Sunday, June 14, 2015

VGR Resident Evil Revelations

VGR: Resident Evil: Revelations also known as Biohazard Revelations 
From Capcom
Played on Xbox 360
Also available on Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, PS3 and PC

Type Third person Survival Horror
Year 2013 (2012)

Now, why did it take Capcom this long to finally make a proper new Resident Evil game?

Well, the real reason is that all of Capcom's original developers (including RE series creator Shinji Mikami) have long left the boat (excuse me for the voluntary pun). And these days gaming has taken long running franchises into much bigger budgets and with that came a need to appeal to a much broader "mainstream" audience.

But Resident Evil: Revelations didn't suffer much from Capcom's recent restrictions. Why? Because it wasn't part of the main numbered Resident Evil series and it was aimed at a completely different public.

The game was originally developed for the Nintendo 3DS handheld console. It was even one of the first big major exclusive made for the system. And just like the previous Nintendo exclusive installments Capcom did in the past (namely Zero, the REmake and Resident Evil 4), it would be finally released on different systems where it would sell even more copies.

Believe it or not, Revelations takes its general idea from what appears to be the original "BIOHAZARD 3", a scrapped 1998 version of the game that would have featured RE2's HUNK as the main playable character. To take the series and the story into a new direction, the game was set to revolve around a virus outbreak aboard a cruise ship, since that would have been the next best and most different setting to use for the game following the mansion in the first game and the city in part 2. But then they ended up promoting a RE2 standalone spinoff called "Nemesis" and rushing it on time as the next main game under the title "Resident Evil 3: NEMESIS". While parts of that idea would end up recycled in a 2002 rail shooter ("Resident Evil: Dead Aim"), the team at Capcom was finally able to make use of that setting in a proper new RE game after all those years!

For the occasion, since the 3DS is a portable console, they wanted to keep things smaller but offer a regular main console experience. The boat was a great way to keep things limited in scope, due to the limited field of vision, and have hordes of monsters lurking on every corner. Make a proper new tense and scary Resident Evil experience and play it episodic for a game on the go.

The story of the game follows the series regular protagonists Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield as they try to stop a new bioterrorist organization from infecting the Earth with a brand new deadly virus. All in true classic RE fashion!

The plot appears to take place between the events of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 (just prior to the "flashback" DLC episode of RE5 actually). It follows the establishment of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance group (or "BSAA").

The game is loaded with CGi cutscenes through the adventure. It all begins with the tale of how this "floating city" built for the rich - Terragrigia - was completely destroyed at the hands of a new bioterrorists organization. "Il Veltro". Back then the Federal Bioterrorism Commission sent several agents to isolate and keep things contained. We are introduced to these new character FBC agents Parker Luciani and Jessica Sherawat - probably this new RE game's main characters if you consider how tied to the plot they are. Each would be assigned to a new and familiar partner in the present portions of the game. Veltro appears to have been able to get Umbrella's old "B.O.W. " (Bio Organic Weapons), they let a few Hunters roam free and destroy everything. The FBC was only able to put a stop to this by completely destroying Terragrigia...

Several years have now passed. The game truly begins when now-BSAA agents Jill and Parker are sent out in the Mediterranean Sea to local a "ghost ship" after missing agent Chris Redfield. They find this cruise ship, the Queen Zenobia. Aboard the ship they find everybody was already killed in a seemingly attack. Now monsters are roaming free around the ship! And it seems to be the same type of hybrid virus that destroyed the FBC - it can only mean one thing.

Veltro is back!

The virus is named the T-Abyss which they later discover was made from a modified ancient virus discovered in the ocean, "the Abyss", combined with the terrifying "gift" that keeps on giving in the RE series, T-Virus. And it was all a trap!

From there on the plot jumps from Jill's perspective to other BSAA agents. We see Chris again, at this time partnered up with Jessica. Turns out they were actually lost in the mountains, they just found an Il Veltro base. BSAA Director Clive R. O’Brian is coordinating these various teams. We also get to meet these two other agents, Quint Cetcham and Keith Lumley, part of the "tech and retrieve" team. Those nerds are actually my favorite characters in the game.

The story jumps back and forth between all these scenarios (you don't get to select "a" campaign at the start of the game, like past RE games). You're also treated to a couple of flashbacks here and there exposing more and more of the plot as the game continues. During the story they find this enigmatic old FBC rookie Raymond Vester too...

There's also a new type of Tyrant waiting for Jill & co aboard the ship...!

RE stories can usually be all kinds of cheesy, but for once it really worked in the game favor. The story has a great thriller-like structure. It's almost captivating for once!

As for the gameplay, this is the first time Capcom got the survival horror formula right in ages. The game ditches the more fast-paced action/combat from the last few numbered RE titles for a return to actual surviving and exploration. Yes, the game still plays from a third person perspective and doesn't rely on tank controls, and it works!,

The game relies on old school tropes to make you actually work to survive. You're trusted in this huge boat at first with only a handgun and a knife to defend yourself. As you progress through the game you get new keys and passes that will open up new areas. There's some backtracking around to move forward. In that regards it really reminded me how you got to explore the original Spencer Mansion in the first Resident Evil game.

