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[Review] Resident Evil Revelations (3DS)

As powerful as handhelds have become over the years, they have been unable to recreate the console experience for some of the more complex games. In particular, the Resident Evil series has never received a proper port, with only a few random mobile games under its belt. Now, with the 3DS and Resident Evil Revelations, it seems as though the series will actually be done justice.

The series’ first portable outing stars Chris and Jill on one of their BSAA missions. With Chris lost at sea, Jill is sent out on a mission to find her longtime partner. In the midst of it all she finds herself in trouble as the ship is nothing but an ambush. Soon, the two and their respective partners find themselves in the middle of another plot to spread a possibly apocalyptic virus.

Graphically, players are presented with one of the most beautiful games on the 3DS yet. No matter the environment, whether it be the dark interiors of a ship or desolate, snowy mountains, the creators have imbued the game with a constant tone of horror and desperation. During the occasional load point, players will notice the game struggling and skipping as it loads, but it never hurts the actual gameplay.

From the get-go, players’ experience with the system will differ vastly based on whether or not they own the Circle Pad Pro add-on. Without it, characters control like a tank that is reminiscent of older titles in the series all the way up to Resident Evil 3. Even the slowest enemies can seem like a hurdle with this control scheme. With the optional accessory, the game becomes a dream to play, allowing characters to move with fluidity that can actually keep up with the game’s various enemies. Characters can even run and gun, a function that was glaringly left out of Resident Evil 5. This divide is discomforting; though differing experiences is expected when radical new accessories come out, its absence shouldn’t cripple the game’s experience.

With the powerful portable’s potential, Revelation’s levels are large enough to support some intense boss fights. Players will find themselves navigating jumping through windows and down from balconies in order to avoid a potential instant death. Players can employ different battle strategies against the regular enemies, even. If players want, they can cripple B.O.W.s first or even stun them and run in for a melee attack. Unlike other Resident Evil games, the designs are uninspired, looking like little more than generic mutants with sharp body parts attached. Old school Resident Evil players who are looking for more of the survival horror atmosphere to this game will find it here still; when enemies are around, there’s plenty of shooting, but the game always resets to an eerie silence that will have players paranoid till the next encounter.

In addition to the campaign mode, an alternate raid mode provides a slew of missions that can be played independently or cooperatively local or online. Like the series’ trademark Mercenaries mode, characters have individual traits, making character selection more than just an aesthetic issue. However, missions end when players reach and destroy a special emblem, barring this from giving the same adrenaline rush as the survival type gameplay in Mercenary levels. It really just felt like a cop out for Capcom to include a separate set of missions for cooperative play rather than to include multiplayer support in the campaign and throw in a proper Mercenaries mode. Short of that, this does provide an adequate multiplayer mode to inject more playtime into the game.

With the Circle Pad Pro add-on, the game provides one of the most exciting Resident Evil experiences yet that rivals even the console games. However, the technical limitations set forth by the 3DS’s button scheme reserves that fun only for those willing to shell out for the accessory. Its return to some of the series’ roots rather than a focus on action segments is sure to woo some of the fanbase back. This is a great Resident Evil game to add to any collection – portable or not.

Available on: 3DS; Publisher: Capcom; Developer: Capcom/Tose; Players: 1 – 2; Released: February 7, 2012; ESRB: Mature; MSRP: $39.99; Official Site

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