Resident Evil made its debut way back in 1996 and has undergone numerous gameplay changes through the years. Throughout the adaptations and ill-conceived spin-offs, it has remained the definitive series in the survival horror genre. Some may argue, it is well past its prime and even the original creator, Shinji Mikami, has moved on (he spent the last week promoting his new game The Evil Within at E3, in Los Angeles). However, the latest Resident Evil installment, a port from the 3DS, is a welcome addition to the storied franchise.
Set between Resident Evil 4 and 5, Revelations follows fan favorites and original Resident Evil characters, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. At least in the beginning of the game they work separately, with new partners, and the majority of the missions consist of two member teams. With graphics that aren’t quite current gen and a control scheme closer to Resident Evil 4 than to the more recent Resident Evil 6, there is definite retro feel to the experience. That feeling is magnified by similarities of the some of the settings to the original mansion from the first Resident Evil.
New to the franchise in Resident Evil: Revelations is the Genesis Scanner. The scanner is used to both catalog enemies and to find hidden objects. This scanner is mapped to the left bumper on the Xbox 360 controller. Otherwise, the controls are similar to other third person shooters. The left trigger aims the weapon and right trigger fires unless a weapon isn’t being aimed. In that case, the right trigger is used for melee. The right bumper tosses grenades and the analog sticks control movement and the camera.
The d-pad in Resident Evil: Revelations cycles weapons, left and right for primaries and up and down for secondary arms. The back button brings up the menu and B exits. Speaking of the face buttons, players should be careful not to hit the Y button accidently, as you can waste health items easily. Of course, the A button is used for interactions and X will reload the current weapon. You can also dodge some attacks by pressing A and a direction on the left analog stick and there are also the occasional quick time events.
While the voice acting is competent in Resident Evil: Revelations, the story often overreaches, but Resident Evil fans have come to expect a level of campiness. Still, those unfamiliar should be warned that story flows like a crazy soap opera with political overtones. When you’re done with the fairly short adventure, there is a sort of new game-plus, along with a co-op multiplayer option. Though, this co-op is nowhere near as satisfying as the classic mercenaries.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Resident Evil: Revelations. It is a fun trip down memory lane without having to endure an antiquated control scheme and acutely low polygon counts of early titles in the franchise. Considering that I rarely play portable consoles, the story was new for me, another benefit over replaying games that I’ve nearly memorized. There is not much innovation and nothing cutting edge about the game — it is a lot like visiting an old friend that you haven’t seen in a few years. You forget why they drove you crazy, they catch you up on what’s been going, and then you both promise to spend more time hanging out in the future.
Resident Evil: Revelations is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language. This game can also be found on: Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC.