Resident Evil: Revelations Preview
Art imitates life on a frequent basis, Resident Evil a horrifying example of this adage. The series reputation is as dead as any of the enemies found within, and has been shambling along with barely a leg to stand on for awhile now. Revelations came out on the 3DS early last year, and represented an attempt on Capcom’s part to backtrack to success. Returning to a slower paced, much need refocusing on survival horror was what Revelations was all about. The title was successful enough to merit a console port, for all to enjoy, and to give those like me a second stab at reliving the glory days of Resident Evil.
My initial thoughts in starting up the demo?
1998…*sigh*…I’ll never forget it.
(EDIT: My particular preview deals with the Wii U version, but I am to understand that all of the consoles share the same gameplay.)
The story for Revelations takes place between RE4 and 5. The demo itself takes place on a ship at sea (The SS Queen Zenobia), with Jill and her new partner, Parker, investigating what has become of fellow BSAA members, Jessica Sherawat and Chris Redfield. You’re thrown into the demo with very little understanding of how far into the story it takes place, but you know Chris has been captured, and Jill has to do what she does best: unlock the way to success.
Any fan of the more recent RE titles will feel right at home. The controls and camera follow the classic template set forth by RE4, leaving very little to complain about in either regard. Many will be thrilled at the ability to move while firing of course, as the series has made some strides of progress in making Resident Evil a more active experience. The controls on the Wii U gamepad were incredibly comfortable, with the ability to aim and fire just as effortless as any of it’s console brethren.
One aspect of personal success the Wii U gamepad can claim, is within it’s possession of having a touch screen in the controller itself. This allows for some easy inventory management, quick map referencing, and fast healing at a touch of the button. You can also play the game directly on the gamepad itself, for any of those who wish to fully recreate the portable experience, or just want to kill some infected on and off their own couches.
The pacing and sense of dread of the classic Resident Evil’s is captured to a T in Revelations. While the pre-rendered backgrounds and tank controls may be gone, the sound design and dark ambiance helps to keep the tension alive. Revelations isn’t the over the top action fests 5 and 6 were: you will have some nervous down time to contend with. I say this thankfully, as the claustrophobic hallways and subtle music hanging in the air, will remind you of Resident Evil’s suspenseful past with effortless tact.
One of the gameplay elements that will compliment all of this is the introduction of the “gun scanner” dubbed the Genesis. This useful gadget acts as if a firearm, and allows you to scope out your current surroundings for items, bodies, and whatever is currently trying to eat you. I found The Genesis adds another element of fear into the mix, as it forces even more suspense in the art of investigation.
I believe the Wii U version was prevented from reaching full potential, as it is the only console with a gyroscopic controller that can boast a screen. This may sound non-sequitur at first, but when you consider ZombiU, another survival horror game on the same console, had a scanner you could manipulate by physically moving the controller, you can then relate to my disappointment in not being able to enjoy the luxury, while playing Revelations. The feeling of physically moving around the scanner adds a level of intimacy and heightened suspense you just don’t get with tactile controls. Both sensations still exist with conventional buttons, mind you, just not in equal amounts.
While the slower paced moments of intrigue will keep you guessing what’s around the corner, Revelations is not guilty of skimping on satisfying combat. Much like it’s predecessor RE 4, the fluid camera and accessible controls make the fights straight and to the point. The enemies cohere to the back to basics approach most of the game is modest about. These abominations are but mere step ups from zombies, and that’s a good thing. These disgusting, more bestial representations of fear will lurch slowly towards you, in their efforts to eat you alive. They will be warmly welcomed adversaries, to anyone who misses an easier target, and the tensity they represent.
The nuances of Revelations give way to reminders of the past, and will be glazed over by most, but appreciated by the loyal. Small nods to habits of Resident Evil’s history will be found through out: speechless text describing objects and doors, red ammo boxes shining in dark environments, forced moments of back tracking through narrow hall ways. These elements and more will likely anger newer players, but will be lauded by vets.
To give you an idea of how starved I am as a long time Resident Evil fan, when I encountered a locked door that demanded a customized key, complete with ridiculously forced naval theme, I physically licked my lips with satisfaction. This type of back tracking and fetch questing may be a loathed relic of game design past, but reminds me of the charming presence Resident Evil had, once upon a time.
That’s not to say Revelations relies solely on rested laurels, nor is the game play just a cheesy call back to RE’s of the past. A lot of time and effort went into fusing the qualities of the past, with the efficiencies of the present, to give us the best of both worlds with. The moments of creeping death found in Revelations are effective at creating chills, while the louder get up and go sections of combat leave little to be desired there after. Boasting both brutality and gore, Revelations has an admirable quality, of servicing both existing camps of Resident Evil players, without sacrificing quality: a welcome sight of horror to behold.
The demo, while robust in flavor, is a short meal. Most will probably blow through it in a mere ten minutes, though I got close to a half hour with my more ernest approach, in stopping to smell the undead roses. The demo ends on a cool cliff hanger, and explores quite a few intrigues I’m looking forward to uncovering, when the full game comes out on the 21st.
While the demo is very bare bones, and Revelations does represent a port from a portable system, the trial made much clear to me. The reason Revelations has been given a second chance, is through one undeniable truth: simplistic confidence. The game celebrates both the lineage that has come before it, without forgetting to create new experiences, in an effort at making a better tomorrow for Resident Evil. I’m very happy to be given another opportunity at supporting the game, as the Revelations demo did more for me in 10 minutes, than Resident Evil 6 did for me in 10 hours.
While some people may poo poo the price point, now is the absolute wrong time to stand on a refusal of finance. Capcom may commit to horrendous gaming atrocities on a regular basis, but this is one act of kindness that should not go unrewarded.
Everyone has screamed for a better Resident Evil, and Revelations is here to make you scream.
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