large fan of the Resident Evil franchise, but after spending a week fighting hideous creatures, collecting herbs and looking fondly at Jill’s anatomy (not really), I can confirm that not only is this game fantastic, it pushes the Nintendo 3DS hardware to areas it has not gone to before, resulting in a sublime experience that is worthy of your money.
Let’s talk about one thing before anything else: the graphics are fantastic. There it is, plain and simple. For a handheld game, and a Nintendo handheld nonetheless, the game looks quite remarkable in most aspects. The 3D effects are brilliant and can be altered to ‘very strong’. which was too powerful for even me to cope with, or kept at their normal state, which is still strong in itself. Even without the 3D, the game is still the best looking title currently on the system. Revelations demonstrates just what the 3DS is capable of and just why the system is worthy of buying.
Now, moving on. Resident Evil Revelations is divided into two sections: the single-player campaign and ‘Raid Mode’, a series of scenarios taken from the campaign and made playable for co-op. The campaign is surprisingly lengthy, much more than I was expecting; On casual difficulty, the easiest available, it still took me 13 hours to get to the end. What makes this even better is that it is a handheld game and yet still manages to surpass many console games in terms of story length. It also manages to have a decent story as well, with likeable characters (even with occasionally dodgy voice acting) and a nicely written plot. In case you didn’t know, the plot is that you (Jill Valentine, who will no doubt be known to franchise fans), and a partner (Parker, new to the series), are stranded aboard a cruise ship called the Queen Zenobia, full of vile creatures and threats lurking around every corner. Elsewhere, another familiar face to the series, Chris Redfield, and yet another new face (Jessica), are tasked with rescuing the two stranded and unravelling the conspiracy behind all that is going on. The action doesn’t stay on the ship all the time, however, as there are sections that take place in snowy mountains and office spaces. It can be a little confusing, and annoying, when you are taken out of an action-heavy area and then dumped into a completely different environment, but they all contribute to the plot on the whole. Besides, it adds variety and I do not disapprove of that.
The single-player campaign has a ‘different’ feel to it than recent Resident Evil titles. It uses an episodic format, with each ‘episode’ having a ‘Previously on…’ video to make it feel like a TV series. I can understand why some people would dislike this, but in my opinion, it works very well and means that you can drop in and out at will, as you will be helpfully reminded of what happened the last time you played. Each episode varies in length, with some extremely long and others rather short. There are 12 episodes in total, and as I said previously, it took me 13 hours to complete it on the easiest difficulty so there is plenty of material here for you to experience.
Resident Evil: Revelations does not stray far from the tried and tested formula at all. I have heard that recent RE titles have been more focused on the action instead of the ‘horror survival’ of the earlier titles, but from what I have played, RE:R seems to have a fine balance between the two. Ammo can sometimes be extremely scarce, enemies can test your skill very easily and a couple of the boss battles are rather brutal. There are several action-heavy sequences throughout the game but the vast majority involves just you, your guns and having to get to the next objective. In that regard, it works fantastically.
Revelations is one of the first titles on the 3DS to make use of the new ‘Circle Pad Pro’ add-on for the system, which adds a second circle pad in order to make games play easier. In fact, you can buy the game with the attachment in certain bundles. I have not tried the game with the CPP, but I can tell you that the game controls perfectly fine without it. Granted, it can take a little while to get used to controlling your character with just one circle pad, but it doesn’t take long at all. I have no doubt that it would be easier to control your character and manoeuvre the camera with the CPP, but it is rather expensive on its own and is hideous to look at, so it’s wise to be informed that the game does not need it to play well.
The second biggest part of the game is the ‘Raid Mode’, a series of co-op levels adapted from environments from the single-player campaign. There are over twenty in total, with them all unlocking after you’ve completed the story or gradually as you move through it. You can play these on your own, with another person using a 3DS nearby or online. Each level basically consists of you and your partner getting from point A to point B, whilst killing everything that gets in your way and trying not to die in the process. For your troubles, you are awarded with better guns, upgrades for said guns, new character outfits and progress through a ranking system. I have played many sessions of raid mode and I can tell you that I love it. There is very little lag when you play online, plenty of people available to play with and the process of getting new weapons and making them accustomed to your preferences is highly addictive. The vast number of levels, and environments, available heightens the variety and makes this a compelling part of the package. What’s better is that there are various difficulties that become unlocked, for each level, making multiple playthroughs of the co-op maps worthwhile.
That’s not to say that it’s perfect, however, as there can be a little bit of lag occasionally, and not everybody you come across will be a competent player to game with, but for the most part, Raid mode is a fantastic addition that adds many, many, hours onto an already lengthy campaign and is something that wouldn’t look out of place on an actual console. The fact that all of this depth and customization exists on a handheld game is a part of what makes this co-op mode so excellent. You don’t even need to play it online, either, which means that anybody can experience it.
Resident Evil: Revelations is a wonderful, deep and enjoyable game to experience and this is coming from someone who has never thought highly of the franchise, previously. The amount of things that the game achieves would be applaudable on a console, but the fact that all of this takes place on a handheld device is what makes the game so remarkable. This is a brilliant game for the 3DS and it serves not only to demonstrate what the device is capable of, but what handheld games, on the whole, are capable of. If we see more games like this in the future, on the 3DS, then the system is going to become an absolute must-have. Nice work, Capcom!