Resident Evil: Revelations HD PS3 hands-on preview

Having avoided recent Resident Evil games and being a general scaredy cat, I was relieved when Darren Price, aka Vic B’stard offered to check out the upcoming R.E. Revelations HD.

I recently sat down with a preview version of Capcom’s upcoming re-release of Resident Evil: Revelations. The game, originally on the Nintendo 3DS, has been polished up and given the high-def treatment for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U.

The game uses a TV show-style format, each level acting as an episode. Not only does this allow for some rather cool “Previously on Resident Evil: Revelations” recaps at the being of each episode, but it also give players a suitable place for a break; a great holdover from the portable version where bite-sized gaming is essential.Resident Evil: Revelations is set between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. The game features two Resident Evil Veterans in Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield; characters that have been with us since the very first game. For the preview session I played through the first two of the game’s episodes.

The first episode, entitled “Into the Depths”, has Jill her colleague Parker Luciani investigating a derelict cruise liner, the SS Queen Zenobia, adrift in the Mediterranean. Their mission is to find Chris Redfield and his partner, Jessica Sherawat who have gone missing, but believed to be on board.

Via a TV news broadcast, we learn that one year ago a terrorist organisation called Veltro launched a biological attack that devastated a floating eco-city called Terragrigia. It was the news of Veltro’s possible re-emergence that brought Chris and Jessica to the Queen Zenobia.

If you’ve played a Resident Evil game before, you’ll recognise the overly-complicated and nonsensical plot that is a hallmark of the series. I’ve left out direct reference to the multitude of ridiculously abbreviated organisations, which the newsreader struggles to articulate in her BBC-style received pronunciation.

As you’d expect, the derelict cruise ship isn’t empty. Wandering the corridors are these horrible-looking creatures, bio-weapons. The creatures are similar to those used to destroy Terragrigia and are infected with the T-Abyss virus, a marine derivative of the T-Virus from the other Resident Evil games. The episode ends with a cliff-hanger, which I won’t spoil, and the familiar Capcom-style performance stats and grading.

For the second episode, “Double Mystery”, after the recap the story switches to Chris Redfield – controlled by the player – and Jill Shrawat. Whilst looking for a Veltro base in the mountains, Chris takes an unfortunate stumble and falls into an ominously open area. Unable climb to his feet, Chris is then attacked by some monstrous-looking wolves.

Firing at the wolf-like creatures, whilst lying on the ground, reminded me of the tense near-death sequences in the Left 4 Dead games; except this was a bit tedious. The wolves keep coming and Chris keeps firing, it’s like a circular shooting gallery. At least Jill helps out, which is more that I could say for Parker, Jill’s partner back on the boat.

The gameplay is similar to the modern action-orientated survival-horror gameplay of recent Resident Evil games. I forgot that I wasn’t playing a shooter, quickly remembering Capcom’s tendency to make ammo a scarce commodity. As with previous Resident Evil games, you should avoid shooting the enemy whenever possible. Save your rounds for when you really need them. Exploring the levels will reveal conveniently located ammo (why a cruise ship has ammo lying about is beyond me) and those suspicious green herb plants that provide an instant health fix. As well as guns, our heroes also have some cool explosive decoys in their arsenal; these device attract the zombies, or whatever they are, and boom! I learnt to love them.

Mid-way through the episode, we switch back to Jill on the Queen Zenobia, separated from Parker and without a weapon. Thankfully I’d got used to not having any ammo by this point and quite adept at dodging the nasties. The ship is an absolute labyrinth; thank goodness for the map. This section of the ship, being the passenger area and nicely decked out with carpet and other finery, reminded me a lot of that zombie-infested mansion house way back in 1996.

Capcom have done a reasonable job of retexturing the game for the HD release, especially considering the slap Resident Evil 6 got in this respect. Whilst obviously not to God of War: Ascension, standards Jill, Chris and co are well represented and the visual don’t for one minute betray their handheld heritage.

I only played a small part of the game, two episodes out of twelve- if the game follows the same format as the 3DS version. The bit of the game that I did play was solid Resident Evil. The eerie cruise ship setting is nice and atmospheric, harking back to the first game. The tight corridors blocked by monsters; the need for a tactile approach to enemies rather than going in gung-ho, it was exactly what I expect from a Resident Evil game.

Resident Evil: Revelations looks good so far and I’ll be interested to see what the complete game is like when it is released at the end of May.

Darren Price