Is Resident Evil: Revelations worth playing?

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It’s not been a good time for Resident Evil fans. Though Resident Evil 5 was a fun co-operative game it just didn’t feel like Resident Evil; dispensing with the scares, the limited ammunition and the puzzles. Resident Evil Revelations on the 3DS was a more true-to-form Resident Evil game, bringing back much of the classic gameplay, while still providing the action that new fans of the series craved. It’s now heading to just about every other platform in a new, high-definition port – but is it really worth playing?

If you’re a fan of the original games, burnt by the mess that was Resident Evil 6, I can quite emphatically say “yes.”

For the many of you not familiar with the Revelations, it’s a canonical game – though not quite numbered – that’s set between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5. Series Stalwart Chris Redfield and his new partner Jessica Sherawat have gone missing, and it’s up to you to find him.

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You’ll play as a number of old, familiar characters – as well as some new ones. In one of the game’s smaller, more focused bite-sized episodes (it was originally a handheld game, remember), you’ll play as Jill Valentine, the master of lockpicking, and her new furry partner Parker Luciani are sent to locate Chris at his last know whereabouts – somewhere on a cruise ship called the SS Queen Zenobia.

Of course, that ships inhabitants are infected with a strain of the mutating T-virus, and you’ll spend a lot of time putting bullets in to heads, finding your way through the ship and collecting all manner of parts to customise your guns. In other episodes, you’ll play as different characters from within the Resident Evil universe, doing much the same thing in different locales. Yes, there’s still co-op (in RAID mode), and an awful lot of shooting – but the biggest difference here is that there’s largely a genuine sense of urgency and atmosphere, with a wonderful sense of pacing.

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If you’ve already played Revelations, this new port is slightly different to the original game; refining the addictive Raid Mode, a new take on the game’s story levels – played solo or online-co-op –  that adds an arcade-styled scoring, new enemy placements  and the opportunity to do it all again with new characters, and new guns. Plus, fan-favourite Hunk is playable in Raid mode.  There are also a few new enemy types – so there’s a distinct possibility of being frightened all over again. There’s even a new difficulty level, Infernal mode, replacing the 3DS version’s Hell mode as the best path to ammo-less frustration. Infernal mode adds a dash of randomization to Revelations – so enemy placement, equipment, and ammo pickups are different, each and every time you play.

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Textures within the game have been upscaled and redone to look nice on bigger screens – and it’s largely quite impressive, running at a silky-smooth framerate – but on the odd occasion, some elements that probably weren’t deemed worthy of upscaling show up, making the whole thing look less impressive than it should. It also, curiously, doesn’t offer the option to play in 3D; a bizarre move considering the stereoscopic work was all done for the 3DS game.

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The controls have also been given an update, removing all of the touch-screen nonsense in favour of more traditional imput.

Still, if you’re struggling to get the bitter taste of Resident Evil 6 out of your mouth, Revelations should do just that, offering a purer, golden-age Resident Evil experience, without sacrificing any of the more modern sensibilities the franchise has seen.

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It is, quite simply, the best Resident Evil game in years – and it’s fantastic that more people will get to experience it.  Best of all, it’ll be coming in at a reduced, budget-minded price – so for once, it’ll be hard to accuse Capcom of simply trying to cash in.

It’s coming to PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U & Xbox 360 on May 24.

Last Updated: April 15, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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