There’s a Helm mark on the door, I have in my possession the Helm Key, it can only mean one thing, I’m playing Resident Evil.
Why a Helm Key, as opposed to the usual Sword Key or Hexagonal Indent? Because Revelations, the latest from the horror-em-up franchise, is set largely set aboard the Queen Zenobia, a luxury ocean liner fitted out with an interior designed to replicate the golden age of 1930s cruise ships
In fact the game’s producer, Masachika Kawata, has gone so far to say that the whole game was originally due to be set upon a “floating mansion”, so keen was he to rekindle the eerie atmosphere of the series’ original location.
Has that original aim translated into the finished product? Well, no, not really, not that Revelations isn’t a reasonable game, it’s just not a particularly atmospheric one. Its cast feels over powered and so never at risk, it throws too many foes into your path and the story told is nothing short of ridiculous.
In fact the hammy dialogue – your guess is as good as ours as to whether that’s the result of bad translation from the Japanese or just poor writing – is some of the worst we’ve witnessed in an entertainment product, and we’ve even witnessed all the Resident Evil movies.
Set in 2005 (that’s somewhere between RE4 and RE5) we’re introduced to the floating metropolis of Terragrigia, a gleaming beacon of human civilisation razed to the ground by the Federal Bioterrorism Commission (stay with us) after bioorganic weapons (that’s zombies and monsters to you or I) were unleashed on to its streets by terrorist sect Veltro (err, who?).
Craziness of plot aside, what Revelations boils down to is bog-standard Resident Evil fare, albeit an entry handily broken down into easily digestible chapters for gamers on the go – there’s even a ‘last time on… feature which kicks in every time you turn the game on.
Disappointingly, the series’ long-standing control limitations once more remain unaddressed; the overall feel most reminiscent of RE4. Expect to be able to slash with you knife, hop over obstacles and dodge incoming blows but never really feel like you’re able to properly react during encounters with lumbering monstrosities.
That said, if you happen to own the Circle Pad Pro and so have access to the accessory’s second analogue stick, you’ll at least be able to retreat while firing, always useful when whole gangs of sea zombies things are chasing you down, and even have time to sit and admire the scenery more readily during those quiet moments (more on that here).
In fact Capcom throw a decent array of monsters your way, even varying them according to location. The Queen Zenobia liner plays host to an assortment of nautical-themed nasties, the mountain range upon which you’ll take charge of Chris Redfield are home to mutated wolves, while flashbacks to Terragrigia provide scores of hunters for the player to gun down.
Then there’s the assortment of reasonably handled boss fights, most reminiscent of RE4’s classic opening scene where the player becomes the hunted and so forced to find safe vantage points from which to weaken said boss characters and their vanguard of beasties.
Further variation is provided by the ‘Genesis’ a scanning device which you’ll use to discover hidden items and find out more about your enemies. It’s not as exhaustive as the one Metroid Prime fans will remember, but adds another level of immersion to proceedings – perhaps its chief benefit being the unveiling of gun upgrades of which can be attached to weapons so increasing their power, rate of fire, etc.
Resident Evil: Revelations doesn’t break any new ground then, in fact its gameplay is so similar to RE4 that at times you half expect Leon to turn up demanding his game back. It is however action packed fare which should keep both 3DS and Resident Evil fans happy until the next batch of zombie-killing hits.
Operation Raccoon City and Resident Evil 6 must shake the series up if it’s to continue to thrive, but for now we’re glad we’ve got Revelations for those morning commutes – even if the storyline and dialogue has devolved into farce.