Ever since Resident Evil 4, we’ve been getting diminishing return after diminishing return from the Resident Evil series. I wasn’t a big fan of either of the last two numbered entries, so why would I commit myself to a 3DS game that probably wasn’t that great either? I didn’t commit myself to that 3DS game, and the only thing I don’t regret about that decision is that the game probably would have been so awkward to control without a second stick.
You see, the Revelations I’m talking about is the recent console port. It has to be at least somewhat decent if they’re porting it to the console, right? It had to sell enough on the 3DS and get enough good reviews that Capcom thought it might be a good idea, right? I mean, it could just be another “second version” Capcom money grab, but my interest was piqued. And so I ventured forth and did what any tentative gamer would do in this situation. I rented it. From Redbox (because, miracle of miracles, they actually had a game in stock). I was met with complete surprise.
This game is pretty rad, guys.
The game begins with you investigating this creepy ship in the middle of the ocean. Chris Redfield (of the Raccoon City Redfields) has not been in radio contact with B.S.A.A. for quite some time. You (as Jill Valentine) are sent in to discover why and, hopefully, rescue him. As I made my way onto the ship, something struck me that I never thought would in a Resident Evil game ever again. I was creeped out. I was paranoid. Every single step I took in that ship, not knowing what was happening, seemed like a bad idea. I paused with every noise and drew my gun, preparing for something bad. I was hesitant to enter doors and turn corners. THIS is what is was like to play Resident Evil. NOW I remember!
For those of you who remember, I find it difficult to play horror games alone. I make my way through it using friends to help buffer the experience to make it less scary. Here I was expecting a semi-competent action game and instead getting something that I’ve had to willingly pause and walk away from more times than should be allowed. You see, with every step, I’m unsure if I want to continue taking steps. Every creak in this ship could be something wanting to kill me. Every opening could potentially hide something that wants to rip me limb from limb. The game has its usual jump scares, but the beautiful way it blends the lighting, the atmosphere, and the camera really bring you into a terrifying world again. You don’t feel like an all powerful death machine. You feel like a human in the middle of a fish-based zombie apocalypse. (Death sharks ahoy!)
The weapons feel appropriately powerful, yet sometimes I felt desperate holding them when I was out of ammo. Especially closer to the beginning of the game, finding ways to dodge enemies and run is sometimes an important lesson to learn. You breathe a sigh of relief when you manage to grab on to a box of ammo. You spend time trying to line up shots right instead of blasting away like in the ill-fated Resident Evil 6. The importance behind conserving ammo and not firing away like a lunatic returns. God help the souls who walked into this game coming from Resident Evil 6 expecting more of the same. I know I did and I had to reload a few times because of it.
The best part is, the main setting (the ship Jill is sent to) almost feels like a love letter to the original Spencer Mansion. You run through rooms with beds and cabinets. You walk down some ornate stairs into a mist filled banquet hall. The ship is filled with key card locks and item specific puzzles that make you find items deeper in the ship and return to the rooms later. The entire game is imbued with a classic Resident Evil vibe that’s hard to not be happy about.
The one pitfall it has is the good old insane story of the more recent Resident Evil games. Oh, who am I kidding? It has the good old insane story of ALL the Resident Evil games in that it’s convoluted and filled with confusing conspiracy theories and virus mumbo jumbo (T-Abyss Virus, guys? Really?) There were at least 40 different “big bads” in this game (an exaggeration, obviously, but it should hammer the point home well enough.) They also do their best to take you out of the wonderful atmosphere of the ship every so often and place you elsewhere with other characters, but they do that to punch up the story that they should just stop punching up. The game knows where you want to be, and these extra segments don’t last too terribly long at all. They almost act as your exhale, where the ship segments with Jill serve as your inhale and subsequent breath holding.
It’s also, quite obviously, a port of something with less fidelity than you’re used to in a console games. It’s an acceptable looking game most of the time, but occasional blurs and odd texture problems become very noticeable.
Once you’re done with the campaign, there’s still the multiplayer. Raid Mode, from my limited interactions with it, proves to be a great addition to the game. You and a pal take to walking a “straight line” through the single player maps and kill everything you see. Resource management is still important and loot drops are randomized, making strategy between you and your partner absolutely key. It seems the type of thing one can return to at any time for a bit of quick fun.
Combining modern shooter controls with the classic Resident Evil atmosphere is a fantastic move that should have been done twice before with Resident Evil 5 and 6. If you’re able to handle some really stinky cheese via the story, the atmosphere in this one is hard to miss. To explain in a quick sentence what this game has done is simple, I just like to talk a lot. This sentence, however, is as follows:
The next time Capcom says “Resident Evil,” I’ll definitely be listening.
And that, my friends, is a good thing.