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Published on March 3rd, 2015 | by Chris Scott

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Revealing that Resident Evil Can Still Be Good

As a long time fan of Resident Evil, the last generation of consoles was not kind to the series. Resident Evil 5 was OK, but continued to stray even farther from what the series was built on, moving towards a more shooter focused base. And then there was Resident Evil 6, a complete disaster of a game, that seemed to forget everything that made Resident Evil fun to start with. Capcom’s decisions with Resident Evil pointed to a company that didn’t know what to do with one of its marquee franchises. But then Resident Evil: Revelations came out on the Nintendo 3DS and there was a glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe Capcom hadn’t completely lost their way with Resident Evil.

Everything about Resident Evil: Revelations seemed to be just what I wanted out of a Resident Evil game. Creepy claustrophobic setting, exploration and puzzle solving, and the corniest dialog going in games. It was nearly perfect. Well, except for the fact that playing it on the 3DS was a tedious experience because controlling the game with the one circle pad and the stylus was like driving a garbage truck without tires. And because of this, I stopped playing about a third of the way through. With that my hopes for Resident Evil banished to the void.

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With the release of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, it seemed to make sense to finally go back and wrap up its predecessor. But this time I’d play the Xbox 360 port of the game, which boasted improved controls and up-resed visuals. And I’m glad I did because Revelations proves that someone at Capcom still understands what made Resident Evil great to begin with.

Taking place in between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5, Revelations follows the adventures of Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield as they investigate a bio-terrorism outfit called Veltro. The game is presented like a season of television with 12 episodes, each taking between 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Players will jump between playing as Jill and her partner on an abandoned cruise ship investigating a potential outbreak, and Chris and his partner exploring other leads on the same case. Eventually the two storylines converge in proper ridiculous Resident Evil fashion.

The story is perfectly absurd B movie horror, with twists and turns that make zero sense, but somehow feel just right. And it is filled with all the corny dialog one could want out of a Resident Evil game. But the story and its presentation are only a part of what makes Revelations work so well as a Resident Evil game.

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Revelations, while keeping the strong combat focus of more modern Resident Evil games, also sees a return of atmosphere and exploration, two things sorely lacking from Resident Evil 5 and 6. Exploring the cruise ship Queen Zenobia, is a tense affair. Hallways are tight and cramped and this helped keep me on edge, something I haven’t been in a Resident Evil game since before 4. And even better is the fact that it allows the tension to build. There are plenty of enemy encounters but they are well positioned and allow the game to enhance the tension, rather than rely on constant encounters to build it. By doing so, the game feels more horrific as you never know what is going to be around the next corner. It is something that the original Resident Evil did so well, and it is wonderful to see it return properly in Revelations. And control on the console versions of the game is still more clunky than other third person shooters, but it is finally acceptable instead of a hindrance to enjoyment.

The best part of the game though might be the episodic nature of the levels. By clearly segmenting the episodes off, it allowed me to play the game in short bursts of one or two episodes a night and get just the right fill before shutting it down and moving on to something else. Because of this, I’m very happy that Capcom has chosen an episodic release structure for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 and if done on the same level as the first Revelations, it should be something special and a real treat for Resident Evil fans. It might be just the shot in the arm the franchise needs, that and HD remakes of Resident Evil 0, 2 and 3: Nemesis. Because I want them too.

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