HD visuals; strong gameplay; unique setting; strong use of Wii U features
Odd loading points; annoying partner characters
I love zombies. While that may not sound like an uncommon opinion these days, I assure you, I’ve been on the zombie train for quite some time (not to be confused with the actual zombie train from Resident Evil Zero). I watched Night of the Living Dead before I was 5. I own the entire Resident Evil series on GameCube, including all the ports. Heck, I’m even writing a zombie comic book series. So, needless to say, I’m a zombie fan. But, after being disappointed with Resident Evil 5 on PS3, I decided to skip Resident Evil 6. My love of the series, it seemed, had started to diminish. Luckily, Resident Evil: Revelations has shown me that the series might still have some gas left in the tank.
The game starts with Jill Valentine and her new partner Parker Luciani investigating the Queen Zenobia, a cruise ship swarming with BOWs. Unlike previous RE titles, the game is broken up into chapters, the majority of which take place on the ship. However, the narrative shifts on some occasions to highlight different characters. These bits, while brief, are a nice change of pace. After spending an hour in a claustrophobic ship as Jill, it’s nice to spend 15 minutes in the mountains as Chris Redfield.
That little bit of variety in the game does go a long way. While the core of the game is classic Resident Evil, there are still some newer elements from the series that help to break away from the usual survival horror elements. There are a couple sequences where your character will even find themselves having to swim for survival. Fitting, considering the game’s location.
Resident Evil: Revelations‘ roots as a 3DS game can still be seen in a few different ways. Capcom clearly added elements to the traditional Resident Evil formula to make it easier to play on the go. The game’s episodic nature and autosave feature both spring to mind. Revelations also offers a story recap segment every time you boot up the game. These elements helped to make the game more suitable for handheld play, but I was more than happy to see them here, and the game still feels well suited to the Wii U. That’s probably because the game’s scale never seems small. The battle with the boat’s communication officer is massive, daunting, and resulted in quite a few deaths. While the 3DS version was very well received, I couldn’t even imagine dealing with this battle on a much smaller screen.
One thing I was pleased to see is that the graphics don’t feel like they originated from a handheld. Revelations looks great in HD, especially on a big screen. The monsters and environments occasionally seem like they could use a little more in the detail department, but otherwise, Revelations is one of the better looking games I’ve seen on Wii U so far.
The game also makes strong use of the Wii U’s unique features. The GamePad is well used and makes switching between weapons very easy. Miiverse also gets used effectively. When you die, you can post a Miiverse Death Message, and it’s displayed when other people die at a similar point. Since I had a few deaths during the communication officer battle, I got to see how other gamers reacted. It’s pretty cool to see that some other gamers struggled with the same areas that I did. It’s a small detail, but it adds a little bit to the experience. And, if you’re worried about people posting spoilers, the game asks if you want them hidden when you first start the game.
That isn’t to say Revelations isn’t without some flaws, however. One particularly frustrating element is the game’s load times. Normally, they aren’t an issue and things flow quickly and without any problems. Except in two particular instances: on elevators and when opening a door with a ship’s steering wheel. The load times in these circumstances always stood out to me because of how much longer they were than on any other occasion.
Another issue I had with Revelations was the complete uselessness of the partner characters. They do contribute to the story, but they serve little to no purpose in the actual gameplay. While Parker was able to successfully shoot multiple enemies throughout the game, I never once saw him actually kill one. In fact, at one point, I died several times because he actually did the opposite, and stood in my way when I was trying to shoot an enemy. While your partner can’t die (which is a big help considering what a pain this was in Resident Evil 5), he was the most literal definition of useless throughout the game. Capcom still needs to find the sweet spot when it comes to these characters. And it certainly doesn’t help that the game has a few other annoying characters, as well.
Resident Evil: Revelations has a few flaws, but it really is the best game in the series since Resident Evil 4. The balance between action and puzzle solving is strong, the story and setting are pretty unique for the franchise (not counting the Game Boy title Resident Evil: Gaiden) and it looks great in HD. But the most important thing is that the game is just plain fun. If you’re a Resident Evil fan and you haven’t already experienced this on the 3DS, you should make it a priority to check it out on Wii U.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.