Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The revelation of a cruise liner

Resident Evil Revelations

Resident Evil is back, once again, this time it's a HD version of the handheld horror from the Nintendo 3DS last year; Resident Evil Revelations. I decided to pick this one up after testing a demo on Xbox Live.

There's always been a hope inside of me for the Resident Evil franchise to return to the original formula of the PlayStation 1 trilogy (that RE style also includes Code Veronica and Zero). Before Resident Evil 4 changed the series to a far more action orientated affair without the scares, horror and atmosphere the series used to have. Revelations meets us halfway, and sort of takes the best from both worlds. It combines them into a fairly short, yet intense and in my opinion; successful Resident Evil game.

The aiming and gunplay feels great.
Eat lead bastard!
There are horrible fish in the game too, I hate creepy things in water!

Revelations takes place in the rather confusing RE storyline between RE4 and 5. The setting is on a cruise liner (reminds me of the mediocre lightgun game, Resident Evil Dead Aim on the PS1). On board the cruiser the crew have been infected by a bio-terror virus. The main character, and RE favourite Jill Valentine and her partner Parker must explore what happened on the ship. It's a neat setting which builds atmosphere at a nice pace and relies on a creepy and vintage look of the environments. Combined with the scares of a claustrophobic fight in indoor locations. You are up against fewer enemies than we are used to in the more recent RE games, but it's a nice break from the full-on action and hoards of zombies in RE 4, 5 and 6. It's even a break from the hectic and fast paced games in general these days. The game is totally free from Albert Wesker's cheesiness too, which is a overused and almost comedic bad guy.

Revelations lets you play the game while aiming and walking, just like RE6. It feels incredible to finally play a RE game which controls more modern than something from the stone age of 3D gaming. In no way does it hinder the intensity of battles, or give you an unfair advantage. You will be having a struggle and indeed a true "survival horror" experience, rather than Capcom's cheap "survival action" title from RE4 and onwards. To me, this is how every RE game since the ones with fixed camera angles should have been played. The movement hindering done by the "walk OR shoot" mechanics of the series has always been a game breaker in my opinion and it ruins the flow of gameplay. Thankfully Revelations controls and plays incredibly well.

The ship environment looks great, and really feels like a traditional Resident Evil.
Oh fuck, the water's gonna blow the door!

I love the environments in this game, the cruise liner is an atmospheric setting with it's vintage interiors, looking like something from the Titanic. The way the rooms look and are lit with various lighting, from dimmed to flickering, really set the mood for a horror experience. The colour palette is varied too. I like the fact that you are awarded for searching the rooms with a scanner you are equipped with. Doing so lets you find ammo, weapon upgrades and other secrets. It helps slow the pace down and actually makes the exploring of your surroundings worthwhile, without constantly rushing forward to the next goal. The enemy design lends itself a lot to the Silent Hill games, and look different from the standard zombie design in other RE games. I like the change, it adds originality  and the enemies' design suits the aquatic theme of the game very well.

There are some let-downs though, the game looks nice, but the conversion from a small handheld console doesn't make the game look stunning in any way. The snow environments look especially bad. You would think they would get a game like this running in 60 fps and with far less loading screens too. I also wonder why they didn't keep a 3D option in the game considering it was released on the 3DS, for those of us which have 3D tv's. The character models look really nice though!

The side missions, which tell the story of the others characters, also vary in quality. They kick in perhaps a little too often and distracts the build in atmosphere, breaking you away from the main story on the cruise liner. Some of the characters in these side missions are a somewhat annoying and really show some cheesy Japanese humour which I would have preferred to be without. The gun sounds are of a really bad quality, especially considering they are all licensed real-life guns. 

Your AI partner is never bothersome and doesn't need to be helped or healed.
Be afraid, be very afraid!
Some of the enemies are really fucked up...
I really enjoyed my playthrough of the game, and unlocking the brand new "Raid Mode" was a pleasant surprise. Here you can play through short missions, using the levels from the game, with the main task of killing all the enemies and finding the exit. Completing missions lets you earn XP, which again is used for levelling your character. Money you earn is used for buying new weapons and upgrades to these. These upgrades, which you can also find in the main game by exploring the environments with the scanner, help make the weapons more unique and powerful. I found this mode addictive and there is a ton of replay value thanks to it, there's even coop online for this mode!

This game has been a nice welcome back to a traditional Resident Evil style. I recommend this game for all the veterans RE fans who would like a more atmospheric and slower paced horror experience again, combined with modern shooting mechanics. It takes great ideas from both ends of the RE franchise and ends up being a great game. Hopefully a full budget RE7 could explore Revelations' way of doing things.



Friday, 14 June 2013

Now on twitter!

I've set up a Twitter account for my gaming thoughts and experiences. It gives a more "on the fly" update stream while I try out new games or simply have an opinion about them. 

Follow me and keep more updated @