Resident Evil: Revelations (Nintendo 3DS) - Review by Andrew
There was a great deal of excitement when Nintendo announced that their new 3D handheld was to also target the more mature gamer and titles such as Saints Row, Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil were rumored to be in development. It turned out that Capcom's best selling survival horror was to get not one but two outings and while Mercenaries was simply a collection of 'mini-missions', Revelations boasts a full original storyline. In fact, the developers now claim that it should actually have it's own episode number as it takes place between 4 and 5 chronologically. After a long wait. it's here now but can handheld games really be scary?
While Revelations flips from one location to another, most of your adventure takes place on the Queen Zenobia with a generous amount of the Resident Evil cast making a welcome return along with some new additions. As with previous outings the focus is on exploration and you'll be forced to check every room armed with your scanner to uncover the more obvious and hidden items. This is essential, as you'll need to collect all the weapons (and limited ammo) to succeed here although you can receive extras thanks to an ingenious use of the StreetPass feature. Unfortunately there is a fair bit of backtracking and you can expect to visit some locations multiple times so it's important to get your bearings early on. This is especially true of the underwater sections and as it is so easy to become lost with the reduced visibility; you can expect to spend some considerable time simply going around in circles. We can only assume this was a deliberate attempt to lengthen the game, due to the cartridge space, although the fact that the same enemies are recycled continually is far less forgivable. The action here is split nicely into episodes with enough automatic saves to stop the whole experience from becoming too frustrating. It's also a pretty lengthy experience and the average play through will take between 8 and 10 hours although that doesn't mean that your time with the game will be over once completed. This is thanks to the Raid Mode which allows two players to link-up locally or online to tackle a variety of missions and locations from the Campaign Mode. It's not just broken down slices of the main game either but rather an A to B challenge which rewards players for clearing maps with points, which can then be exchanged in the store for a variety of weapons and upgrades.
While the control system here appears overly complicated, it's does actually work very well, once you master it. This is because just about every one of the 3DS inputs is used in one way or another and there's even the option to alter the inputs with the theory being that it least one will be comfortable enough for you to enjoy the game.
Revelations is without question one of the best looking games to appear on the 3DS and it's hard to see just how Capcom can improve on this even at this early stage in the handhelds lifecycle. This is mostly due to the games design and the confined corridors of the Queen Zenobia allow for some incredibly atmospheric environments, which are rendered and lit to allow the player to anticipate evil around every corner. The character models are also expertly crafted and while some of the enemies are a little repetitive there's no doubting just how threatening they appear and it's sometimes difficult to remember that this is just a game. The framerate seems to keep up with the action too and you'll only really notice any slow down as the levels load during the lift sections. The other locations are also impressive as is the generous amount of FMV clips, which help to tell the immersive, well-written plot.
It's not just the visuals, which feature stunningly high production values, but the audio has seen a similar amount of attention. This touches just about every aspect of the game from the excellent score and creepy sound effects to the expertly delivered voice acting. All this is used to build the type of spine tingling tension you'll recall from horror films of old and even if you do wander into an empty room you'll still be nervously peering around every corner.
The developers have attempted to use the touch-screen throughout the game and you'll constantly have to tap a variety of areas here to select weapons and check your location, thanks to the handy map feature. There's even some interaction required and, as you progress though the game, you'll be forced to solve some simple lock puzzles, undo screws and even scan your fingerprints. This doesn't feel as much of a gimmick as other similar titles and at least appear to have been designed as part of the game rather than tagged on at the end.
While the 3D is very well implemented it's the new circle pad, which got our attention here as we went for the special package with the new hardware included. While this does bulk up your otherwise portable handheld, the addition of another circle pad and shoulder button does make for a much more enjoyable gaming experience and other games are being developed to use this feature including Metal Gear Solid. With this in mind you do have to wonder why Nintendo didn't include this feature in the first place and whether it will appear on the next 're-design' of the 3DS is anyone's guess. For now though, this is an essential add-on and if you do wish to get the most out of this game we'd highly recommend tracking one down.
Unlike last years Mercenaries, this is not simply watered down cash-in and Revelations is an ambitious and worthy showcase highlighting just what the 3DS can achieve. It looks and sounds incredible and is faithful to the franchise whilst also managing to create enough genuine tension and scares to entice gamers away from their home consoles. Yes, there is the odd niggle but put them aside and what you are left with is one of the best games available for the 3DS to date. Even when it's all over the developers have put some considerable though into the games replay value and features such as Raid Mode and the most ingenious use of StreetPass we've seen to date means that this cart will be in your console for some time to come.
Pro: Perfectly Captures the Spirit of the Franchise, Looks and Sounds Incredible and
Con: Not Much Variety in the Enemy Department, Lots of Backtracking Early on in the G
Final score: 8.5