Resident Evil: Revelations is a decent game, but not the return to the series’ roots many Resident Evil fans were hoping for.
I’m one of the people who prefer the old style of Resident Evil. When Revelations was announced, I wanted to believe Capcom’s promises that it would be a return to the old, pre-RE4 survival horror gameplay.
They released a demo. I solved a puzzle to escape a room, struggled past dangerous enemies without weapons, and passed locked doors marked with a variety of emblems. The demo convinced me. This was it.
Sadly, it wasn’t.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say the demo misrepresents the game, but Revelations feels like Capcom really wanted to make a traditional survival horror game again then chickened out for fear of low sales. Despite the doors, there’s no recursive unlocking. Locked doors either lead straight to your next plot objective, or contain herbs/ammo. There’s only one real type of puzzle, and it never gets very challenging. And despite your vulnerability in the demo, you’re almost always armed in the game.
To make matters worse, the game is split into episodes. Not only does this break your immersion, since you play the game in separated segments rather than exploring freely, but the horror episodes alternate with action episodes.
That’s right, there are outright action sequences, often featuring other characters, added in so you won’t have to play the horror sections without a break. This kills the pacing more often than not, because just as you’re sinking into the ship’s creepy atmosphereâ€¦ you’re yanked out of it to shoot things as Chris.
To its credit, the ship does have a good atmosphere. Some sections, such as the boss battle against the Comms Officer, are genuinely scary. I also really liked the scanner. You can scan the room to find secrets, and also scan enemies to obtain data on them and earn yourself an herb. Trying to scan a dangerous enemy while it attacked me was exciting and added a level of risk.
A small degree of exploration is also possible on the ship, although the auto-save system sometimes penalizes exploring. (If you wander off away from your plot objective, you won’t get to save no matter how far you go.)
The story is confusing, even for a Resident Evil game. The new characters also feel rather unimportant, as if they were mainly added just to give you an AI partner most of the time. Then there are Quint and Keith, who were so annoying, other reviews specifically cited them as a reason to dock points.
Overall, Resident Evil: Revelations saddens me because of its missed potential. It’s a step in the right direction, closer to the traditional style than even RE4. If the game focused on the ship, without being split into episodes, and made a few changes to the gameplay structure, it could have been the return to form Capcom promised. As it is, Revelations is a fun game if you want a third-person shooter with some scary moments, but it isn’t really survival horror.