Resident Evil Revelations Review — Diminishing Returns (PS4)
Originally released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012, Resident Evil Revelations (née Revelaitons) was a return to form for Capcom’s survival horror series. In contrast to the action-oriented Resident Evil 6, Revelations focused more on horror and ammo conservation. It was a perfect way for Capcom to serve both audiences, and in the years since it has been ported to a wide array of consoles. Now it’s received another round of ports, with it landing on PlayStation 4 for the first time.
The meat and potatoes of the experience can be found in Revelations‘ campaign. Despite featuring a sort of strange episodic structure, this is a full-length Resident Evil game that stars Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield as they explore a supposedly abandoned cruise ship called the Queen Zenobia. It’s very much in the style of classic RE, as players will be scrounging for ammo, and taking on some ooze-filled enemies.
Most of the action will feel familiar to players (especially those that have played previous incarnations of the game), but it does feature a pretty cool Metroid Prime-style scanning device. This is especially helpful on higher difficulties as it can find ammo that is otherwise hidden, and players can gain health items for scanning enough enemies. I’m not even sure the pseudo-science of the series can explain how that happens, but nonetheless it’s a cool mechanic that helps separate it from the many survival horror games on PS4.
The Age Game
The PlayStation 4 port has been advertised as “the best-looking version of the game to date” and that’s definitely true. From a graphical standpoint it’s shocking how much the 3DS title has been able to hold up at a 1080p resolution. That said, players will definitely notice that this wasn’t designed to be on a PS4 at first. Some textures look rough, and there are enough low-quality models that pop up throughout that it ends up detracting from the experience as a whole.
While the graphics are generally solid (and occasionally underwhelming), I only have praise for Revelations’ audio design. Despite never making me squirm in my seat like Resident Evil 7 did, the excellent ambient noise always put me on edge. It may be five years old, but it still manages to pack a punch as far as a horror game.
The biggest change I noticed was that I couldn’t aim my gun for the life of me. Clunky controls aren’t new to the survival horror genre (trust me, they’re well acquainted), but Revelations handled great on the 3DS (at least as one of the five people who owned a Circle Pad Pro). There’s something about the way it handles with an analog stick that felt arbitrarily stiff to me, and it made me waste a lot of ammo while fighting off the gross creatures. I got used to it over time (and had to play at a slower pace to really line up my shots), but it definitely had an impact on my enjoyment.
Beyond the campaign, Resident Evil Revelations also features a Raid mode that allows players to replay through levels of the campaign. It’s not a straight shot, though, as there are multiple new characters to use, remixed enemy layouts, and a progression system unique to the mode. Those who dig the action side of RE will definitely want to hop online and devise strategies with another player. I don’t quite like it as much as the Mercenaries mode in past games, but it’s a fun way to spend some nights with a buddy.
Raid mode is also the home of the biggest content addition to the game which is a new level called The Ghost Ship: Chaos. Unfortunately, the added content isn’t unlocked from the get go, so even if you’ve played through Raid mode before you’ll have to do it again to see the new stage. It’s a cool bonus, but one that most players won’t see. Additionally, the game features four separate controller schemes (yet no button remapping), so if you want to use tank controls in Revelations then knock yourself out. No, seriously. Knock yourself out since you’re clearly a masochist.
My hang-ups with the aiming aside, the PlayStation 4 version of Resident Evil Revelations is the best version of the survival horror outing. The problem is that it’s 2017. It’s been over five years since Revelations (or I guess it was technically “Revelaitons” then) released on Nintendo 3DS, and what was once a technical marvel is an outdated-looking title on current consoles. Capcom has done a nice job cleaning it up, but it’s still ultimately a handheld title that was designed to be viewed on a 240p screen. That won’t matter to the die hard Resident Evil fans who plan on picking up the same game for the third time, but it’s becoming harder to recommend to newcomers as time passes.
Resident Evil Revelations PS4 review code provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.