REVIEW - Resident Evil: Revelations (Nintendo 3DS)
There’s something downright unnerving about Resident Evil: Revelations.
It’s not the constant slap of wet mutant flesh lumbering around in the darkness; it’s not the slow, terrifying sound of your own footsteps as you timidly lower your gun to scan for items, and it’s definitely not the eerie sensation of being watched as you creep from one blood-stained massacre to another.
It’s not even the fact that you can now move and shoot at the same time! Instead, perhaps the most astonishing thing about Revelations is the fact it’s on the 3DS in the first place.
By far the most visually impressive title on the system to date, Revelations shows off the 3DS’s capabilities like no other game on the market, and you’ll definitely want to crank up the 3D as far as you can (if only to put some much-needed distance between you and the hoards of hulking great monsters hungry for a chunk of your head).
Complete with StreetPass functionality and an excellent online co-op mode, Revelations is here to show other 3DS games how to deliver an exceptional handheld performance.
Set between Resident 4 and 5, the game opens with Jill Valentine trying to find her missing partner, Chris Redfield. His last known co-ordinates place him on the Queen Zenobia, a stranded cruise ship in the middle of the Mediterranean.
But there are stranger things lurking inside the ship’s depths, and Jill and fellow BSAA agent Parker Luciani soon find that they’re not alone.
The story itself isn’t particularly ground-breaking – shady bio-terrorist organisation threatens to unleash a new virus (again!) – but the game’s almost excessive use of cliff-hangers ensures that you’re wrapped up in every single mystery it has to offer. This is made all the more apparent in the game’s rather unusual structure, as each chapter is broken up into almost TV-sized episodes.
Complete with their own “Previously on...” re-cap, they tackle the challenges of maintaining the atmosphere in a handheld survival horror game well, but when some episodes can take at least forty minutes to complete it’s hardly as travel-friendly as a quick dip into Super Mario 3D Land.
At its heart though, Revelations is a throwback to the glory days of the franchise, favouring its trademark suspense-driven horror over the more recent action-orientated focus of Resident Evil 4 and 5.
It may borrow their over-the-shoulder viewpoint, but with limited ammo and sparing green herbs to touch up old wounds, Revelations is a master class in pacing as it creeps from tense, claustrophobic exploration to grand, open set-pieces and nail-biting showdowns.
But atmosphere would be nothing without the controls to match, and Revelations hits all the right buttons on this front too, even without the newly released Circle Pad Pro peripheral.
The lack of an additional circle pad may ultimately sacrifice a little grace and fluidity of movement, but playing without it certainly won’t hinder your overall gameplay experience.
For all its visual flair though, the game does suffer from significant loading times both in-game when travelling in a lift and during its more traditional loading screens.
Thankfully they usually occur in the more relaxing moments of the game, but when you’re high-strung and trying to reload your gun with a choppy frame rate before the doors re-open to a new wave of monsters, you can’t help but feel both a little frustrated and a little let down.
Likewise, Revelations is arguably not the best game to play in public. With the amount of yelps and undignified squeals I’ve inflicted on dozens of bewildered bystanders, it may be better suited to playing out of ear-shot.
But all potential embarrassment aside, Revelations is easily one of the best games the 3DS has to offer, and certainly one of the better Resident Evil titles in recent years.