Like so many Resident Evil games, Resident Evil Revelations has been repeatedly rereleased, with an updated version for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, WiiU, and PC coming just a year after it debuted on the 3DS in 2012. Now it’s been upgraded again for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with still another version for the Switch coming later this year, with that edition including a voucher for a copy of Resident Evil Revelations 2. But while this new edition doesn’t add enough to make it worth buying a second time, or a third, for fans of this series who missed this installment before, this is yet another chance to be the gun-totin’ hero in a horror movie.
Set between the events…
of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil Revelations has you running around a monster-infested ship in the Mediterranean, as well as other locations, in an attempt to prevent terrorists from using a biological weapon. Kind of like if The Evil Within was crossed with the movie Under Siege.
For the most part, Resident Evil Revelations plays more like one of the original Resident Evil games — especially the original Resident Evil and its immediate sequel, Resident Evil 2 — or the most recent installment, Resident Evil 7 biohazard, than any of the recent installments. And not just because, unlike the latter, it has a third-person perspective.
For starters, ammo and other supplies are limited in Resident Evil Revelations, and even when you do find some, you can’t carry much. Thankfully, weapons don’t take up any slots in your inventory, while ammo has its own section. You also have to hit a button when you want to climb up up a ladder or jump down from or up onto a ledge, while the cutscenes look different from the gameplay part, and the whole thing employs the same visual style this series has employed for years.
More importantly, Resident Evil Revelations is decidedly as concerned with being scary as it is with being a shooter. Not only do things jump out at you at just the right time — or, well, the wrong one — but the entire game is awash in a creepy vibe, one that’s perfectly augmented by subtle atmospheric music that’s thankfully used sparing, but still enough to put you on edge. It even has the stiff, B-movie-esque voice acting that was a hallmark of this series for so long.
That said, Resident Evil Revelations isn’t a total throwback. The controls are decidedly more intuitive and modern than in any of the old games, or even in the recent remakes of those old games (though they’re far from perfect, as I’ll explain in a moment).
Resident Evil Revelations also…
gives you a running secondary mission to scan the monsters with a gun-like device called a Genesis Scanner. Doing so gives you with certain percentage, and whenever you reach 100% you’re rewarded with a way to replenish your health. The kicker being that you can’t use the Genesis Scanner and your gun at the same time, which means you’re vulnerable to attack from whatever you’re trying to scan. Well, unless you kill it first. But you don’t get as many points this way, and some corpses dissolve rather quickly.
The other advantage and disadvantage of the Genesis Scanner in Resident Evil Revelations is that it can locate ammo, health packs, and collectibles. But many of these items are actually hidden unless they’re scanned, which means you have to scan every room, and that gets as tiresome here as this kind of mechanic did in Batman: Arkham Knight, Rise Of The Tomb Raider, and Horizon Zero Dawn.
As far as Resident Evil games go, the campaign in Resident Evil Revelations is neither the best nor the worst, though it is solid. The monsters put up a good fight, while the abandoned ship where most of this takes place is a compelling place to set a horror game. And while this does have a lack of variety, sadly, it does have a more balanced mix of shooting and survival horror than we’ve seen from this series for a while.
While the main focus of Resident Evil Revelations is the single-player mode, the game also has a campaign variation called “Raid Mode” in which you have to fight your way through levels based on the campaign, but reworked with different monsters and weapons. You also have a choice of which character to play as, as well as variety of weapon options. It’s kind of like such survival modes as “Horde” from the Gears Of War games, except that the monsters don’t always come to you. It’s also playable co-op, unlike the regular version of the campaign.
“Raid Mode” mode in Resident Evil Revelations is even more simplistic, and is thus less interesting, than the regular version of the campaign. Which means that people who need a challenge will enjoy it, but others will find it uninteresting. Though this version does have a revamped version of the “Ghost Ship” level.
Speaking of which, aside from the reworked “Raid Mode” map, the only other changes from the previous version of Resident Evil Revelations to this one are equally negligible, as they’re mostly cosmetic. Both the frame rate and resolution have been improved, which adds a bit more detail and makes everything move a bit smoother. Even so, this still just looks more like a really good Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game than it does a top-notch Xbox One or PlayStation 4 one.
Annoyingly, this version of Resident Evil Revelations doesn’t fix the biggest issue with the previous one, and actually, in a way, makes it worse: the loose controls. Though they’re decidedly better than the early Resident Evil games, they’re oddly not as good in this version of Resident Evil Revelations as they were in the previous version of this game. Sort of. If played with the default settings, both have a camera speed that’s too quick, and thus feels loose and inaccurate. But while the default feels better here than in the previous edition, those versions let you adjust the camera speed to a much better speed, something you can’t do here. Even weirder, both this and those previous versions allow you to adjust the aiming speed, which you’ll need to do as well.
Now, admittedly, having loose controls in this version of Resident Evil Revelations doesn’t ruin the game, just as they didn’t in the previous editions. And it’s nothing you won’t get used to after a while. But it’s still hard not think how much better this would’ve been if it had included the camera speed option. Or has Gears Of War-ish controls.
In the end,
if you’ve played a previous version of Resident Evil Revelations, you don’t need to buy this one. And yeah, it’s not the best Resident Evil game ever made, either. It’s not even the best Resident Evil Revelations game ever made; the variety of Resident Evil Revelations 2 makes that sequel better. But if you’re a fan of this series who missed this installment the first two times, here’s your chance to play the best version of this particular scary shooter. Well, until the next time, that is.