This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Resident Evil: Revelations.
Oh, what fishy odors we must endure as we labor between the thighs of fate. For weeks I reviewed crap XBLA games and fucking Sonic the Hedgehog waiting for some actual releases to come out, and when they do it's the latest SoulCalibur roster update of interest only to its niche audience and Final Fantasy XIII-2; another installment of the video gaming equivalent of a chorus line of parrots on an electrified wire being slowly lowered into a carnivorous miniskirt.
Mercifully, though, there was also Resident Evil: Revelations on 3DS, not to be confused with Assassin's Creed: ___, Tomb Raider: The Last ___ or the Book of ___. I get the feeling whatever agency every sequel subtitle writer on Earth seems to use is playing a bit fast and loose with the whole "revelations" concept. You'd think from this title that we're going to learn some dark secret that's been underlying the entire Resident Evil series, like that Chris Redfield isn't a natural brunette or something. But no, it's a whole new story, so the title's saying "Here are some revelations about some people and places you've never met or been to yet." Oh, well excuse me while I polish the edge of my seat.
When I say it's a whole new story, I mean it's a whole new Resident Evil story, meaning the same story in a different place: two or more arms specialists descend into a seemingly abandoned location with localized power generation and lots of tight corridors (in this case a cruise liner;) kill a whole bunch of humans whose hideous mutations did nothing to impede their impeccable sense of timing; there'll be a hidden laboratory in the basement somewhere; and someone you thought was good will turn out to be bad.
Unusually, though, that last aspect is stretched out into this 24-esque intrigue plot where we keep cutting away from the main story on the ship to play as other characters in other locations in flashbacks. And as is fairly typical of Resident Evil, the plot manages to be both ridiculously convoluted and childishly predictable, because the bloke that turns out to be behind it all can be isolated as the guy who delivers every line like he's criticizing the blowjobs of a nun whose orphanage he's already decided to foreclose on regardless.
Still, at least the series has gotten past the fucking Umbrella Corporation - I think "Fucking Umbrella Corporation" is how they were officially listed on the Dow Jones - whose resurrections were stretching credibility somewhat. But the Resident Evil universe proves to have itself no shortage of twats who just cannot be convinced that unleashing barely controllable slime monsters is not a cheaper, risk-free alternative to just, say, shooting people in the face.
And speaking of twats, I thought Resident Evil characters officially reached their lowest point when they brought us squeaky-voiced midget Napoleon, but they successfully carve out a third sub-basement in the barrel with one of the sidekick characters in this game; a military sniper who wears sexy, high-fashioned outfits on assignment. When I first saw her wet weather gear, I had to run my in-game scanning device over her to make sure she hadn't contracted some kind of infection from air kissing Jean Paul Gaultier. It's some kind of purple-striped wetsuit with one leg cut off, a skintight balaclava, and an Elizabethan collar. We have a uniform, lady, because in these games usual policy is to shoot the things that look retarded.
It might sound like I've already unzipped and geared up to stream salty, golden piss over RE: Revelations 's eyeballs, but I'm actually not that down on it. Capcom games are fairly reliably retardedly written, but I find that tends to give them an endearing quality, like Winnie the Pooh. While I'm not about to lovingly brush Rerevelations hair out of its eyes and start moistening my lips, either, I've definitely played worse Resident Evils.
It feels like an early Resident Evil game setup with more Resident Evil 4 -y controls. So you get the tight, claustrophobic environment with lots of exploration and backtracking, but you can also tell what you're fucking aiming at. I like the monster design; humans crossed with deep sea wildlife, which is smart because with a lot of those things you don't even need to add glowy eyes to scare the piss right up someone's throat and out their nose. And wonderfully, this game has the first case I've found the stupid 3D gimmick actually interfering with gameplay: when you're aiming with the sniper rifle, with the 3D on, you can't focus your crosshairs on the target. Ha! Eat it, James Cameron. Guess you'll have to start working on hologram vision after all.
It's not all sunshine and validation for your favorite entertainment industry grudges. I had a problem with a couple of core mechanics, such as the aforementioned scanning thing. It's mainly just for finding shy, introverted, hidden health and ammo, as well as the brazen, slutty health and ammo that's just sitting out in the open with their bikini tops off. So you have to keep digging it out to scan every new room you come across. And you can scan enemies, but all you get from that is the odd green herb. If this were Metroid Prime, you'd get the name of the monster [Fish McTarse,] a hint on how to kill it [Blast His Arse,] and its favorite song from David Bowie's Hunky Dory album [Life On Mars.] And I feel Rerevelations missed the opportunity to do something similar.
It may have ruined the mystery and atmosphere of the survival horror thing, but I think there's plenty in the game that already does that. It'd be easier to feel trapped, lost, and alone in the hostile environment if the game didn't constantly cut to other scenes in flashbacks where you play as other characters being totally on top of things. When the game starts, Chris Redfield is missing, because someone has to be missing when a Resident Evil game starts and he drew the short straw again, but barely half an hour later you play as Chris Redfield somewhere else being totally fine! Oh. Can we.. go home, then?
I also have a problem with the dodge mechanic, in that how it's supposed to work is vague at best. Sometimes my character'd nimbly sidestep a blow and sometimes their ass would get played like the bongos. I checked the manual, which said to "use the analog stick as you're about to be hit." "Use it," eh? Thanks. Have you guys considered writing bomb defusal manuals? "Step one: use your hands. Step two: Also maybe some pliers." And annoyingly, dodging isn't even essential until you get to the final boss, whereupon, if you haven't quite mastered the technique, then get ready to enjoy your new career as floor polish.
But the bottom line on Rererererevrevelations is that it's basically inoffensive. If you can get past the poorly explained dodge mechanic, the pointless scanning mechanic, the indecisive tone, the endemic backtracking and shitty characters... all right, maybe it's a bit offensive. But at the very least it's mostly functional, passes the time, and, more importantly, Chris Redfield seems to have stopped hiring former balloon salesmen as his personal trainer.
- And I beheld a great beast and his name was: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
- Honestly just fling a deep sea angler fish at me as I come in the door and you'll never get the stain out of the carpet
- What kind of monster hunter is named 'Chris' anyway