|Release: February 7, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
There's something inherently creepy about the ocean. Sure, plenty of people take vacation cruises and have a great time sitting on the beach, but when it's just you and open water, it can be pretty intimidating. Capcom has definitely taken advantage of this fact, and has finally put Resident Evil in the middle of the ocean. Resident Evil: Revelations takes place in 2005 and revolves around the remains of a floating city that was attacked by a bio-terrorist group.
Series mainstays Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine are on the case again, this time working for a biological recovery group that is trying to stamp out the rest of the infection left behind after the collapse of the aquatic city. For a handheld game, Resident Evil: Revelations is surprisingly cinematic, and each chapter of the story is presented with lengthy introduction and conclusion cutscenes. If you don't like your handhelds with a bunch of story content, then you might as well write this one off right now, because Resident Evil: Revelations is filled to the brim with juicy plot details.
Since the game takes place in 2005, there are no Las Plagas (in fact, Resident Evil 5 has yet to happen) but there is a whole new class of genetic mutant lurking about. These guys aren't really zombies in the traditional sense, but feature some truly terrifying design, and come in all shapes and sizes from giant swollen toothy creatures to limp bags of flesh that nip at your heels. These creatures are engineered and used by an evil terrorist organization (aren't they always?) so you'll have to fight against both human and nonhuman enemies throughout the game.
Though the plot in the game is actually fairly good, the question most fans probably have in their heads is whether a shooter can really work on the 3DS. Splinter Cell 3D didn't exactly leave a good taste in our mouths, but mechanically, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D worked fairly well. Resident Evil: Revelations works almost the exact same way as Mercenaries, but since the gameplay requires a lot more in terms of exploration and discovery, the little tweaks to the control scheme are a bit more noticeable here.
The game still features the series' signature stop-and-shoot style of control, but the addition of a very active camera ensures that you can find a good spot to plant yourself in before you start unloading your clip. And though the game is compatible with the second circle-pad attachment, you are unlikely to need it; running around with the default control setting is effortless. Shooting in the game is also fast, and though there are shortcuts on the touchscreen, changing weapons is a lot easier if you just use the button-based commands.
I am very impressed with how well Resident Evil: Revelations works on Nintendo's little handheld, and I have to hand it to Capcom for creating a competent shooter experience on what would otherwise be a poor platform choice. Everything feels very natural, and even if you are a hardcore home console player, you'll feel right at home with the 3DS' control setup.
Equally impressive are the visuals. Pre-rendered cutscenes are on par with Resident Evil 4 and sport an impressive amount of detail. In-game graphics naturally take a hit, but character animation, as well as enemy design, still looks great. The 3D effect is used to give environments a little bit of depth, but those with 3D fatigue will be happy to know that the game doesn't get into gimmick territory with the 3D visuals at all. You won't see any zombies grabbing for you from the screen or anything like that, but things do occasionally pop into view with the intention of giving the player a little bit of a scare. But since we are talking about a survival horror game here, I don't think that's too much of a crime.
A lot of the 3D content is also related to atmosphere, which is incredibly important in a genre where jump scares have unfortunately become the norm. Dimly lit cabin rooms and rollicking ocean waves come to life in stunning detail, creating a world where something as simple as just peering around the corner doesn't feel safe.