GVN Review - Resident Evil: Revelations (PC)

Notice: This review does not discuss the multiplayer mode

This is my first Resident Evil game that I've played extensively in quite some time.  I played part 4 heavily but never beat it, Part 5 made me bitter and felt like the series was loosing it's charm, and part 6 I didn't bother to pick up.  I played the demo of Revelations when it became available on the 3DS and found it quite impressive but sadly I passed it up on release day because the reaction heavy gameplay didn't feel right on a handheld to me.

Some time later, Capcom decided to port it to consoles and PCs and I was honestly very excited.  Resident Evil Revelations received quite a graphical upgrade and had some gameplay mechanic tweaks since it was moved off the touchscreen handheld.  The scare and panic factor also makes their return, which has been missing since Code Veronica returning the franchise to it's survival horror roots.  So how well does the newest Resident Evil game compare after being released after the lukewarm reception of part 6?

The story of Resident Evil takes place in the year 2005, right between Resident Evil 4 and part 5 and revolves around the exploits of Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield and several other members of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance.  Jill and her new partner, Parker, are in search of Chris Redfield, believing him to be in trouble, and end up on a cruiser ship the SS Queen Zenobia.  However once on the boat Jill and Parker find themselves up to their necks in monsters, a claustrophobic environment, and a terrorist group plotting a sinister attack using a T-virus variant.

As the plot continues on, Revelations changes the focus on different characters throughout the game allowing us to control Chris Redfield, Parker, Jill and even minor characters like Quint Cetcham.  While this at times can take focus away from the real main characters themselves, it does offer some nifty narration and allowed me to connect better with characters that I would otherwise not give a crap about.  However most of these segments tend to be short, not allowing for that much time to connect but it did give me enough to learn more about what each character is like.

Resident Evil Revelations is split up into chapters just like in Resident Evil 4 and on.  New however, are these little recap blurbs at the beginning of each chapter.  They provide you with information similar to a TV show recap that's catching you up to speed.  This is actually quite good because it allows you to recollect what you've done if you have stepped away from the game for a period of time.

The story does hold itself pretty well as you solve the mystery behind the bio terrorist group amidst the occasional bouncing around between the cast.  Everything is laid out very well preventing anyone from getting too confused about what's going on weather you're controlling Chris, Jill or even Parker during one of his flashbacks.  The story however doesn't seem to carry much suspense and at times can become quite predicable.  Take for example one instance, as I am riding up an elevator that finally works, I just knew a monster of some kind would jump on it and attack me through the windows.

Now if there's one thing I can't fault with Revelations is its graphics.  The game looks great and still carries that Resident Evil vibe throughout the game.  The game received a huge HD boost when being ported from the 3DS.  Textures are sharper and more detailed, the enemies are incredibly freaky thanks in part to the incredibly twisted design team.  The numerous people you encounter or have dialog with throughout the game are also well designed and carry a very unique look for themselves.  One such character, Raymond, looks like Conan O'Brian with a Simply Red comb over is a serious customer with lots of style in his design.  The boss monsters are hands down the bread winners of the game in both design and style.  Their unique looks actually define terror down to the letter.  Some have multiple tentacles, others have giant hardened shells and stone hides, while some are former colleges brought back from the dead in hideous fashion.

One small complaint from me lies with the main characters, Jill and Chris.  For crying out loud can't Capcom manage to maintain a consistent look for either of these two characters?  Chris looks a bit chubbier in the face and a smaller physique compared to his Part 5 iteration.  Jill seems to have been given some hispanic characteristics in her face which also don't seem to be present in Part 5 as well.

Aside from that little nitpick, the world that Revelations takes place in is dreadfully beautiful.  The world is just morbidly unforgiving world where everything does look like it went to hell.  The furniture and compartments are thrown all over the place.  Blood is all over the floor and walls as either handprints, footprints or something being dragged away.  The hallways are dark and poorly lit, some of the air ducks are battered damaged and falling apart which would allow anything to come from them.  Even the other areas in the game like the Russian snow fields are a site to see.  The icy snow paths, caverns with stalactites and crumbling bridges, and a morbidly detailed plane wreckage.

It also helps that the atmosphere and environment creeps me out and forces me to look around every corner almost paranoid.  Walking thru either the small enclosed hallways of the ship, the wide open snow field, the grim beachfront, each area has a feeling and look to them that creates a sense of uneasiness and enforces the feeling of moving forward with caution.

