A revelation of a portable action adventure

19May12

Resident Evil Revelations on 3DS

Having not played a proper Resident Evil title since the fourth installment on the Gamecube I am clearly long overdue a fright or two. I really enjoyed Dead Space, another survival horror party that I was very late to, when Steam served that up for a rivet last year. It didn’t just plonk me into a space suit and rip off all that had made RE and Silent Hill such engaging games. It had an ensemble cast, some captivating voice acting and a faceless reluctant hero who appealed to the Hong Kong Fooey fan in me. He hadn’t particularly asked to clean up this mess but he was going to.
I think I was immediately at home because it borrowed so heavily from the best bits of RE4, camera placing, inventive weapons and upgrades, and a visual style which represented a kind of hyper reality where things are immediately familiar but at the same time larger than life.
With this back story I come to RE Revelations on the 3DS and in short I love it. I’m four hours in and what I appreciate the most is the way that it has been thoughtfully grafted onto this particular system. The circle pad add on is a must. I picked up a pad on a recent trip to Japan and it’s been worth every penny. I can’t imagine controlling it any other way. I also really appreciate the length of each segment. Rather than start an adventure by introducing us to the character(s) we’ll play as for the duration of the game RER instead has a series of narratives all connected and moving together over the course of the game. This works nicely in conjunction with the soap opera style “Previously… On Resident Evil …” opening to each chapter and lends itself to the portable platform. You play for an hour. You put it down and come back later to be reminded of where you are and what got you there. It’s a clever idea that I’m finding keeps me invested in the story and I’m really tickled by it. Am I the first person to say they’ve been tickled by a RE game? I hope so :)
It’s also a rich visual treat. The 3D isn’t abused and the locations and puzzles designed to draw me in but show me a light at the end of every tunnel which is helping to pull me along. It makes me excited to pick up the MGS remakes for the PS Vita but I fear that their visual fidelity will feel lacking next to this.
In short if you have a 3DS you should grab this as I’m really looking forward to spending more time in the company of these messed up monster hunters. I just wish that someone would help with the writing in English. I accept that RE has a style. These games are like a favorite band. You don’t want anyone to mess with the formula. That said the massively simplified human interactions could be made slightly more realistic and we might just gain a little more investment in our avatars and their fate.
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