Capcom’s recent handheld title, Resident Evil: Revelations, was originally a 3DS exclusive. Now being shifted onto consoles, Robbie Palmer questions if the series can return to its former glory or remain in its nightmare era.
Remember when being a fan of Resident Evil wasn’t a trait you instinctively tried to shun? Recent additions to the franchise, Resident Evil 6 and Operation Racoon City, were largely considered a telling low point for the series. Both signified that the majority of fans weren’t willing to accept the direction Capcom had for the beloved franchise.
Alongside those two uninspiring entries, Capcom also released the 3DS-exclusive Resident Evil: Revelations, which is now being ported to consoles. This HD re-release is surprisingly seamless for the most part, and aside from the game’s inherent shortcomings that remain as a hangover from the original version, it seems to scale impressively on larger screens.
Revelations was one of the few 3DS games to support the definitively ridiculous Circle Pad Pro peripheral, allowing players a more ‘console-like’ experience. It delivered an absurd storyline with a focus on more traditional puzzles and some decent action sequences. In one particular section, you actually fight zombie mutant fishes, because, at this stage, what animals have not been envisioned as zombies? The differentiating pace of Revelations feels like a more traditional Resident Evil game, and it’s testament to the fact Capcom may still have some memory of what made people love the franchise in the first place.
The section were were shown of Revelations was chapter four, set on the ship Queen Zenobia. Playing as series favourite Jill Valentine, you explore the abandoned vessel, searching for Christ Redfield, accompanied by the incompetently hopeless Parker Luciani. Revelations suffers a similar fate to Resident Evil 5, in that your lumbering AI partners remove any tension from sections that they’re floundering about in.
Unfortunately, many of the problems seen in 3DS Revelations are also present in this version. The combat feels largely unsatisfying, with weapons seemingly as powerful as the one super soaker in your neighbourhood owned by the twelve-year-old rich kid with the moustache.
The same loading rooms plague the game’s pacing, whilst drastically dropping the framerate. This was a major issue for the 3DS version, and it’s quite disappointing to see Capcom hasn’t addressed it even on stronger hardware.
Some traits of Resident Evil are ironically charming. Questionable voice acting seems to be a crux of the series at this stage, its inconsistency a borderline trademark of the series. Resident Evil: Revelations also has the same episodic presentation to save files, featuring a “previously on..” cutscene after loading a save. A seemingly soap-opera recap, it soon becomes a convenient, valued accomplice throughout the 3DS singleplayer. The graphical upgrade of cutscenes in this version will likely make watching these summaries more entertaining.
Capcom has proudly noted how this version of Resident Evil: Revelations has had every art asset reworked to transfer the game into a HD experience. The game is a technical feat in this regard, as it’s a completely new experience visually to its 3DS counterpart.
Capcom has also boasted that this version of Resident Evil: Revelations will have significant new features: new enemies, difficulty modes, characters and, more importantly, new dapper costumes. The best addition to Revelations is the randomised placement of items and enemies, which meant approaching each area dubiously. However, I’m not sure how much weight this feature will hold in the long run, as it’s a component that players will only appreciate with multiple playthroughs or if they’ve memorised enemy locations from the 3DS version, and from what I played, the game doesn’t seem interesting enough to warrant much replayability.
Resident Evil: Revelations for PC and consoles doesn’t feel like a inferior version of the 3DS title, but it seems bizarre in its general appeal. I don’t believe the new additions listed above are enough to bring those that played the 3DS version back to the console version, however interesting randomising enemy locations can potentially be. I question who Capcom thinks Revelations will appeal to, as no amount of zombie fish can forgive some of the recent decisions made upon the series.
Resident Evil: Revelations is to be released May 24th in Europe and May 21st in the US on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U and PC.