The gameplay for Revelations hasn't changed too much when ported over from the 3DS version.  Some puzzles were modified or removed to work on either a gamepad or mouse and keyboard.  Gone is the need to manually remove screws to open switch boxes and some puzzles like circuit breakers were easily adapted to a gamepad's analog stick or mouse movement.  The other puzzles elements are very reminiscent of classic Resident Evil puzzle solving which usually relied on finding a keycard, or medallion, or rotating an object to either acquire something or continue on your mission.

Unfortunately, Resident Evil Revelations doesn't have that many puzzles and mostly relies on its old school survival horror roots and action to keep you involved.  While I did enjoy Resident Evil 4 and sometimes part 5, I never felt that shear terror or feeling of panic as I trudged thru the games.  In Revelations I have been hoarding and trying to save as much ammo as possible, choosing to flee from encounters if possible, and found myself on the run several times when I was running low on health.

Even though the gameplay transitioned smoothly, the controls however are another matter.  If you played on the 3DS you had the option of purchasing the Circle Pad Pro which gives you another analog stick making it easier to aim and move the camera.  If you didn't that, you had a control scheme that while it worked, felt incredibly awkward.  I tried using the 360 controller at first which while it definitely felt better than holding the 3DS just didn't give me the right amount of control or made aiming feel awkward.  Switching over to the mouse and keyboard combo faired better but not without having to get used to slightly looser aiming.

The game does play just like the last few Resident Evil games with the over the shoulder view as you explore every nook you possibly can.  The combat is same as well, albeit the dodging mechanic is modified.  You always aim to fire your weapon, you have a melee attack, usually a knife, in the event you are out of ammo, and a chargeable melee attack that can deal more damage to bigger foes that are knelt over and weakened.  The first problem I encountered lies mostly in the dodging mechanic, which works more like a quick time event without the prompt.  You have to recognize which kind of assault the enemy is about to come at you with and then tap a direction at the last moment to initiate the maneuver.  This however doesn't works that well especially when fighting in close quarter hallways with enemies to large to even run around.

The virus infected enemies you encounter also come in many varieties with their own annoying attributes.  Usually some enemies are harder to avoid because they are to large to get around and thus taking cheap damage regardless.  One of the enemy variants this applies to is the tall Ooze beast that has super long arms and spikes that are just as long.  He also has an incredibly long reach that can be just as difficult to avoid.  However for the most part these horrible enemy placements are far and few so you won't have to worry about taking to much damage.

Some other gameplay tweaks include a more simplified menu system, a 3D map, and weapon upgrade attachments.  Some minor tweaks like healing with a single button designated to using your herbs makes it easier than having to open your inventory and have to confirm to use.  I must say that the ability not being able to mix herbs is missed here.  However, I will take the simplified system any day in this danger prone game.

One of the best new gameplay features for Revelations is the Genesis analyzer.  Using the Genesis allows you to scan rooms for hidden objects that can't be seen until you scan them.  You can also scan the various monsters to build up a percentage which grants a health bonus once it hits 100 percent.  One of the mini side quests in the game involve also uncovering a bunch of handprints which there are a bunch of hidden throughout the game.  The idea behind the genesis is a godsend when I am desperately in need of ammo.

The single player campaign is a good length involving 12 chapters that range in length from 15 to 30 minutes to beat.  The chapters later in the game get longer and the world expands even further giving you more secrets and mysteries to uncover.  Revelations does pace itself quite well with the story and the few flashback stories are far enough apart that they don't really confuse you.  The scare tactic and panic that you felt from the older Resident Evil titles here do make there return in Revelations and definitely give this game a different vibe from the previous 3 entries.

The combat is actually rather balanced save for those moments where you can't avoid enemies due to the close quarters and the sometimes edgy dodge feature.  There's also good amount of hidden content throughout the game that will keep you running back and forth until you manage to uncover them all.  There's also a multiplayer Raid option that I haven't played yet but I'll get around to playing and reviewing that portion at another time.  Overall you have a very solid game that I can say is easily one of the best in the franchise.  If you have the chance, I definite recommend picking up Revelations for either the consoles or PC if you missed out on the 3DS version.

+Graphics received a nice HD upgrade.
+Controls work great after getting used to them.
+The environment is dark, dreary and dangerous
+The classic survival panic attacks
+Story has good pacing
-Dodging is very finicky
-Too many situations of cheap damage from monsters
-Not too many puzzles
Final Grade: B

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