In response to a few recent games that appear to be lacking in the criteria. This is a short list and thoughts on some stand out game mechanics that developers seem to be ignoring and need to build upon.
Resident Evil: Revelations Review: Shows Us the Light
The Resident Evil series hasn’t had that great of a reputation as of late. Between the movies and the latest game releases it’s fair to say that I’ve spent more time avoiding Resident Evil as a whole then I have playing it. But fate intervened recently when I walked around my local game retailer and saw Resident Evil: Revelations. So I made an impulsive decision and picked it up.
I was afraid the minute I placed the game into my console. It’s a port from the 3DS release and I had some legitimate concerns that the quality would be degraded. I was also worried about the controls. As I said earlier, Resident Evil hasn’t had the greatest of reputations and unfortunately that reputation isn’t entirely undeserved. And as I had recently played a game whose controls were so bad that it gave me violent inclinations, I wasn’t up for another round. So imagine my surprise when Resident Evil: Revelations not only proved that it was a great Resident Evil game but that it was just a great game in general. The controls were buttery smooth, just as good as any other third person shooter on the market. Walking, shooting, and aiming were responsive to the slightest touch without any delays in movement. There was no wrestling with the camera, it all just worked.
But it wouldn’t be Resident Evil if there wasn’t an unnecessary mechanic, in the case of Resident Evil Revelations it’s called Genesis. Genesis is an optional tool that allows you to scan biomass to fill up a meter. Once the meter is full you’ll receive a green herb for free. While it does have its uses especially when you’re desperate and really need to heal for the most part you’ll never use it until you hit game mandated portions. There are hidden items in the game that can only be found by scanning but ultimately Genesis feels more like a not that well thought out gimmick.
Resident Evil:Revelations does take the opportunity to work in its horror roots. There are some genuinely tense moments in the game, I won’t say that I was scared but there were segments were I felt nervous and paranoid. I felt trapped and hunted, every little noise put me on edge and I did jump when attacked. The bosses only added to this feeling as some of them can be really challenging. You feel as though every bullet matters and wasting them by carelessly shooting at the enemy is not an option. Some enemies are of course only vulnerable in certain spots so steady hands are key. And as always when enemies falter you can run up to them and hit hard for extra damage and conserve your ammo.
The level design is very reminiscent of the original Resident Evil. It’s all tight corridors and back tracking, there are a lot of puzzles that need to be solved and I found myself writing notes down on paper so I wouldn’t forget things. And as always you’re on the hunt for crest keys that only fit in the corresponding locks. There is a hint of loving tribute in Resident Evil: Revelations throughout the entire game. You really feel like the developers want to take the player back to Resident Evil 1-4 and it’s an effort that is highly appreciated.
Resident Evil: Revelations also gives you the ability to customize your weapons. As you wander around the game you’ll stumble up weapon parts that someone carelessly left behind. Each part has its own benefit and adding them to your weapons will give you bonuses like firing faster or shooting more ammo. The best part is that the upgrades are not locked into any one weapon and if you chose you can mix and match and really create an arsenal that matches with your individual play style.
As is tradition in many modern games you do get a bonus mode called Raid Mode. Raid Mode allows you to wander around levels that are identical to the single player experience while leveling up, collecting items, unlocking extras like characters and outfits, and of course destroying swaths of the undead. The enemies undergo a few changes however to boost up the challenge, some will be stronger, some faster, and some can now be killed by a three year old hitting them with a stick covered in cotton. There is also a harder difficulty added to Raid Mode but it will involve a lot of grinding as the enemies just don’t seem to want to go down. You also have the ability to bring your level down if you decide that you suddenly hate yourself but it ramps up the challenge and can be a lot of fun. There is online multi-player so you can either play with a friend or a friendly stranger.
Resident Evil: Revelations was a real surprise to me. I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did. The controls as tight the gameplay is a great mix of modern day expectation and old school nostalgia. There was a lot more mood building then I’ve seen from a Resident Evil game in a longtime. If more of the series plays like Resident Evil: Revelations does then I might just find myself back in.
(Note: This game was reviewed after 15 hours of gameplay on the Xbox 360 and is also available on the PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, and PC. This copy was purchased by the reviewer).