I'm on a boat.
Okay, so Resident Evil 6 failed to live up to expectations. Throwing the kitchen sink at players and tallying up not three, but four complete RE campaigns didn't capture survival-horror as effectively as we might have hoped. Despite existing in the medium for over 15 years, Capcom's zombie franchise has seen its fair share of diminishing returns. Still, sometimes all you need is a brief vacation to get back into the swing of things.
Unfortunately, Jill Valentine got sent out on the rejuvenation cruise and in typical fashion, this ship's got all kinds of fucked up monsters on board. Resident Evil: Revelations aided early 3DS adopters with hardcore gameplay, stunning visuals, and a revived sense of terror on the high seas. Capcom's console port adds new modes, new unlockables, and modern controls, but in expanding the experience for your TV, it loses a bit of what made the 3DS version so damn scary.
Much of Josh Laddin's review in early 2012 remains true here. When Revelations shoots for scares, it rarely misses. On board the Queen Zenobia cruise ship, Jill and newcomer Parker Luciani have to track down a bioterrorist weapon, but longtime fans will probably love how similar the ship feels compared to the Arklay mansion. Josh Laddin put it well in his review of the 3DS version:
Everything about the game is RE through and through, from the grotesque monsters and relentless bosses to the good old cheesy dialogue: "Jill! Where are you?" "I… I'm in a room, I think!" In some ways, Revelations even surpasses the old-school REs. Something about the creaky, rusty shell of a once lively ship and the oppressive, claustrophobic passageways that offer the threat of a watery grave—as well as a bloody one—just sends shivers down the spine.
While Revelations was visually stunning on 3DS, it translates better than I could have expected to console. Many enemies have been remodeled to take advantage of console power, and textures look sharp, while retaining the suitably murky filter consistent with a ship infested with goo-monsters. Larger environments also benefit from added graphical power, as they used to make the frame-rate a little too horrific on 3DS. Revelations allowed players to add a second Circle Pad to move and shoot, which means that the experience feels great with a console controller.
If I had to pick a version to plug specifically, it'd be the Wii U version Capcom sent me as much of the HUD is moved to the second screen and a persistent map means you won't get lost. This makes sense given the way 3DS players get to enjoy full, spotless visuals on the top screen. Having to hit the pause menu to check your map isn't a deal breaker, but it just feels like a bit of a hassle when the Wii U offers all the information without stopping gameplay.
The campaign will likely take you a little less than the 10-12 hours it did on 3DS, but an added difficulty level ensures no one will be without a challenging and fresh experience. Some of the boss monsters make for an even more revolting sight in HD on your big TV screen and I'm genuinely surprised at how well this port enhances and builds upon the 3DS release. There's Raid Mode, two-player co-op, online multiplayer, a ton of unlockables, and by extension, plenty of replay value. Many of that was present on the 3DS, but being on console means you've got a much larger friends list to harass about joining you in-game. Still, I felt like something got lost in translation.
Revelations scared the T-virus out of me on 3DS, and while I had an idea of why, playing the game on console confirmed it. I played Revelations without a Circle Pad Pro, in the dark, with headphones and a glasses-free 3D screen. Ultimately, it meant I was wrestling with the controls just enough to be scared for Jill; it meant the environment around me added to the game's atmosphere; and it meant I got to watch
Jill's juicy double grotesque monsters approach in 3D. Capcom's biggest conceit in modern RE titles is that the controls always sucked, but it's an indisputable fact that wrestling with the controls to line up a shot made survival-horror what it is. That feeling of powerlessness (or at the very least, being grossly underpowered) plays a huge role in psychologically fucking with the player.
Playing on your TV, without 3D and with a second analog stick doesn't completely deflate what made the scares so powerful on 3DS, but the returns are certainly diminished. Revelations still features excellent writing, a powerful and haunting environment, and great enemy design. If you're a fan of the series who missed the 3DS game, this is must-play as it captures a lot of what's made RE so beloved over the years. If you have a 3DS available to you (an XL would be ideal), try to play it, even without a second Circle Pad. Something about having to stand still while you shoot still scares the crap out of me, and at least on 3DS there was an excuse to maintain that legacy of "bad" controls.