Game Review: Resident Evil Revelations (Wii U)

Jonathan Szafran delivers his verdict on the Wii U version of Capcom’s compelling survival-horror – which is also released this week on PC, Xbox360 and PS3.

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Resident Evil Revelations is Capcom’s attempt to return its famed series back to its suspenseful roots; an effort to recapture the same rich atmosphere of terror that slowly slipped away as the franchise aged.

It still retains some of the improvements made over the years (the removal of the typewriter save system, for instance), but ultimately establishes a new benchmark in storytelling for the action/survival-horror genre.

Revelations was, of course, originally a 3DS game. It looked great on the handheld, and none of that beauty has been lost in the leap to the Wii U. In fact, Revelations’ graphics shine brighter on your HD television and Wii U gamepad, with incredible character models, creature designs, environmental effects and lighting creating spectacular settings for some of the franchise’s most memorable moments.

I found myself regularly pausing to take in some of the stunning scenery, before clicking the gamepad’s home button to take a picture and post it to the MiiVerse. The ever-changing, gorgeous environments are some of the best the series has ever seen.

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Most of Revelation takes place on a cruise ship named the Queen Zenobia, and it is perhaps the best setting for a Resident Evil game since the original’s gothic mansion. Dark corridors and claustrophobic rooms induce a sense of fear and panic when you’re surrounded by terrifying creatures.

The ship is not the only place you’ll visit, however, as you switch between siblings Chris and Claire Redfield. The campaign will take you away from the sea as you discover the origins of a new terror, and each chapter includes a cutscene that will recap the events of story so far. This new feature is a welcome inclusion, especially for gamers like me who like to take lengthy breaks away from their consoles. Overall the storytelling is some of the best this series has had in a long time, and sets a new standard for what to expect in future installments.

Here, Capcom craft terrifying environments and combine them with a haunting soundtrack that sets pulses racing. Everything from the distant cry of a female in trouble to the howl of wind coming from a cracked porthole is all perfectly crafted, and truly immerses the player in the experience.

Gone are the zombies of old: replaced instead with ‘the Ooze’, a paramorphous race of bio-organic weapons. Their forms vary in shape and size, with everything from a large blob to a humanoid with spiked appendages. Early on in the game you’ll encounter slow-moving Ooze similar to the zombies of yesteryear, but much like other RE games they eventually get faster and attack the player in packs.

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There is even a new creature type exclusive to the console versions, and it’s pretty terrifying. After encountering it for the first time, you’ll really want to stay out of the water.

You’ll find yourself using the dodge move a lot to avoid an attack when enemies become overwhelming, while running into another room to regain your nerve and reload your weapon is a common tactic in Revelations.

The newly-added Genesis scanner, which can be used to scan the environments for hidden items like ammo clips and collectible hand prints, is a welcome addition – and can boost xp gained so that players can trade in for more health.

Another welcome introduction is Raid mode: a fun, new addition that I found myself playing for hours on end. It breaks up the campaign into bite-sized chunks and adds new twists and turns to both the environments and the enemies. In one stage I was baffled to find myself losing health with no enemies in immediate sight – until I turned the camera down and found a very tiny version of the humanoid Ooze swatting at me. It’s moments like these that make Raid mode a blast to play, and I can’t wait to see players’ reactions to it when the game is released.

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The Wii U version has some fun exclusive features that will leave players smiling. In Raid mode players can type out thought bubbles to be displayed over the heads of enemies, which can then be shared on MiiVerse. This will result in some funny moments I’m sure, while the ability to play the entire game on the Wii U’s gamepad is great.

Another feature takes a cue from Dead Souls. When you die in Revelations you can leave a warning message from beyond the grave for other players to find in their game. Raid mode also includes characters, weapons and skill sets not seen in the 3DS version, so Capcom has really packed a lot into these new console ports – especially the Wii U version.

The leap to home consoles has been good to Revelations, and I never missed the 3D feature of its handheld predecessor. This is a terrific game, and it will be staying in my Wii U disc drive for a long time to come.

The controls were a little clunky at times, and I was unable to connect to an online co-op match in Raid mode  – but I was not surprised about this latter issue, as I was playing the title before launch and there aren’t many outlets reviewing the game.

All in all, Resident Evil Revelations recaptures the greatness of earlier Resident Evil outings while also retaining and introducing exciting new features. It’s not only one of the best entries in the entire series – it’s an absolute must-play for Wii U owners.

FMV Rating: ****1/2
 

 



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