Resident Evil: Revelations Review

Horror games — not survival horror games, just horror games in general — are supposed to terrify us. They’re supposed to put us in situations we’d rather not be in. They’re supposed to make us afraid of homes, hallways, closed doors, or a series of windows along the side of a room. Survival horror games take elements of that recipe and throw in moments of strategy and fear. Bullets. Wounds. Unexplored areas. Inventories. These are what challenge us to survive. Seems like Resident Evil: Revelations forgot about those things.

The game focuses on Jill Valentine and her partner Parker Luciani, a rounded Italian man who (thankfully) doesn’t make any reference to other popular Italian characters, like other games have done in the past. (Assassin’s Creed II, you know what I’m talking about.) The environment this time around is an abandoned ship called the Queen Zenobia, which has been set adrift and needs to be investigated. The plot involves the establishment of the Bioterrorism Assessment Alliance (BSAA), filling in the gaps between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. All of this leaves no taste. It leaves little at all.

Resident Evil: RevelationsUnlike it’s bigger, glitzier, older brother, Resident Evil 6Revelations suffers from uninteresting character moments and settings. While RE 6 was marred by wonky controls, an unsure plot dancing the line between horror and action, and a lack of anything remotely scary, at least it had a sense of urgency. In Revelations, I felt like I was walking through a museum, casually browsing artifacts and reading inscriptions. At times during my measured tour, undead, grayed enemies would slop onto the floor in front of me. Their puffy frames would form up, their feet shuffling toward me. This is not terrifying.

My character, still wondering from which century the tapestry hanging so elegantly on wall originates, would raise her small pistol, filled with a few rounds, and fire an indeterminate amount of ammo at the advancing grey blob. When the ammo would run out and the blob failed to notice the clip of bullets buried in its bloated chest cavity, my character would sigh with banality. “Great, now I have to move,” she’d think. And her weightless feet would move her weightless body effortlessly past the gray creature, whose excitement in being able to move forward prevented it from remembering how to pivot and chase. Now my character may come across another gray blob enemy, or perhaps a herd of them, like a collection of soggy fries from a fast food store, just kinda standing around; just kinda staring. And perhaps my character would get hit by one of their flimsy limbs. And perhaps she’d get hurt. But before long, she’d find an herb tucked away in this grand museum. She’d use it, and viola, no more hurt.

TResident Evil: Revelationshe absence of threat in Revelations is like walking through a city on a slow day and trying to avoid people handing out promotional flyers. Not only does it diminish the game to a winded bore, it keeps the player from the intended, true gameplay. It’s sterile. It’s clean. Revelations tries to stack the odds against you with limited ammo reserves and enemies that appear to take no damage. There’s an illusion of horror pervading it the entire time, but it never grabs the player. It merely jumps out and yells “BOO!” before giggling and running away, waiting for the next opportunity to yell “BOO!” and giggle again. There’s no atmosphere. It’s soulless.

In the series’ older installments, I feared for my characters during the low points. They’d scramble through corridors, hunched over, low on supplies… dying. Now, Jill is a husk. Her movements are stiff, unaffected. This goes for the rest of the cast, too — Chris Redfield, Crazy headgear Quint, and Angelina Jolie’s Leg from the 2012 Oscars. All of them do little to create a sense of fear. Even in Dead Space 3, which is arguably the least terrifying Dead Space game in the franchise, Isaac was at least vulnerable. Granted, it was behind his steampunk engineering kit of death tools, but it was still there. And he still felt human. His movements and his awkwardness worked to establish a sense of self in the game. You understood how Isaac would react and how he would endure attacks, and that’s frightening because you know his limits. You know he’s mortal.

Revelations lacks that sense of identity and connection. This is probably but not justifiably due to it being a port from the 3DS, where it received decent reviews. But on the PS3, with a bigger screen and more room to fill, it feels drafty. It feels like a port. RE 6 knew what kind of game it wanted to be from the moment it made me play through a vehicle chase; it just confusingly sprinkled the horror on top (which really hurt the plot). Revelations gives you an eerie environment. It gives you morbid creatures. It limits your supply. But it doesn’t amount to anything. It just is. And when a game is nothing but the sum of its segmented parts, it buckles under its lack of stability.


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Author: Greg Galiffa View all posts by
Greg Galiffa is an Associate Editor at GamerNode. He's also an apologist for the first TMNT film. You can follow him on Twitter @greggaliffa

One Comment on "Resident Evil: Revelations Review"

  1. Mat Paget July 6, 2013 at 11:17 pm -

    Resident Evil: Revelations’ demise was the lack of Finn.

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