Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Review #352: Resident Evil - Revelations

 A REturn to form?
 Often touted as one, if not the one 3DS game to own, at least before the HD port, Resident Evil Revelations had a lot to live up to. Not only that, it received a warm welcome by a large number of the fractured fandom that the series has. After finally getting to playing it myself... I'm a bit disappointed.

 It seems like Chris and Jill just can't catch a break! Veltro, a long-thought-dead organization is back and with it a different strain of the T-Virus, the T-Abyss. Chris apparently goes missing, so Jill boards Veltro's Ship, the Queen Zenobia, alongside her partner Parker, on her way to stop Veltro. While not too confusing, it's easy to get lost if you don't pay attention to the story, and it does offer some interesting, if unoriginal, plot twists. Oh, and the ending is incredibly lame, I couldn't stop rolling my eyes at it. Also, this game features the worst secondary cast to ever grace a Resident Evil game. Parker has dozens of cringeworthy lines and has a very generic personality alongside an accent I just can't stand. Jessica is your generic flirty/fanservicey character that every Japanese game must have lest the Japanese crowd have to resort to the Internet to get their kicks. Raymond looks goofy and Racheal is one of the worst character designs I've ever seen in a game that tries to take itself seriously. And don't even let me get started on Keith and Quint. Throughout the game's 12 chapters the focus will jump around this characters, so while Jill is the focus, you'll get to play as Parker, Chris and Keith as well.
 The game plays like a mix of Resident Evil 4 and 6, with the over-the-shoulder camera angle but the ability to strafe and move while aiming. While it is recommended to play with the Analog nub pro accessory, the game works just fine without it, as a matter of fact, I was awed at how well the managed to make it work: Holding R lets you aim with the analog stick, while holding L and R at the same time lets you move while you aim in the direction you left it at before holding L, it's easy to learn and get the hang of it. Interestingly, aiming can be done in both first and third person, and while I loved how it worked in The Evil Within, for Revelations I felt more comfortable with the third person camera. There's also a new 'Dodge' function that is very poorly explained, in which you hold B and either move towards or against the incoming attack? It's never made very clear, which explains why there are videos trying to explain how to do it, but I found myself dodging attacks at random while simply moving, which made no sense, but holding B and doing circles with the analog stick also works. Sometimes. Basically, the dodge function is a mess and bosses, and certain late-game enemies, seem designed with this mechanic in mind, so it's kind of a mess sometimes.

 The game also introduces the Scanner which I feel is the game's largest pitfall. By scanning the area around you, you may collect handprints(For bonuses), ammo or healing items. Ammo and healing items are somewhat scarce, aided by the fact that you've an ammo cap, which I find absolutely stupid, so you'll be leaving a ton of ammo behind just because you wanted to save up rifle rounds for a boss, so you decided to use the gun instead. So now you are hurting for pistol ammo. Long story short, there's no reason not to use the scanner, but this also brings the game to a crawl, as you try to scan enemies, for healing items, or scanning each area every few steps, lest you miss a handprint or an ammo drop. You can opt not to use it, but why wouldn't you? This may seem like a dumb complaint, but I couldn't help myself, so I'm willing to bet that others felt the need to scan as well.
 That said, when you play as Jill you get to take any three weapons, as well as customize them with perks, like a larger magazine, more attack power, higher critical chance or daze percent, which was rather interesting. Particularly since these perks must be found, and you must choose on which weapons to equip them. Switching weapons is done either with the touchscreen or the digital pad, and neither are particularly good when in the heat of battle, but it's usually better to cycle through weapons with the digital pad. Sub weapons, consisting of the knife and grenades, can only be done with the touch screen, and it's a bit clunky, so it's better if you prepare before engaging into fights. There's a couple of touchscreen mini-games which are dumb, but not too annoying. There's also a 'mission' system that rewards you for certain feats('Dodging 30 times', 'scanning every enemy', 'finishing the game') which is a fine way of encouraging players to replay the game, buuuuuuuuut you've only got so many active missions at the same time, and if you want more... you need to use Street Pass. That's not very nice.

 As far as the main game goes, it works relatively well. While it is divided into Chapters, when you play as Jill, the game works a bit like the older Resident Evil games, in which you had a big area, the Queen Zenobia in this case, to explore. The early Ship chapters are particularly good, since you've less fire power and more enemies to contend with. There were some genuinely creepy moments then, but after... chapter 4 or so most of the tension is gone and it turns into yet another modern Resident Evil game, but with less action. Probably due to the 3DS's capabilities, they opted for less enemies but more resilient, so fire fights aren't up to par with what you would find in REvil 4,5 or 6. And let me level with you, I prefer the more action oriented modern Resident Evil games, but this feels like a pastiche that's trying to appeal to both crowds yet doing things half-bakedly. Mind you, it works well, and there's nothing particularly wrong about it, but just the same, nothing stands out about it. Sure, you've a rather large area to explore, but there's no puzzles, unlike classic Resident Evil games. And sure, there are a ton of enemies, but they don't drop as much ammo as they do in modern games and they take quite a few bullets to put down. It's a rather odd mixture mechanics that don't work quite as well as when they are on their own element.
 Then there's Raid Mode, in which you can play as various characters and go through different zones from the main game as you defeat enemies. It sounds kinda mediocre, doesn't it? Well, it's way more fun than it deserves to be. You can level up your characters and earn different leveled-weapons as well as customize them. It's really fun, and it has its own sub-set of missions to unlock more characters and costumes. It also feels more like modern Resident Evil games since you get action, action and even more action. And it can be played both online or offline with a buddy!

 Resident Evil Revelations isn't bad by any means, but it feels... it feels a bit misguided. It's not a 'return to Resident Evil roots' and it fails to capture what makes Modern Resident Evil games so good, although at least there's no quick time events.... but, on the other hand, the dodge system is a mess. It's a decent game, but it's probably not the game oldschool fans wanted.
 7.0 out of 10

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