It’s funny how over its past few installments the Resident Evil franchise has gotten more love for its spin-offs than for its main installments. When it originally released on the Nintendo 3DS in early 2012, Resident Evil: Revelations was heralded as a breath of fresh air for the series by moving away from the co-op action-fest from recent memory and back to its roots as a survival horror game, and for the most part it did quite well. The game has now found a new home to infect: home consoles. Does this port make the game shine yet again or should it be lost at sea forever?
Making the transition from the Nintendo 3DS to full-powered HD consoles can be a difficult one. Thankfully Resident Evil: Revelations manages to pull off this feat mostly unscathed. The game retains its spooky vibe and classic horror feel quite well, however there are a few nagging annoyances left over from the portable edition. Most notable of which is the ‘episodic’ layout of the game. While this was a great idea on the handheld it just offers up terrible pacing on a console.
The trademarked ‘over the shoulder’ view that has been a series staple since Resident Evil 4 feels right at home with a proper controller (much moreso than the clunky setup from the handheld version). The Wii U version also comes with full gamepad integration for menu and inventory navigation (although it’s not as good as Zombi U's implementation) and off-TV play. So now you can play a game that was ported from a handheld to a console on a controller that doubles up as a handheld... whoa.
One of the best features of Resident Evil: Revelations on the Nintendo 3DS, Raid Mode, is thankfully back and made better than ever thanks to the revamped residentevil.net website, Miiverse integration, and a whole slew of new features that have modernized the experience to console levels. Raid Mode is the perfect model for how co-op integration should be handled in the Resident Evil series.
While the visuals are definitely in high definition, it’s still very apparent that Resident Evil: Revelations was originally a 3DS game. This is most noticeable when it comes to some of the animations and the environments. That being said, it does look quite good when played on a large HD-TV; the characters in particular are of note. Also the art style, namely aboard the Queen Zenobia, is excellent and really adds to the tension of the environment.
The soundtrack also makes the trip over from the 3DS pretty well. The tunes and ambient noises have been modified to sound great on a full sound system and the sound design comes off as very crisp. The voice acting is also solid, though it wouldn’t be Resident Evil without some cheese thrown in for good measure and Revelations is no exception. The story, while one of the best in recent series memory is saddled with some frankly hilarious dialogue and exposition that, while it can take you out of the ‘horror’ mood, is definitely ‘Resident Evil’.
Clocking in at around 10 hours and the many more you will sink into Raid Mode, Resident Evil: Revelations is a decently long game. I do have an issue, however, with charging almost $50 for a port of a game that was never that expensive to begin with, let alone one that came out just over a year ago. Don’t get me wrong, Revelations is a great game made better by stronger hardware, but it just seems odd to pay so much for something so clearly ported from a handheld system, although Capcom have promised some DLC for Raid Mode in the future so it’s not all bad news when it comes to value for money.
The difficulty has also ramped up considerably from the original release thanks to the addition of an Infernal Mode that will leave you with even less ammunition and tougher enemies that come in greater numbers. Beating this mode will require some serious patience and dedication namely in the early goings of the game as enemies that are usually only met much later in the game pounce on you early and often.
As of writing, Resident Evil: Revelations is available on the 3DS, Wii U, 360, PS3 and PC and I can safely say after spending time with a few of these that the console version is the one to get. The full controller definitely only adds to the experience, although unfortunately that experience does indeed feel like a 3DS game up-resed for home systems with some of its handheld specific quirks still present. That being said, if you’re a fan of Resident Evil you really can’t go wrong with any version of the game on any system.
This review is based on the Wii U version of Resident Evil: Revelations.