Resident Evil: Revelations – Xbox 360
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Genre: Action, Adventure
Reviewed by Arend Hart

Review Score: 3 of 5

It is no secret that Capcom cause a bit of heartache for their survival horror fans with last fall’s release of Resident Evil 6. Possibly the most polarizing of all of the Resident Evil games to date, Resident Evil 6 just could not seem to find its place with the legions of die-hard console fans, many of whom were already soured over the near-catastrophic Resident Evil: Raccoon City released in the spring of that same year.

But, in an almost absurd turn of events, at the precise time that console gamers were seeing the worst the series had to offer, the handheld gamers – namely Nintendo 3DS owners – were treated to what would be widely heralded as the best Resident Evil game to come along since the Resident Evil 4. That game – Resident Evil: Revelations – made fantastic use of the 3DS’s touch-based controls and Circle Pad input to deliver one of the most immersive, console-friendly gaming experiences yet seen on a handheld device.

Given Capcom’s need to return the classic Resident Evil series to fan favor, the company has made an almost unheard-of decision to upscale the wildly successful 3DS Resident Evil: Revelations game to work on high definition consoles. And while their efforts to convert the dual-screen touch-enabled input to the console controllers does not come without its own share of issues, Capcom for the most part has a winner on its hands.

Most of the Resident Evil: Revelations story revolves around franchise heroes Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, as the two explore the dank corridors dark cabins of the stranded ocean liner the Queen Zenobia that has been taken over by mutants. The events bounce around a bit from scenes in the present day to scenes from the past, some at sea and some on land, but for the most part the overall gameplay remains unaffected.

As with any Resident Evil game, ammunition is of utmost importance with each enemy encounter tasking gamers with the brooding decision to flee or fight. Fight, and the gamer could easily exhaust ammunition needed for the next, likely tougher, encounter – flee, and you might miss an important part of the story. The decision is tough, but getting stuck without ammunition is fatal, so gamers need to be efficient and effective.

Being effective also means making proper use of the game’s Genesis scanner – a camera-like device that has been assigned to the team to scan objects and enemies to help maintain the agency’s database. The upside is that the scanner helps determine enemy weaknesses and awards health items to the team – the downside is that scanning is performed real-time, so there is no pausing of the action while Jill lines up her shot. This is made all the more challenging by the controls, which are by all means workable, just not as accurate as they should be. This really does not come as a surprise given the fact that the game was ported from the 3DS’s hybrid touch and Circle Pad system – but it is a shame that the game’s clunky mechanics hinder the experience more than they should.

There is little doubt that the gameplay was based around the handheld experience – with everything broken up into short bite-sized segments, the game seems a tad out of place on the long-playing consoles. Still, the story is enough to keep gamers entertained for 5 or 6 hours, and when the story has been completed Capcom has added additional Hoard-style “Raid” mode for both single player and cooperative online play (no co-op campaign, sadly).

In terms of presentation, Revelations is a mixed bag. The voice acting is superb as always, and the eerie audio effects are enough to weaken even the sturdiest Resident Evil veterans’ knees as creatures rattle the ductwork and slam doors of the slowly listing ship. On the flipside, Revelations looks a bit flat and blocky on a large high definition screen, which should come as no surprise given the game’s small-screen origins. It really is surprising how dated the game looks with its blobby textures and jaggy edges – visuals that might have been on par for the final days of the original Xbox, but not the Xbox 360. By no means do these lackluster graphics affect the gameplay, but having just come off all of the E3 premieres for the upcoming current-gen games the thought shelling out $50 for a game that looks like it is eight years old is a bit of a hard sell.

And that is really the only major issue I have with Resident Evil: Revelations – the cost. At $50, Revelations is only $10 less than a major console release, yet it is a game that has been ported from the 3DS, is based around short and fast handheld gameplay, and looks like it belongs on a last-gen system. Revelations would be better suited listing for a third of the price on Xbox Live Arcade – the place where I recently reviewed Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, a game which offered everything Revelations does and more (and frankly, better) for only $15.

All said, Resident Evil: Revelations is a great addition to the series, and definitely shows why this 3DS handheld version outdid the big-budget Resident Evil 6. But even with some crafty up-scaling, Revelations is just a port of a 3DS game and asking $50 is really pushing matters.