Sunday, 19 February 2012

Resident Evil Revelations and the Circle Pad Pro

Having finished Resident Evil Revelations about a couple of weeks ago, blitzing the raid mode and so on with both the Circle Pad Pro(the latest addition to the 3DS), i thought it a good time to give my thoughts on how the game plays, which control scheme i prefer, and of course, how well the Circle Pad Pro(CPP from here on) works. So let's start with Revelations.

Resident Evil Revelations is yet another addition to the ever growing Resident Evil franchise, which Capcom themselves has said, would bring back horror to the series. This was a huge statement for them to make, specially considering how both 4 and 5 had put less emphasis on it, 5 more so than 4 obviously. So it wouldn't be too surprising to say i was a little sceptical about it all. not only that, but how would the game work control wise? Thankfully, both of these where answered well.

Horror, or rather, Survival horror was always what the series was best known for, and with this, it certainly brings them back to the genre, even if just a bit. The atmosphere for the majority of the setting, which is an abandoned ship named the Queen Zenobia, is that of what you probably remember of the first game. A, what appears to be, ship in which there is noone left alive and you are left there to investigate and survive your time there. And it feels like it too. You get feeling of hesitance at some points within the game of, what will be round here, and will something jump out of nowhere. There is even a point late into the game in which the lights flicker a lot, and it leaves you thinking, will something just appear suddenly or not. That is what i was after, finally giving me the sense of horror again. That's not to say there was tonnes, there is points in the game in which you play as Chris/Jessica and Keith/Quint in other settings which focus more on action and combat than it does your survivability. In those sections, there is just no sense of fear given to you. The ship sections do though, not always to the same extent, but there is something there, an element in the background maybe, which is a step in the right direction. One can only hope Capcom keep to this with Resident Evil 6.

Jill exploring the many mysteries of the ship

Now for the gameplay. Resident Evil has always been known for standing still when aiming and shooting, but for the first time in the series(not including Mercenaries 3D), you can move and shoot. This may seem like a small detail, but it's pretty big in terms of this series. However, when using the original control scheme, without the CPP, you have to hold both shoulder buttons to be able to move, and you can't alter your aim at the same time. This is a little hit and miss for me, but it makes sense with the controls you are given. Hold R and hit Y to fire, B to reload and x for subweapon(with/without R), you get the idea. This is ok for the most part, but it gets a little more stressful later in the game when you have more enemies flying out at you, specially with Raid mode. Thankfully, there is an alternative you can use in the CPP. It is £15 so it's a bit of an investment for use in just one game at present. However, the extra circle pad, and three extra shoulder buttons is fantastic. You can aim and move as you would in most third person shooters with this setup, the keybindings you get as normal are comfortable and it doesn't take too long to get used to. It also helps those of you who found the 3DS to be too small to handle as well. I'll do a small post on the CPP itself later, but for the purpose of Revelations, it's a big hit. You can also switch between third person and first person perspectives in aiming, third person being the one i'd recommend. The rest of the games system is very much what you've come to expect. Move aim shoot kill zombie-like things. But this time, enemies do not drop ammo and herbs, you need to find some about, or use your scanner which for stories sake, is to identify what these things are and the virus used, to find items in the environment. Scanning enough enemies awards you with a single green herb as well. asides from that, you can control a lot of the reloading and item switching via the touch screen, and that is also the only way you can access your inventroy and map.

Environments look nice both with/without 3D

Story and 3D. Now the story is very much what we've come to expect from Resident Evil now they've moved passed the Raccoon City events. The BSAA have been called in to investigate this abandoned ship which was where Chris/Jessicas last known co-ordinates where set to. This leads into a decently paced, yet perhaps slightly obvious road in which you try to find out who did it, and who is behind everything. It does bring in new characters to the team, so if you are getting tired of seeing Jill sandwiches and that guy Chris, then this helps, as well as a new look into the BSAA and who they are. The characters themselves do enough to carry the story, and does bring into question some things about Chris and Jills relationship and what kind of level it is at, not by their interactions so much as their interactions with their partners in it, but there isn't much else to say for them. What was more interesting was the new look into the BSAA and rival organisations and how, despite being on the same side, they have completely different mind-sets into how to deal with these biohazards and those affected by them. It could maybe have done with a few more twists and turns here and there, but it was certainly solid.

The 3D itself is probably the most comfortable i've seen in a 3DS game to date. I played about 3/4s of the game before i had realised i had never turned off the 3D once. It's a little more uncomfortable when set to strong and obviously more so with Strongest. Do things appear to work better with it? Yes, to an extent. You do get that feeling of things being a bit closer than they are to you and further away, and it doesn't really drop the frame rate either which is a bonus. The only times that hits you really is when you go between certain sections of the game, though they thankfully keep you in small rooms when they do that loading, as to not affect your general gameplay for the rest of the game.

Finally, there is achievements in the game if you are one of those who likes them. They unlock things in the game like the Raid mode, which is a co-op/multiplayer mode or single player, if you prefer that, in which you play through the sequences of the game in a mission mode style of play. Going against different times and killing everything you can while taking as few hits as possible so that you can get the best rank you can. The streetpass works for this by giving you extra missons with unique unlockables for weapons and custom parts which gives it that extra re-playability value. And you level up as well, which helps as the enemies themselves level up with difficulty and progression. You need to finish the first three chapters for this at first and you get Jill/Chris/Parker to play as at first, but you get more as you play both modes.

So overall. I was extremely happy with this game, and still am. I got my moneys worth with this and the CPP. I keep pushing on with the Raid mode and my hard difficulty playthrough, completing every misson i can buying weapons and levelling up as much as i can to get those achievements and unlockables. I'd recommend anyone who is a fan of the series, or in general looking for games on the 3DS to play to get this. Well worth the pick-up.

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