When any game series reaches its fifteenth birthday, you'll always have those fans who wish that things could go back to the way they used to be. Games get slicker, difficulty gets smoothed out, and all those retro quirks get lost in the wash. For all the strides Capcom has made in bringing Resident Evil in line with modern console gamer expectations, there's a sense that the original survival horror experience, so famously contained in those early adventures through Raccoon City, still has more to give.
If you find yourself nodding in agreement, then Resident Evil: Revelations is the game for you.
Lost At Sea
The setting this time is a cruise ship, the Queen Zenobia, found drifting in the Mediterranean by series regular Jill Valentine and her new partner, Parker Luciani. They're on the trail of another Resident Evil icon, Mr Chris Redfield, who has gone missing with this eerie abandoned ship marking his last known coordinates.
Of course, nothing goes to plan and both Jill and Parker find themselves facing The Ooze, a new watery variation on the traditional Resident Evil monsters, as well as the forces of Veltro, a terrorist organisation responsible for the destruction of the floating city of Terragrigia.
Meanwhile, Chris Redfield is alive and well on the other side of the world with his new partner, the sultry sniper Jessica Sherawatt. Once they get wind of the Veltro trap that Jill has fallen into, the pieces are all in place for a typically over the top Resident Evil soap opera, with bloated beasts and lurid plot twists around every corner.
What makes Revelations different from the other main series Resident Evil games is that it began life as a Nintendo 3DS exclusive back in 2012. Few handheld games are deemed worthy of being ported across the divide to the major consoles, and it's a testament to just how solid Revelations is that you'll never question its origins.
The visuals have been given an HD makeover, and there are some new enemies and areas, but this is very much a slight remix of a game that was already seriously impressive in its smaller, original incarnation. Although Capcom has spruced it up and added some new stuff, the core of the game is the same great horror experience that 3DS players enjoyed twelve months ago.
Fans will be familiar with the creeping around corridors, the sudden bursts of bloody action and the mild puzzling that follows, but there are some changes from the formula that are worth noting. The weapon upgrade system is very flexible, allowing you to mix and match attachments for a wide variety of firearms. Added to this is the Genesis Scanner, a new gadget that rewards you with healing items for scanning enemies, and that also highlights hidden ammo in the scenery. Between them, they make surviving a little easier than it used to be, and you won't be hunting for typewriter ribbons to save your game either.
Back To Life
The main story campaign will last you a solid eight hours or so, but it's Raid Mode that will keep Revelations in your disc tray for weeks and even months. An online co-op mode, it takes locations from the main game, repopulates them with monsters of varying size and strength and then sees how quickly you can clear them. It's a shrewd mixture of score attack arcade gameplay and speed run perfectionism, and it comes with an array of unlockables aimed at keeping you replaying the dozens of stages over and over. New characters, new costumes, new weapons - there's tons of stuff to earn, each one prompting you to keep playing just to see what difference it makes. It's a mode that suits Xbox LIVE perfectly, and whether playing solo, with a friend, or in the company of a stranger it's incredibly compelling.
Few would have expected a handheld game to be the best pure Resident Evil game in years, but platform snobbery crumbles in the face of Revelations' terrifying focus on what made the series so great to begin with. Packed with action without ever losing sight of its horror roots, it's great to see Capcom bringing this cracker to more consoles. If you don't already own the 3DS version, you owe it to yourself to give Revelations a try.
- A welcome throwback to the original Resident Evil template
- Raid Mode is excellent
- New monsters are deliciously horrible
- Control is a little stiff
- The plot is typically incomprehensible
- Some annoying difficulty spikes