Over the past few years, Resident Evil has become something of a cliche in horror games. While the original games were dark and gritty and offered up some real scares, the last installment in the series is just as bland as a corridor shooter. While Resident Evil: Revelations is a remake of a 3DS game, the content is still fresh and the game harkens back to the roots of Resident Evil we all enjoy, instead of the modern military shooter crossover that the main series has become. For fans of the old school, this is a real treat.
Resident Evil: Revelations remains largely unchanged from the game 3DS owners experienced last year. The gameplay features character switches between Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, and a host of supporting characters as you wander your way through the abandoned cruise liner, the Queen Zenobia, battling the remnants of mutated T-Virus monsters unleashed by the terrorist organization Veltro. It’s a competent story that makes Resident Evil 6 look like absolute garbage, which Capcom seems to recognize as the entire game was ported to all major consoles.
The gameplay is divided up into episodes, which feels reminiscent of the game’s original home on the 3DS. While there have been some gameplay changes to accommodate the console, some of them feel less than fine-tuned. For example, while your character can both move and aim at the same time now, the aiming feels slightly off as a small nudge will send the cursor flying across the screen much farther than you intended, throwing off your aiming. It takes a lot to get used to this and it’s obvious this is left over from the unwieldiness of the 3DS joystick, rather than being fine-tuned for precise analog control.
This can get you into trouble in the much lauded infernal mode, which is every bit as hellacious as you would think. It includes a new enemy and much fewer items within the world, so even if you think you remember where all those scanned items are, if you’re not smartly managing your weapons you’ll soon find yourself at the mercy of a mutant with no bullets to back you up.
Graphics & Audio
Of course with a port, Capcom has upscaled the graphics and given them a shiny new coat of paint for the release. The game certainly looks great on the Wii U and manages to look better than Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. It’s still obvious the game had its roots as a much smaller game however, as textures that aren’t that important to gameplay, such as lockers and bunk beds, are noticeably grungy. This lends well to the feel of the game however, so it’s somewhat forgivable.
The audio is perhaps one of the best treats the game has to offer, as it hails back to the original trilogy of the series that made Resident Evil the household survival horror name that it is today. The music is perfectly tuned to set you on edge as you’re turning a corner or opening a door, and there’s no shortage of jumpy moments that should have any fan of the series’ heart pounding. I found myself unwilling to play alone and in the dark, which says something for this release.
The game does include a much improved Raid Mode over the original included in the 3DS, offering up more unlockables, weapons and new characters. This mode can be played solo, but it’s best played online with a partner, setting up your strategies to best conquer the level at hand so you can get the most currency to unlock your upgrades. For most people, once the single player storyline is beaten, this is where all the fun will be. I’ve only played a few matches in the limited press release, but I’m eager to dive back into it.
Wii U Features
Of course, the Wii U version of the game offers up a few features that you won’t find on any other console. Most notably is the use of the GamePad’s touch screen, which features a map in the middle along with touchable buttons along the side that allow you to switch between weapons on the fly. This is truly innovative, as having to manage your bullets in the game means sometimes it’s better to lob a quick grenade at two advancing foes.
I expected the GamePad would be needed for the Genesis scanner, but that’s not the case. The functions of that device are handled solely by analog sticks, which seems like an oversight on the developer’s part. I kept wanting to hold the Genesis button to bring up the scanner and then move the GamePad to what I wanted to scan instead of flicking the right joystick to aim.
Additionally, the game features Miiverse integration in a few clever ways. The first is what I like to call death taunts, which I absolutely recommend that you turn on. When you die, you have a chance to leave a message to players who, when they die to the same monster, will see what you’ve written. It’s similar in communication to the soapstone writings of Dark Souls, which is a really enjoyable aspect of both games. It’s nice to know that the stupid death you just encountered was the same for someone else. You can also spawn monsters named after you, featuring messages and drawings in raid mode, which only adds to the hilarity and sometimes confusion of the mode itself.
Of course, off-tv play and the pro controller is a supported control option should you decide not to use the GamePad.
Overall, many people decried Capcom for bringing what they consider yet another port of a game to the Wii U, but this time there’s more to be said for what’s on the table as an offering. The Wii U includes unique control options and Miiverse integration that can’t be found on any other console, thus making this the superior version in my mind. Those who have already played the 3DS version might not be interested in playing the storyline again, but the much improved raid mode and Infernal mode is certainly worth picking this one up again.
+ Great storyline, better than the main Resident Evil installments
+ Gameplay harkens back to the original series
+ Infernal mode is a great new addition for hardcore players
+ Miiverse integration adds something fun and quirky
+ Raid mode offers great replayability
- Graphics are a bit washed out
- Control scheme is a bit unwieldy at times