Resident Evil Revelations

Capcom is well known for bringing older Resident Evil games to new hardware. Eventually, the entire series will likely be playable on Xbox One.

The latest such release is Resident Evil Revelations, originally a 2012 Nintendo 3DS game that also migrated to Xbox 360 in 2013. Now Revelations has come to Xbox One with 1080p resolution and graphical enhancements. Does the fresh paint make this one worth a playthrough for survival horror fans? Read on and find out!

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Mystery of the sunken city

Resident Evil Revelations

Although Resident Evil Revelations originated in 2012, its story takes place in the year 2005, right between Resident Evil 4 and 5. You kind of have to do that when your staff writers drink too much absinthe and bring about the end of civilization in the series timeline, as they did with the abysmal Resident Evil 6.

Now, Resident Evil games aren't known for their great plots, but Revelations' narrative won't instill as many headaches as some of its brethren. The game begins in media res, as Jill Valentine and her portly European partner Parker Luciani board a ship called the Queen Xenobia in search of series mainstay Chris Redfield, who has gone missing.

Resident Evil Revelations

Revelations is divided into chapters consisting of three acts each, with an act taking about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. After the first act ends, we learn that Jill and Parker had been investigating a biological disturbance on the beach near the ruins of a fictional city called Terragrigia. This city, which had been built on the water, generates all of its own power via solar energy.

Unfortunately for the citizens of Terraria or whatever it's called, a terrorist group called Veltro (the Umbrella Corporation substitute for this game) can't leave well enough alone. The Velcros snap into place and assault the city with monsters and viruses. The world's leading, totally not evil anti-bio-weapons organization, the Federal Bioterrorism Commission, has no choice but to turn a solar laser on the city, destroying it.

That survival horror feel

Resident Evil Revelations

The Resident Evil series became increasingly action- and shooting-focused over the years, until Resident Evil 7: Biohazard came along and righted the ship. Despite having shorter, distinct levels, Revelations manages to achieve a satisfying balance between the tension and horror of early games and the slick shooting and high enemy account of later ones.

The levels are generally tight and claustrophobic, making it that much harder to sneak by enemies when ammunition gets low. Of course, ammunition and healing items are relatively plentiful, but the game still ratchets up the challenge at times. Item management is relatively unnecessary, though players still need to hunt down keys and solve puzzles now and then.

Revelations wisely takes a streamlined approach that focuses on fun and tension over busy work. My one complaint in the core gameplay department is the lack of a run button. Resident Evil games often require backtracking, facilitating that by allowing players to run at high speeds. This one has no run button, so running from enemies and backtracking is slower and clunkier than it should be.

Resident Evil Revelations

The actual enemies in this installment have been created by the t-Abyss virus, an offshoot of the T-virus designed to create mutations suitable for underwater environments. Thus the enemies are nearly all aquatic themed, starting with Revelations' zombie equivalent, the ooze. These slime-covered humanoids have fat leech-like tongues and spiky bodies.

Other notable enemy types include lobster-like sea creepers, invertebrate globsters, wolflike Fenrirs (who aren't water-themed), piranha-like Ghiozzo fish, and a new fishy form of Hunters called Farfarellos. The water theme might be hit or miss, but it's a much more varied lineup of monsters than the otherwise excellent Resident Evil 7.

The Genesis scanner

Resident Evil Revelations

Revelations introduces a unique gameplay mechanic thanks to a gun-shaped device called the Genesis scanner. When activating the scanner, the perspective shifts to a night vision-like first-person view. Various objects will be highlighted by the scanner, including enemies, hidden items, and more. Scanning a hidden item usually reveals ammo or healing items, so those things will be plentiful if you remember to scan often.

As for scanning enemies, you'll need to scan every type of enemy in the game multiple times for an Achievement. Scanning a baddie acquires a percentage of data on the subject, necessitating multiple scans to reach the full 100 percent. Fully scanning a creature type gets you items, so it's mostly worthwhile. That said, some enemies can only be scanned while alive, which can be awfully dangerous for players.

The scanning mechanic is fun and rewards exploration and thoroughness. On the other hand, it also slows the pace down and forces you to see things in green about half the time. Batman: Arkham Asylum-style alternate vision modes are a mixed blessing because of how they strip so much color out of the game world during use.

Multiplayer Raid mode

Resident Evil Revelations

Resident Evil: Revelations 2, which actually arrived on Xbox One before the first installment, featured both campaign co-op and a separate co-op Raid mode, all with split-screen and online play. The first Revelations does not include campaign co-op or split-screen, which is a shame but not surprising given that previous versions didn't have them either.

Luckily, Revelations still has a powerful multiplayer component in the form of its online Raid mode. In Raid mode, one or two players can select from numerous characters and take on 40 bite-sized co-op stages. These levels mostly have to be unlocked by playing the campaign, but you can play any level the host player has unlocked as well. Xbox One even gets a new extra-challenging level, The Ghost Ship: Chaos.

Not only are the Raid mode levels highly replayable, they award players with a currency called BP. This can be spent on a huge arsenal of weapons and upgrades in the Raid mode store. Buying and finding weapons and upgrades is a lot of fun, and works together perfectly with the goal of S-ranking every Raid level.

Achievements

Resident Evil Revelations

Revelations has one major advantage over Revelations 2 in the Achievement department: Raid mode Achievements! In the sequel, Raid mode felt superfluous because you basically couldn't unlock any Achievements in it. But the Xbox One version of Revelations fixes that by offering a whopping 31 Raid mode Achievements. You don't have to play Raid mode in co-op, so even solo gamers can get them all.

The rest of the game's 55 Achievements are campaign-based. Players must locate 30 collectible handprints and fully scan every enemy type in the game. You'll also find lots of situational ones like stopping an enemy bullet with your knife and scoring 10 headshots on Oozes. The two hardest solo Achievements involve beating the game on Normal without dying (not too bad) and clearing it on Infernal difficulty.

Resident Evil is better than ever on Xbox One

Resident Evil Revelations

Resident Evil Revelations is five years old at this point and originally designed for the relatively underpowered 3DS platform to boot. Does the Xbox One version offer any upgrades over the existing 360 version from 2013? Yes!

This version received a bump up to 1080p resolution, just as you'd expect from a remastered classic. It also sports an improved frame rate, increased environmental detail, and refined creature movement. That's not to say it looks perfect; some of the textures are noticeably low resolution. But all told, this is the best that Revelations has ever looked, and series fans won't be disappointed.

Pros:

  • The graphics have been noticably improved for Xbox One.
  • Plenty of short levels that offer recaps of previous chapters, making it easy to play in short doses and come back at any time.
  • Online Raid mode is tons of fun with a friend, and has loads of Achievements to boot.

Cons:

  • The lack of a run button makes backtracking and evasion tiresome.
  • No campaign co-op or split-screen, unlike Revelations 2.
  • New sidekick Jessica wants Chris's sweet bod but he's totally not interested!

Great

4/5

Resident Evil Revelations costs $19.99 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Players can also buy a bundle that includes Revelations 1 and the deluxe version of 2 for $39.99, a $10 savings over buying them separately.

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Xbox One review copy provided by the publisher.