Resident Evil: Revelations • Page 2

Homecoming.

The panicked fire-fight that follows shows that, while Revelations is trying to evoke the spirit of the original, it's taken the right cues from Resident Evil 4 and all that followed in its wake. With the third-person camera switching to a first-person view once the gun is wielded - and dynamically switching back out when the fighting gets too intimate and a melee is in order - there's sturdiness to the combat, though it retains some of the awkward edges that lend a sense of vulnerability that's been missing from Resident Evil games of late.

Canny monster design plays to this. The enemies in Revelations aren't the shambling undead of old, and nor are they the mob threat of either Los Ganados or Majini. Instead they're a mutated mass of liquid and tissue, water-based Bio-Organic Weapons that pose a much greater threat than the cannon fodder of previous games. They're visually similar to Resident Evil 4's Regenerators, and they're just as tough to take down.

Ludicrously tight ammo supply doesn't help, and it's common to leave an encounter with empty chambers. It does contribute to the fear factor, though; every bullet is made to count, and even with the introduction of a shotgun and hand grenades later in the demo, the balance is kept tipped away from the player.

Pacing and atmosphere, the two pillars of survival horror, are also present in abundance. Exploration plays as much as part as evisceration, a factor that's helped along by the introduction of a scanner. It's a tool that's been lifted wholesale from Metroid Prime, though there's no denying it finds a snug new home in Revelations. Used by switching to a first-person view, rooms can be combed for clues, and precious hidden ammo revealed.

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Parker Luciani, proving that slightly overweight bearded men can make it in games after all.

Atmosphere's delivered by some of the most handsome visuals seen on Nintendo's handheld outside of first-party efforts, a trimmed down version of Capcom's MT Framework engine allowing Revelations to fly as close to its console partners as you could hope for. Jill herself is a generous model - and Capcom has been more giving in some areas than others - but it's the location that's the real star.

The eccentric contrasts of the game's location are exploited well; cast iron walkways and stairwells blossom into regal corridors and, in one show-stopping moment, a lavish dining hall is smothered in a thick sea fog.

It's an atmosphere that's only occasionally pierced when someone's mouth opens. Resident Evil's soupy dialogue hasn't been watered down, and in the new character of Parker Luciani, Jill's endearingly chubby partner, it's found a new master of its own bizarre craft. His speech comes in a garbled voice that's placed somewhere between central Europe and a Carry On film.

But that's all part of the charm of Resident Evil, a series that's often delivered its scares with a sideways smirk. With the series shifting dangerously close to shooter banality elsewhere, it's pleasing to see that Capcom's not forgotten what made the game's haunted house formula once tick, and Revelations proves that there's no place like home.

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