Revelations is set in the time period between Resident Evil 4 and 5 and expands on the role of the recently formed BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance), first introduced in RE5. For those who missed RE5, the BSAA is an organization co-founded by the original Resident Evil protagonists Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. The purpose of the BSAA is to locate bio-terrorism threats and eliminate them with whatever force is necessary.
The opening scene does a great job of creating atmosphere. Jill and Parker board the Queen Zenobia as the rain comes bucketing down, and of course all the lights are out. Jill has her flashlight with her, but it provides only enough light to make every shadow look like it hides an enemy. Once inside the ship you catch the odd glimpse of an enemy as it disappears around a corner, or see some gelatinous goo pouting out of an air-conditioning duct.
Unfortunately the dramatic atmosphere evaporates as soon as you see your first enemy - a lumbering, clumsy, human-shaped figure that shuffles along waiting for you to pump it full of lead. Itís a jarring moment, and one the game never truly recovers from. It speaks of the clichťs yet to come and a series rooted in its distant past.
The shooting controls in Revelations have been jazzed up a little so you can now move while shooting (welcome to the year 2000 Capcom!), and the rest of the controls play like a standard shooter making it easy to pick up and play. There are a lot of weapons in the game including handguns, shotguns, rifles, a rocket launcher and a wide array of grenades. You can find modifications for your weapons laying about the place, but you can only equip them at work-benches.
For most of the game youíll have your partner by your side. They shoot at enemies but do little damage, and the enemies themselves will focus on you. Ammunition and healing items are scarce but you can find more by scanning environments with your all-new Genesis tool. You use the Genesis tool by holding down L2, and then scan any objects with R1.
At the end of the chapter youíre given an overall grade based on your shooting accuracy and number of deaths. Along with the rating youíre given some BP which is used in the multiplayer mode, Raid. Raid is like a fast-paced version of campaign, giving you small areas (lifted from the campaign) to explore, and filling it with enemies for you to kill. You earn XP for completing missions and killing enemies (you get to keep this XP even if you die in the level) and will gradually level up.
Leveling up is important because it gives you access to stronger weapons. There are a ton of weapons to find and customize in Raid mode, much more than in the campaign. In between levels you can use your BP to buy weapons, ammunition and other supplies.
Resident Evil Revelations has a few other problems too. Exploring the Queen Zenobia is relatively straightforward, but the similar-looking interiors make it hard to remember the exact layout. This is further hampered by a three-dimensional map that doesnít accurately show how to get from one location to another. Another issue is that scanning with the Genesis tool is as tedious as it is necessary. Also, the dodge controls (done by pressing up or down on the left-analog at the same time as pressing Ďxí) are iffy at best. All too often the controls failed me and my character stood still instead of dodging. It would have been better if they mapped dodge to a single-button.
Revelations also has the problem where fast-moving enemies (there are a few) move too fast for you to track them (i.e. the camera doesnít pan as fast as enemies move), while slow moving enemies can be picked off at will. As a result combat moves from annoying to dull depending on which enemy youíre facing.
The music, which features a surprising amount of piano and synthesizer, does a fair job of building atmosphere. The voice-acting isnít too bad, but the script does them no favours. The story is slow to develop, mainly because there are so many cut-scenes in the game, but despite the title, few Ďrevelationsí. A lot of the characters lack any real personality, and the actors donít really inject any.
Resident Evil Revelations is not a bad game, but neither is it particularly good. It fails to build any atmosphere outside of the first few minutes, and the shooting sections arenít strong enough to carry the game. Scanning gets boring quickly, and the Raid lobbies arenít populated enough to keep you coming back for long. Basically Revelations is a game that wouldnít feel out of place back in 1996, but in 2013 it feels quite dated. Itís not the game to rebuild the franchiseís name then, and itís hard to recommend this to anyone outside of hardcore Resident Evil fans.
Review By: Dave Warner