I've been a pretty big fan of the Resident Evil series since 1996. I say "pretty big," and what I mean is I'm actually one of those dudes who gets excited when a new RE movie comes out; I often wear an Umbrella Corporation shirt; and I tend to go gaga over these non-numbered spin-off games. As much as I love the mainline series, I find that the spin-offs tend to be more experimental in nature. These experiments can turn out good or bad, but they're always interesting to me to see what the series tries.
For some reason I never got around to playing the original Revelations. I did play the second one, however and loved it. Its episodic nature, somewhat lower difficulty, and excellent use of co-op made it the perfect RE game to actually play with my wife. And we had a blast a few years back with it. And so for a long time it's been in my mind that I need to finally get around to playing the first game.
Revelations is a lot like the second game, minus the co-op. It's still episodic. It's still very linear. And it's still kind of a throwback to the less-action more-survival horror of the early games. Because it was designed with the 3DS in mind, it's a totally solo experience. But y'know something? I'm having a really good time with it.
I say that it's "kind of" a throwback. That's because like those early games it doesn't rely heavily on shooting. Ammo is limited, so evasion is definitely helpful. But there are some big quality of life changes here - the biggest is auto-saving which I appreciate. You can tell me all day that ink ribbons heightened the horror, but as a new dad, being able to just suspend the game and not worry about losing progress is huge for me.
On that same note, it turns out that the episodic design really works in the game's favor considering my gaming time right now. It's much easier to sit down with a game like this and know that I can knock out a chunk of the campaign in 30 minutes and really feel like I've made progress.
And so I tackled Episode 1 last night. The first episode is like Jason Takes Manhattan in that it takes place MOSTLY on a boat. This deserted barge is actually an awesome setting. I really like the atmosphere. And y'know what? We could use a bit more nautical horror, don't you think?
I know that when the game was re-released on Wii U there was some disappointment about the graphics as it's basically just the 3DS game. Personally, I still think it looks damn good. And if anything, I'm amazed that this game was designed for the 3DS considering how great it looks. Playing on the Wii U tablet just makes me feel like I'm playing on an 3DS XXL, which is cool. Also, real analog sticks are obviously better than a nub.
There's also a small section that takes place on a beach where you need to research these infected zombie blob things. That part WOULD be boring if it weren't for the great setting which totally reminded me of something Lovecraftian. Sort of a reminder of how I can't play RE4 without thinking about Dagon.
Anyway, I'm early into this game - only one twelfth of the way in if the internet is to be believed. But so far, I'm super thrilled that I've finally gotten around to this one.
Episode 2 switches things up a bit initially. It starts out in some snowy area and you control Chris and his new partner Jessica. This part was... okay. There's a bunch of zombified wolves to manage. And luckily, it was a brief section.
Then, back to the ship! If I didn't mention earlier, the ship section has you controlling Jill and she's such an awesome badass in this game. I was thinking about this, and I think if I had to pick a favorite protagonist from all the RE games, I'd have to go with Jill "The Master Of Unlocking" Valentine. I mean, Chris and Leon are cool and all, but Jill is just the best. To me, she's sort of the face of classic RE.
Anyway, I digress. This section of the ship was AWESOME. It's the guest rooms area and as such, resembles a spooky mansion A LOT. I absolutely loved this section because it meshed the feel of Spencer Mansion with a boat. There's different guest rooms that feel like you're in that big haunted house, but then you've got these portal windows and you can see the fog and rain from the sea out there. Really a great setting that this game has.
I would normally hate this kind of section, though. It's one of those sections in games where your character is held captive and stripped of all weapons and items. Those tend to bug me. But hey, I got a little better at evasion because of it and met up with Jill's partner Parker and we found our weapon stash. So now we're armed to the teeth for Episode 3.
Y'know what? So far, I'm absolutely loving this game the same way I did Revelations 2. I honestly don't know what the critical consensus is on these spinoffs, but my guess is that they're deemed "pretty good." For me, I think they're "pretty great."
Around the middle of Episode 3, the cruise ship really opens up and you realize just how vast this thing is. I mean... when I said it's like being in a mansion in the middle of the ocean, that's true. Except this thing makes the Spencer Mansion look cute by comparison. My goodness.
As vast as the ship has gotten now that I've opened more areas up, I feel more like I know my surroundings. When I found a weird medallion thingy, I knew where to backtrack to so I could use it to access a new gun. So now Jill's got her standard pistol which has some upgrades on it, along with a shotgun and a fancy sniper rifle. Whoo!
Toward the end of the episode is a pretty tough boss fight. It was actually the first time I've died in the campaign, as I just didn't know what to expect. This dude is HUGE and scary and has a one-hit kill attack. Add to this that unending swarms of zombies or whatever swarm the whole time. It's pretty overwhelming.
