Resident Evil: Revelations – PC
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Genre: Action, Adventure, Survival Horror
Reviewed by Mark Smith

Review Score: 3.5 of 5

The Resident Evil franchise has been evolving, mutating if you will, much like the T-Virus that spawned this zombie-inspired series of video games and movies. Capcom is continually tweaking the formula, trying to breathe new life into the aging franchise, and while some of their efforts have been more miss than hit, no one could argue that they created something wholly unique with Resident Evil: Revelations when it released on the Nintendo 3DS in February 2012, but how does that game hold up on the big screen a year later?

Resident Evil returns to its survival horror roots with a brand new storyline and a new level of tension and intrigue. A brand new setting delivers a more intriguing and tension-filled gameplay experience than any Resident Evil to date, but graphics that were designed for thumbnail sized screens sadly don’t hold up to the scrutiny of expectant PC gamers who have grown accustomed to near photo-realism in their games. Plus, much of the charm of Revelations admittedly lurked in the 3D depths of the visuals and the augmented reality of its first-person camera controls.

The Revelations story slips into the timeline somewhere between the events of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, unveiling new adventures for Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. Jill and her new partner, Parker Luciani, have been sent on board a supposedly abandoned cruise ship in the Mediterranean, to search for Chris Redfield, based on his last known GPS coordinates. The ship hides danger around every corner as Jill and Parker explore the confined space of the ship and must face a menacing new horror that emerges from the darkness.

Adding a new unique horror setting to the series, Resident Evil: Revelations gives players the chance to venture underwater as they try to escape the terrifying creatures that are roaming the ship. But even the water isn’t safe as the creatures continue to attack from the depths while Jill and Parker make a desperate bid to make it off the ship alive.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Resident Evil has always challenged its fans with problematic controls. Things were starting to look up in Resident Evil 5, but Revelations returns to the dated tank-like controls of the earlier games, and pretty much required the purchase of a Circle Pad Pro to be played effectively on the handheld. I was hoping they would revamp the controls for the PC but alas, the Xbox 360 controller is surprisingly sluggish and jerky. The keyboard and mouse controls are fantastic and offer the best method of input, but in my particular PC/HDTV home theater gaming system keyboard/mouse gaming is impractical, so I was forced to deal with the gamepad issues.

Revelations is still regarded as one of the best 3D games ever released on the 3DS, but the designers must have never intended for this to go to the big screen as the original art assets are ill-prepared for HD. Textures are flat and grainy and there are loads of jaggy edges, and even though my PC is a bazillion times more powerful than my 3DS there are numerous framerate issues and unexplained pop-up.

The sound design is a masterful blend of suspenseful score juxtaposed against perfectly timed moments of silence that have you straining to hear the subtle groans of the ship or the distance shuffling of a zombie, the howl of wind or splash of rain. The audio mix was impeccable on the 3DS and it’s only better, scarier, and more intense on big speakers or a home theater system.

Revelations is divided into numerous chapters, perfectly sized for mobile gaming consumption, so things move by at a seemingly accelerated pace when played on the PC. While most of the game takes place on the ship in present time you will flashback to other times, other characters, and other events as you experience a puzzling 10-12 hour adventure worthy of a console release. You’ll usually have the help of a computer-controlled companion that will help thin the zombie menace or at least distract them long enough so you can kill them, and unlike RE5, this time they won’t be looting all your ammo and herbs leaving you to die.

The solo experience of the 3DS has been improved on the PC to include the much-appreciated co-op mode, which only makes sense considering you almost always have a partner nearby. Raid Mode is back and improved on the PC with new skill sets, enemies, and characters allowing two players can link hook up and explore the environments from the story mode, killing zombies as they try to clear the levels and reach the exit. Players will earn points that can be redeemed for items and weapons, and you can check your stats using the service.

Resident Evil: Revelations remains one of my all-time favorite 3DS games and it could have been a contender on the PC if only Capcom had some better source material to support the bigger screen and increased expectations of its fans. The game is still plenty scary, but the loss of the 3D effect, the gyroscopic movement controls, and dated visuals all scream budget title and rushed port. If you want to experience this excellent game on something larger than the 3DS then I would highly recommend the Wii U version.