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After Resident Evil 6 and Operation Raccoon City, gamers may feel burnt out over Capcom's survival horror franchise. These newer installments took everything that was great about the series and “modernized” them by making the games more action-oriented. Many of these fans didn’t know that right before these games Nintendo 3DS owners were playing a much superior Resident Evil, subtitled Revelations. Hoping to play damage control after these last two games, Capcom decided to port the 3DS game to the HD consoles and PC. Granted Revelations is better than RE6 and Raccoon City, but Capcom could have done a much better job transitioning it to these new systems.
For those who did not play Revelations on the 3DS, the game takes place between Resident Evil 4 and 5 when Jill Valentine and her new partner, Parker Luciani, board the Queen Zenobia in order to find series veteran Chris Redfield. What Jill and Parker find however are bioorganic weapons (BOWs) infested by the T-Abyss virus caused by the terrorist group Veltro. The story unfolds via several playable characters, including Redfield, as they try to figure out the intentions of these terrorists and eliminate these BOWs.
Revelations was “optimized” for handheld play by having an episodic feel. It was annoying on the 3DS since the game would stop, ask me to save and then give me a “Previously on Resident Evil Revelations” recap of the part I just played, as if they want me to stop playing. While I can understand doing it when I load up my save when first starting the game, it was dumb to play those after every episode, and it is just as unforgivable not changing this in the HD port.
Capcom didn't really change much graphically either. The game looked amazing on the 3DS because it was built for a 2.5-inch screen. Blow that up to a HDTV however, and boy does it look dated. Characters and some non-static objects got minor facelifts, but the environments and the guns especially look blocky, muddy and straight up unfinished. Enemy animations look pretty stiff too, which is actually a big complaint I’m carrying over from the 3DS version.
The HD version of Revelations added a few new things on top of the dated visual improvements. The horde-style Raid Mode got a few new characters and enemies, but it is still just as bland so it is hard to go back to after a few runs. Capcom also made a new Infernal difficulty, which is brutally hard and rearranges item locations for those who either dominated the 3DS version or those who want to take the game for a second run. The tougher difficulty is not worth the frustration for first-timers since you would like to understand the game’s mechanics before confronting the fast and hard-hitting BOWs.
I can say that the game plays pretty good whether you use the default twin-stick “Shooter” controls or the RE4-style “Classic” controls (with move and shoot capabilities!), though I did have to do some trial and error to get them to work the way I wanted to. My biggest issue is this broken dodge mechanic that should allow the character to get out of the way of an enemy attack by hitting the stick before the strike. For some reason Capcom believed this busted mechanic worked well enough to remain untouched, and I still can't get it to work the majority of the time - even after multiple playthroughs.
Though it feels that Capcom could have handled parts of the port in a better fashion, they made sure to take full advantage of the Wii U, making it the best version (if only by default). The Wii U version has (an optional) Miiverse functionality much like New Super Mario Bros. U where you can leave messages when you die, or add captions to zombies and create some disturbing and funny moments. Like the 3DS, the Wii U adds a second screen experience to it that shows off your maps and weapons, with the former being very useful when exploring. Conservative types can also breathe easy knowing that Revelations also supports the Wii U Pro Controller and Gamepad lovers will love that it also supports Off-TV play, but sadly there’s no sexy Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition-style Wii Remote/Nunchuk controls.
Resident Evil Revelations on the HD consoles is just that, the same game that released on the Nintendo 3DS last year, which is good and bad. If you can, get the 3DS version since the minor additions and tweaks does not warrant enough reason to spend $30 more on this one. If you must have the game otherwise, Revelations is still one of the better Resident Evils of the modern era despite Capcom's lackluster effort to optimize it for these systems. It brings back a sense of horror and hope for the future that many thought died with Capcom's previous two efforts. That’s a good first step towards redemption.