Resident Evil: Revelations (Switch) Review
Time is a weird thing. Without it, I probably would still be totally high on Resident Evil Revelations, one of the first games to allegedly bridge the gap between the action and horror styles of play that the series has split itself between in the past years. At first, I loved Revelations for what it seemed to do, but as time has gone by I’ve kind of soured on the title a bit. Caused in part by a shift in my own tastes and the release of a far superior sequel, I don’t like Revelations as much as I did when I first played it five years ago. The release of the Switch version is the third time I’ve reviewed Revelations and they say that the third time’s a charm, right?
Resident Evil Revelations takes place between Resident Evil 4 and 5, following series regulars Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. They’re both investigating leads on Il Veltro, a terrorist organisation who has developed a new virus called t-Abyss. This isn’t the first time they’ve caused terror either, as Il Veltro are the group responsible for destroying a man-made city called Terragrigia. You’ll jump between multiple time periods as you uncover what is ostensibly the story of Il Veltro both past and present. The story itself is serviceable, though more than often dives into the borderline sci-fi nonsense you’d find in the film franchise rather than the games themselves. It doesn’t help that the supporting cast is only memorable because of how ridiculous they are too.
Resident Evil Revelations plays like a typical Resident Evil game, though has all the cool bells and whistles of more modern titles. Yes, you can move and shoot, which is still something I’m convinced most newer fans of the franchise take for granted. When you’re not shooting up a boat or a corporate centre or some other exotic locale, you’ll be solving puzzles. I use the term lightly, as the puzzles are far from anything you’d find in older games – rarely boiling down to anything beyond “bring the key to its door” or “press some buttons to light up a panel”.
There is a narrative throughout the community that Revelations represents a step closer to the franchises horror roots, but I beg to differ. Most of the scenarios you encounter in Revelations are either arena based encounters or mindless wandering with little to do beyond getting from point A to point B. The argument to say that Resident Evil Revelations is a step closer to the franchise roots completely belies the idea of what Resident Evil ever was.
The most disappointing aspect of Revelations is how the moment-to-moment gameplay pans out, specifically with the combat. As I eluded to earlier, the ability to aim and reload and move at the same time is a great step towards modernising the gameplay. Despite this, the enemy design just falls incredibly flat. Sure, Revelations was a lower budget game, but having to fight enemies that are either directly lifted from other games or a hulking bag of flesh feels incredibly cheap. To make matters worse, enemies don’t react to your gunfire as realistically as they did in games like Resident Evil 4, 5 or even Mercenaries 3D.
That’s not to say that Revelations is a bad game though. The ability system, while slightly nonsensical, allows you to upgrade up to three of your carried weapons with various attributes and gives a great sense of progression. You can also scan your surrounding area with the Genesis Scanner – which allows you to search the environment for objects or scan enemies for a small health bonus. While I appreciate the attempt to place an emphasis on exploration and did not mind doing this myself, some players may get annoyed at having to constantly pull out a scanner every time they enter a new room.
The Switch version boasts a few benefits over others that are worth your time. First, if you never played the game on the 3DS then this is potentially the best place to do so – as it can be played on your television or out and about on the go. Secondly, Revelations makes pretty good use of both the HD Rumble and Joy-Con motion-based aiming to provide an experience that’s slightly more immersive than other platforms. Jumping between this and the Xbox One version of Revelations, I now miss being able to aim with motion controls in a similar manner to Breath of the Wild. Even better, the game doesn’t have the dreadful Switch Tax attached, coming in at a very reasonable $25 AU from the eShop. There’s even Amiibo support if you’re so inclined
But is it worth it? While I personally don’t enjoy the game as much as I used to, I’d say it is. Revelations can easily be finished in about eight or so hours but there’s so much more to it than the story mode. Raid Mode, which sees players running gauntlets solo or with a friend, is like an RPG of sorts that you can sink hours into. You pick a character, their loadout and run levels together while earning experience. Said experience can then be spent on upgrading your weapons and characters, buying them unique abilities and subsequently attempting harder levels together. It adds an immense amount of replay value to the package to the point where I’d surmise people wanting to complete Raid Mode would have to set aside twenty or so hours to do so.
From a visual standpoint, the Switch version runs just as well as it’s counterparts on other consoles. There may be some detail missing here and there, but most players won’t even notice any major disparities between the Switch version and other versions. Unlike the 3DS version, the game also runs at very smooth 60 frames per second which just helps to cement the Switch version as the definitive one. Environments look great too, though as mentioned previously enemies can sometimes feel uninspired from a design perspective. Still, Revelations is a pretty great looking game especially considering it was running on a 3DS five years ago.
Resident Evil Revelations will probably fool you into thinking that it’s a perfect bridge between the more action orientated modern titles and the earlier horror orientated ones with its creepy setting, but be warned, it’s not. As a Resident Evil game, Revelations is ultimately quite a forgettable experience. As an overall experience and package, it represents tremendous value at a great price with heaps of content, and easily the best way to experience Revelations on any of the home consoles.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
+ Great Value
+ Fluid Gameplay
+ Improved Visuals
- Forgettable Setpieces
- Awful Supporting Cast
- Uninspired Enemy Design