I did eventually figure out a strategy that works - basically, I found a spot where two rooms were connected by a window, and found that hopping through the window kept the boss at bay. He couldn't come through the window after me so he'd instead keep going around to try to get me all the while me and Parker kept unloading on him from a distance. Good stuff.
The story holding all of this together remains utterly baffling. There's cut scenes between episodes to kind of create a narrative but I mean... if the mainline RE games are b-movies, then these spinoffs are SyFi Channel made-for-TV movies. That may sound like a knock, but honestly, it's part of what makes me love RE as much as I do.
Episode 4 was on the briefer side, which is fine. I like that there's variety to these episodes, both in length and content.
In this section we opened up a casino on the ship. Again - the ghost ship is such a cool setting because it allows for all these crazy inclusions. There were some zombie fish to kill in a fountain, and some slightly puzzling to do and then we went off looking for an access lift behind the scenes. Of course the key was missing, so I had to do a bunch of backtracking to find it on the corpse of a crew member from earlier in the game.
It wasn't exactly a shock to find that her body was gone and that there was now a new zombie boss to take on. However, this boss battle was COMPLETELY different than the last one as she hopped into some ventilation and I had to track her throughout the area as she'd continually pop out to attack and then retreat back in and go somewhere else. This made for a pretty exciting boss battle, and in true dramatic fashion I ran out of ammo just as I reached the room where my partner Parker was so I was able to use him as a meat shield as he finished her off.
Anyway, this game continues to be awesome. For those of you who played RE5 and 6 and felt like the series had run its course, you need to check out the Revelations games if you missed them at the time.
Episode 5 was a bit on the shorter side, but it was also fairly varied. It starts by introducing a couple of new characters - Jackass (seriously) and Grinder (seriously). If you couldn't tell from the names, these dudes were in charge of investigating the crashed airplane and hacking the black box. Yeah. Anyway, this was a short section. Super short.
Then we get back to the good stuff: Jill making more progress in the ghost ship. Most of this chapter was a rather classic RE puzzle portion involving manipulating levers in different rooms to re-route steam out of broken pipes so I could access the room I needed to. And again, pretty standard RE fare like finding a missing gear to open a new door. But in the process I did find a cool new machine gun so that's helpful.
Oh, and now I've encountered these sort of swimming alien looking things that appear out of the water and have huge gross mouths. I have to be honest, these are the first creatures in this game to actually kind of creep me out. Good stuff.
I also actually took a bit of time to play a part of this chapter on the TV rather than gamepad and I must say I'm impressed with the visuals. I mean it's Wii U, but this game looks about as great as a lower budget Resident Evil game could look running on the Wii U. Certainly it looks much better than what I'd imagine it to look like on 3DS. And using a Pro Controller to play this one feels great.
This is such a solid game. I really think I'd go so far as to say I love this one. Like, in my mind I'm even thinking that once I finish it up I might still be in the mood to go back and revisit Revelations 2.
Episode 6 was cool. I mean the whole game is cool. I seriously wonder what the reception would have been if the Revelations games had been released as numbered title instead of the RE5 and 6 we actually got. Hmm.
The first chapter was a bit of Chris and his partner making their way to the ghostship. No big woop. But the second chapter was where the real excitement was at. It opens with Jill and Parker needing to make a daring underwater escape. Good stuff. And I'm happy to report that the swimming controls work well here.
Then there was some more exploration of the ship, culminating in a pretty intense boss battle that starts on an elevator and ends on the top floor. It was a pretty long battle as this huge zombie thing with some shielded armor had a lot of HP. But I'm happy to report we came out unscathed (and low on bullets).
OH! I wanted to point out that there's sections of the ship where elevator doors, or huge doors to other parts of the ship are seriously loading screens in disguise. As a longtime RE fan, I can't tell you how much this makes me grin.
It feels good to be halfway through the campaign, halfway through the month. As such, Revelations has turned out to be a pretty perfect Halloween game for me this month. It's not overly demanding of my time, with most episodes lasting somewhere between thirty and sixty minutes. It's exactly the kind of game that fits into my life right now.
Episode 7 was pretty cool... though not QUITE as memorable as some of the previous ones. Let's see... we had to make our way out to the deck and getting a little drone missile thing ready for launch. This was fine. But the end of this episode involved a ticking timebomb scenario. You know the classic countdown clock thing (think the opening of Super Metroid)? I like these kind of dashes of variance to the game. And the timer added some intensity to what was going on.
Also there was lots of zombies. LOTS of them. And Rachael - the zombie who had been running through air ducts earlier - came back and starting hunting me again Nemesis style. At one point I found a bazooka and hit her with it so I don't know if that'll do it. Probably not.
At any rate, it was a brief-ish episode but ended with a cut scene of a huge tidal wave hitting the ship which makes me think that I'm in for some more swimming...