Resident Evil Revelations (3DS) Review

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Resident Evil Revelations is the latest Resident Evil game on the 3DS. Unlike Resident Evil Mercenaries, this is a full blown game developed specifically for the 3DS. With Masachika Kawata, the producer, proclaiming that it is good enough to deserve a number signalling a true entry to the Resident Evil series, and Capcom's bold move of originally pricing the game at $50 claiming that the game's sheer magnitude required a larger memory card to house the title, you can't help but wonder if this is just putting up a face of bravado or if the game is truly something unique. The fact of the matter is that Resident Evil Revelations is perhaps one of the strongest titles on the 3DS. It isn't perfect, but it definitely showcases a lot of the strengths of the handheld and delivers an experience you'd expect from a full blown console.

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Despite being one among dozens of Resident Evil titles, Resident Evil Revelations marks a change in direction from the fast paced mass zombie exodus in Resident Evil 4 and 5 to a subtler tension of well timed shocks.

The previous entries to the series have already woven an intricate story line. If you are familiar at all with the horror genre, especially in recent years, you'll already know the basic premise. The world is terrorized by a virus that turns people into zombies. In this case, it is the T-Virus. The T-Virus is being used by bioterrorists to wreck havoc among the people. Those unfamiliar with Resident Evil needn't worry. The story does reference past games, and there are very obvious histories tied to the characters that you aren't getting a taste of, but the overarching story is basic and easy to grasp. The in game footage serves as the main vehicle for delivering what you need to know, and these are beautifully rendered scenes. They cover different places, are well voiced and make good use of the 3D effect. The occasional banter with your AI partners also reveals some interesting tidbits. While I have stressed that there is a back story to almost everything in the game, the actual events in the game are very generic. Someone is missing, you either play to survive or to rescue. All of the footage and the narration serves to heighten the atmosphere rather than convey a coherent storyline, and it does so very well. The cutscenes exploit the tension and fear by drawing on gruesome footage or flash backs, you even seen some characters evolve over time.

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Cutscenes include some grisly footage of severed limbs and grotesque monsters. If you aren't into the horror genre, you might want to look away from time to time.

The game spans a total of 12 chapters, each of which averages about an hour long. Though Capcom advertised that the campaign was 20 hours long, I think a more realistic estimate would be 10 hours from the single player experience alone. In those 12 chapters, you mainly play as Jill, stranded on a boat with her partner Parker. Eventually you do control two other squads of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) as Chris (with Jessica) and Keith (with Quint). Unfortunately the locations are a bit limited, there is a taste of some caverns and mountains, but you are primarily stranded on the luxury liner Queen Zenobia. Even worse is that the first time you get to move elsewhere, it is on the identical sister ship of the Queen Zenobia. All of these location and character changes are done via another chapter. The story is very straight forward, so the cuts between chapters seem arbitrary and you'll find yourself compelled to simply continue on through the entirety of the game to get some closure.

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The game may limit itself to one or two locations, but the depth and size of Queen Zenobia is relatively large with many rooms, corridors and locales to explore. Every set has breathtaking detail and the lighting engine in the game is phenomenal. The graphics are truly top notch at any the moment there doesn't seem to be any other 3DS game that can compare.

Playing as Jill, you will find yourself unarmed at the start. Running around the ship, looking for your partner and bumping into monsters here and there is really the atmosphere of the game. You are wary of every corner you turn, it is not only possible, but very likely you'll die at the next encounter. Even with weapons, shadows and bolts of lightning send shivers down your spine. Resident Evil Revelations is first and foremost a horror game. It is not a shooter where your goal is just to rampage across the map. It is about playing smart and trying to survive. This means that you may not even fight every zombie you come across, sometimes you might have a gun but no bullets, and you should be very afraid when you hit a big boss. If you are looking for mobs of zombies to mow down, this isn't really your type of game. Resident Evil Revelations puts a few monsters in unexpected places, and that is it. It is about the atmosphere rather than the action.

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Zombies and slugs show up from air vents, dead corpses, in a closet, they are really all over the place and even when you think an area is clear, it really may not be.

The controls to the game are a little hard to grasp at the start, but will eventually become second nature. Resident Evil Revelations faces the same problem that I'd assume any FPS on the 3DS will have to tackle, and that is the lack of dual joysticks. The game does support the 3DS Circle Pad Pro add-on which will give you the two joysticks to emulate a control scheme familiar to any console FPS game, but I think the developers deserve a series of applause for the system they implemented for those that don't have the Circle Pad Pro. There are several similar control schemes, but by default, L lets you strafe left and right while the joysticks controls the movement. The camera is fixed to face in front of the character, though it is adjustable with the touch screen. R lets you aim down your sights which also serves as a way of observing the surroundings. Admittedly, the controls were a little awkward to grasp at the start, however, I got the hang of it and was able to progress through the game with relative ease and precision after the first half hour of gameplay.

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The controls for Resident Evil Revelations is meant for the horror genre. It may not seem intuitive to be able to run or aim but not both at the same time, but that really enhances the experience in the horror game where you can run and be completely uncertain where your enemy may strike.

Perhaps even stronger than the controls is simply the graphics of the game. Resident Evil Revelations is easily one of the best looking games on the 3DS. You'll find blood dripping on the walls, cases that shatter, characters who's motions are very fluid and lighting effects that make you jump out of your seat. All of these effects are even more impressive in 3D, where the zombies lung at you seemingly through the screen while you are desperately firing away a shotgun, counting the last few shells in your inventory. The music is eery and dead on in building a sense of dread. The game is very immersive and at times, you really do feel like you are on the ship looking at a rotting corpse.

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I can't stress how good some of the cutscenes look. The introduction includes a beautiful metropolitan area, interviews, mock news reports, grisly battles and footage of military bases such as this one. I wish I could take 3D photos because some of the effects are amazing.

Resident Evil Revelations is engrossing and addictive. I was absorbed into the game almost immediately. It looks good and plays even better. It also has an online co-op mode with a level up system that will keep the game in your 3DS far longer than the 10 hour campaign. I wholeheartedly recommend the game, and if you have any doubt, a demo of the game is available for download on the Nintendo eShop.

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Try out the demo, it's 30 uses but only a portion of a chapter, so you will be finished in no time. It gives a good sense of the controls and overall atmosphere of the game. It's free on the Nintendo eShop so give it a go!


  1. Shadz's Avatar
    Might try the demo, although I think I may need a second joystick before I buy this game.
  2. PharaohsVizier's Avatar
    The game plays fine without a joystick, though I've finally had the chance to try it with the second joystick and it does make a world of difference.
  3. RoMee's Avatar
    The circle pad pro is the best way to play RE: Revelation. You can move and shoot at the same time.
    That's a big deal for me
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