You have limited ammo and health. Items are scarce. Even your character's movements are limited in speed this time. Although this marked the first game that would finally allow the player to move and shoot at the same time, which would later be implemented in Operation Raccoon City and RE6 as well. There's a few important items that can be used to open secret weapon safes. You can interact with your environment, climb and even get to swim in later segments of the game (it almost feels forced on you at that point). There's a new "Genesis" camera you can use to scan stuff and the environment.

It's a true return to horror, while keeping the modern gameplay mechanics and controls. 

You need to manage your equipment. There's no co-op this time since the game was originally designed for the 3DS. If anything it helped the team keep a better focus on the whole campaign. Despite the emphasis on exploration and survival like the original games, there's no real puzzles to be found except a few stuck blocking your way once or twice. Jill even gets her own "hacking minigame" (being the "Master of Unlocking" that she is).

And ever few chapters you will get to play other characters. Unlike Jill's classic free-roaming exploration those are more straightforward linear action stages. And a lot closer to what Capcom offered in RE4-5-6.since "Master of UNlok).

At its heart Revelations reminded me of a blend of Sega's Carrier and Ubisoft's Cold Fear. Like those two games it's a pretty contained and claustrophobic experience. In fact Revelations even features the same gimmick vision-camera you need to use to spot invisible foes and analysis notable environments.

It's a fun idea! A creepy dark and isolated survival horror game aboard a ship in the middle of the ocean. I really enjoyed the tone of the game. Although I admit Cold Fear did the whole boat-experience a lot more credible and immersive (the waters are quite quiet in Capcom's game).

It's such a fun game though! A true return to the series' roots. It's a smart game, the crew made the best use of both classic and modern elements of the series, all tied nicely together offering a sort of best of the series. Not bad for a gaming series that I found had completely lost its identity in the last few games.

Even though the game was originally meant for a portable system, it feels like a complete home console experience.

And you can already see it ranked next to the best of the series!

Capcom meant this as part of a marketing ploy for the 3DS. The game was simultaneously released with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, a standalone "Mercenaries" mode for the 3DS. Both games even shared some assets, but Revelations turned out to be the much better game in my eyes. The team used Mercenaries 3D as a test run to anticipate some shortcomings and graphical quality issues for Revelations.

Revelations actually offers a multiplayer mode of its own, a "Raid Mode". It's basically a successor to the previous games' Mercenaries modes. A bunch of challenge maps where you can alter scenarios, taken right from the main campaign. You have to survive waves of monsters for experience points, which you can trade for more items or to unlock several characters from the main story. It's decent, if you're into this sort of thing.

The game already knew a big enough success on the 3DS, but when Capcom brought it over to "HD systems" it knew an even bigger positive reception, most reviewers ailing it as the next true RE entry. If anything I hope this huge success will prove the producers the audience will take to this return to survival horror as well as the more action-oriented series. And if we know Capcom is that if there's high enough demand for it and an audience, they will keep producing it.

Finally, one last comment on the music. A lot of composers worked on this episode, which is quite usual for Capcom. Kota Suzuki, Ichiro Kohmoto and Takeshi Miura. All giving different vibes to the musical score of Revelations through the story. It's quite close and in tone to recent RE offerings, but slightly more tense and creepy.

Overall, Resident Evil: Revelations is a fantastic game. A much better entry in the franchise than all the other RE games we received that same year (namely, Operation Raccoon City and Resident Evil 6).

It's a really fun survival horror! Maybe not the greatest example of the genre, but a nice return to the old school vibe for the series, while keeping the action on board and in check for a change. It even recaptures some of the original RE spirit and formula! Highly Recommended for nostalgic fans of the original games or good ol' survival horror games.

It can even be at times a really great tense game. Although I could have done with less Chris segments, that guy truly knows how to ruin a party (you can simply blast away in those segments, since unlike Jill you do not need to be careful about your ammunitions). The graphics look actually amazing in comparison to anything RE6 tried and failed miserably. And the game has a great sound design and horrific creatures.

It's easily the best new RE game in over a decade! It's not that a fantastic game, mind you. But it's serviceable, pretty fun and as far as Capcom's last outings go, probably the best Resident Evil can be nowadays.

After the moderate success of the original 3DS game, Capcom re-released a HD version of Revelations for PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U (which was my console of choice for this game, but I just couldn't manage to find a copy of it..). This version contained improved visuals for the home consoles and PC, of course, as well as the addition of a few more new weapons, all kinds of new costumes and characters for the Raid mode (HUNK!!), a new creature (the "Wall Blister") along new remixed elements. The singleplayer campaign can be considered a "Director's Cut" if you will, they altered a few segments and objects placements. The ability to change aiming options, they removed the laser for a more traditional cross-hair on screen, completely redesigned the HUD and the various interfaces of the game. As such you can consider this the final and best versions of the game.

Due to its popularity over the main games, Resident Evil: Revelations would be followed by another entry in this new RE sub-series. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 was released in 2015. Since the original used this episodic formula for the story and recaps, Capcom would do the next logical step by simply making Revelations 2 episodic and offering the entire "season" later as a complete disc release at the end of the digital distribution.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Quacks!


  1. Have you had the chance to play Revelations 2 yet? That's the one which features the long-awaited return of Barry Burton.

    1. Not yet. But he's up next in my backlog once I finish Alien Isolation and review it over here.