Since gracing the screens of the 3DS way back in 2012, Resident Evil Revelations has been one of the most anticipated Resident Evil games to receive a HD Remaster for PS4 this year. Following in the footsteps of the other Resident Evil games, Revelations follows series regulars and fan favourites Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield as they explore a terrorist hideaway and the biological organic weaponry (B.O.W) that has been created on an abandoned cruise ship, The Queen Zenobia.
On the high-resolution screen of the PS4 this game looks incredible. On the 3DS the action was compressed into a much smaller picture meaning that the scares didn’t pack much of a punch and combat was often tricky if not impossible. However, on the PS4 this game feels genuinely terrifying. Having the Ooze literally tower over you on this remaster adds a factor of genuine horror that increases the eerie atmosphere of the game. Its interesting to note that the conversion from the 3DS to the PS4 has left the game with an arcade-y feel, leaving Revelations to feel true to its 3DS roots and therefore almost nostalgic.
Revelations plays in a series of episodic chapters, each including a ‘previously’ to remind the player of what transpired in earlier episodes. Although the first few chapters are short in length they end on amazing hooks which persuade you to continue your journey into the depths of the Queen Zenobia. With a ten-hour long campaign Revelations is short enough to encourage you to play the majority of it in one day, and long enough to offer up a detailed story with memorable twists that will leave you shocked. The player takes control of a variety of characters in a vast array of different settings, ranging from mountainous wildlands to the hull of the Queen Zenobia. Where some other games in the Resident Evil franchise have dragged the concept of AI cooperation through the dirt, Revelations makes it work. Your comrade will take down foes with their unlimited ammo and with them being essentially immortal, you don’t have to worry about their safety, just your own. Imagining the game without them is unsettling, considering how lonely and uneasy the ship is, and we’re glad to see the end of sections that see us separated from our AI partner.
In true horror style ammunition is low, herbs to restore health are difficult to find, and enemies spawn everywhere, meaning that most environments are riddled with danger. The Queen Zenobia is the standout setting though, full of claustrophobic, dark rooms and tiny cramped hallways that encourage the slow-paced suspension to build, with every dimly lit spot a possible home to the nightmarish Ooze.
Eerie dialogue both from visible enemies and those who are speaking through comms systems is unsettling, enough to wrought your mind with fear and hesitation. Jump scares are more frequent than the original and more effective too. The game often lulls you into a sense of security and confidence before delivering these scares, resulting in a horror experience which will sends shivers down your spine. Ooze and other enemies seem much larger in this PS4 version too, and therefore more formidable, even with Chris’s tree trunk-sized biceps. Customisation’s are available for all weapons in the game so you can alter your play style in accordance to your arsenal, Revelations focuses on you being swarmed from all angles to induce fear, rather than having the Ooze too bulky to defeat without considerable effort.
Numerous errors have been straightened out for the remaster and certain elements of gameplay are now enjoyable rather than irritating. Swimming for example – as it often is in video games – used to be a laborious task, where Jill would often drown thanks to annoying controls or the pesky water Ooze; the fish-like Sea Creepers who patrol the flooded areas of the bilge. But now the controls feel slick and responsive, and I actually found myself enjoying sections I’d previously loathed on the 3DS. The Dual Shock 4’s controls mean that its also much easier to open doors and aiming now feels effortless and not jerky. Although elements from the bottom screen of the 3DS have been wiped, the controls are much smoother now making Revelations feel as though it was made for the PS4.
New elements of gameplay have been added to keep Revelations appealing for those who have already completed the game on the 3DS. A new enemy, the Wall Blisters, are prominent around the Solarium, an area of Revelations which is completely optional and holds little story or anything else for that matter. However new enemies shake up this section of the game effectively, especially for those who are revisiting Revelations after its six-year original release date and want to be surprised with new features and unexpected twists.
As for the story, flashbacks are interwoven into the gameplay but I often found myself confused as to what was happening and for what reason. Common themes of bioweaponry and terrorism rise and fall with mediocre explanation and attempted humour between certain characters more often than not, misses the mark leaving certain interactions feeling awkward. Unfortunately certain things which were problematic during the original still haven’t been ironed out in this HD remake. Dodging in the 3DS version was almost impossible and is still not working effectively now. Ineffective actions definitely put a damper on this game especially when in early chapters when ammo is low and dodging is the only way to survive.
Separate to the main game, Raid Mode allows you to revisit sections of the game and face up against different enemies as different characters. To unlock raid mode, you must complete the main game which ultimately helps you in Raid as you’ll familiarise yourself with the enemies and the bosses which reside in each chapter. With Ooze of different sizes, strengths and speeds your skills really will be tested. At the end of each chapter you’ll be granted a ranking based on speed, accuracy and how much damage you took. Just like the main game difficulty increases through each chapter which the last chapter, The Ghost Ship being almost impossible to get through alive. Raid mode offers longevity to Revelations and is surprisingly addictive.
Overall an enjoyable remaster that has ironed out many, if not all, of the original’s flaws. The spooky abandoned ship setting still works beautifully, and true to the original the action and scares are well-done if not ground-breaking. Revelations is a short but refreshing instalment to the Resident Evil franchise, one that deserves to be played.