Bigger is better in this case
I've played what looks to be about half of the upcoming console release of Resident Evil: Revelations this past week. I'd write an in-depth preview for you if we hadn't talked so much about it already. Instead, I'm here to give you a quick rundown on why I think Revelations is a great fit for consoles as well as a few new impressions.
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Resident Evil: Revelations (PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360 [previewed])
Release Date: May 21, 2013
If you haven't heard yet, Capcom took the refreshing 2012 3DS release and ported it to consoles, with Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii U versions coming next month. Capcom let me play with builds of both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions at home, where I could to the proper survival horror thing. You know -- shutting the lights out, cranking the sound up -- that kind of thing.
I'm not here to dump on the 3DS version of Resident Evil Revelations at all. I thought it was outstanding. And regular readers know that I'm a portable system gamer first and foremost. But I have to say that Revelations fits better on a console. While I acknowledge that a great experience can be had with a 3DS, especially equipped with a Circle Pad and headphones, it can't beat a big screen, a full sound system, and a proper console controller.
Those that have played the 3DS game will know that the "revelation" is that this release actually brings the scary back. The portable release was legitimately freaky, which is something the numbered franchise games haven't been able to pull off since RE4. But I'm glad to say that the console version of Revelations gave me some good Resident Evil 4 vibes. Expect great tense stretches are broken up with solid action segments and some full-on scream-worthy scares.
This console release is everything that was good about the 3DS release, turned up just a bit. So scary parts are now enough to make you jump, wince, or clench your fists. I laughed at myself a few times after realizing how freaked out I was getting. As far as scary thrills go, I really do think that the game is best served with this console release, as it's bigger, louder, and better looking. Outside of some dry cutscenes and campy character moments, the game never stops being that freaky kind of fun you remember from the earlier days of the franchise. Well, except with better control.
Revelations plays exactly as you'd expect on a controller. No surprises; you'll be able to pick it up instantly. I'm glad to say that movement and aiming are comfortable and not awkward. The game's camera is a tad bit slow, but works just fine even in heavy action. No complaints at all.
And the game looks great, though I'm not going to dish out heaps of compliments like some of my peers have before. If you're only minding the foreground (which is usually Jill's shiny backside), your eyes will catch on high quality upgrades of characters and enemies, as well as some glossy wall and surface textures. The foreground stuff looks great for the most part.
It seems that there's a lot of shine to the more noticeable stuff to take your eye away from what they couldn't/didn't polish up. While I'll admit that you'd have to be a stickler to pick up on some of this, some of the more distant art and textures look bad, as does many of the non-key props. Blurry, low-resolution textures blanketed the floors in some locations, and some hilariously low polygon counts were used for some room props. One cutscene early on had a ground/dirt texture that looked like it came straight out of a PlayStation game, with higher quality character models standing on top of it. It just looked wrong.
Some animations also lacked polish. I nearly died laughing at an early cutscene where Jill's face was featured in a close-up. She seemed to be making a kissy face with her lips instead of talking, with nothing in the way of animation synchronization with the voice taking place. That scene needs to be a GIF, internet, so look for it next month. A similar close-up scene with Chris featured animation you'd expect from an Xbox era first-person shooter. One of the best animation flubs I saw happened after I killed a monster as it followed me down a stairway. As it melted after being killed, its pool of blood and goo extended beyond the top of the stairway, appearing to instantly dry and jut beyond the top stair at a 45 degree angle.
But I'm glad to say that none of the above complaints on art or animation really matter in the end. While I would have loved a bit more polish, none of the above nitpicks stop Resident Evil Relevations from being a supremely fun and legitimately scary survival horror experience. It's tense, challenging, and sometimes a real ball buster when it comes to item management. It's everything I hope to get when I boot up an Resident Evil game.
While you'll have to wait for our full review next month, I've played enough of the game already to feel comfortable in recommending it to fellow Resident Evil fans. Good stuff.