Resident Evil: Revelations HD is a great game, let me just start out by saying that. Capcom went into full damage control after the critical failure of Resident Evil 6; Revelations is a huge step in the right direction for getting the series back on track. I'm thrilled to see the company taking the appropriate steps to herd fans back into the world of survival horror.
As most may know, over the course of the last generation, Resident Evil lost its way with trying to compete with other third-person shooters and horror titles, forgetting what made Resident Evil so successful and well...a classic. Revelations, while sharing similar gameplay with Resident Evil 4 through 6, captures the feel of the original games and it's a nice indication that they're returning to the roots with the inevitable Resident Evil 7.
However, Resident Evil: Revelations is in essence, a distraction. It was originally developed for the Nintendo 3DS and released last year - the HD port was undoubtedly meant to sate the fans' appetites until the next game and pretty much say, "Hey, here's proof that we're bringing Resident Evil back to where it belongs." It's not huge and it doesn't affect the canon or introduce anything new. Either way, it works and that is just fine by me. Giving the HD treatment to an already rather popular title is a low-risk method of getting the word out.
Revelations returns to the survival horror element and this has been a long time coming. Limited ammunition, emphasis on exploration and puzzle solving are present elements as well. Like in the previous three games (four if you count Operation Raccoon City,) there is an over-the-shoulder camera view. Revelations also carries the torch from RE6 and allows players to move while aiming and it also offers the option to switch between a first-person and third-person view. Revelations also introduces a new item called Genesis that detects hidden items throughout the environment.
The premise of Revelations is rather simple: the game is set between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 and it depicts the events shortly after the founding of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) as officially introduced in Resident Evil 5. The story revolves around Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, the protagonists of the first Resident Evil. During the game's events, Jill and Parker Luciani are sent to search for Chris Redfield and Jessica Sherawat on the SS Queen Zenobia, that serves as the game's setting. The game's story includes a flashback to the prior year, which revolves around the "floating" metropolis of Terragrigia and an attack on the city by a bioterrorist organisation called Veltro. Jill and Parker are sent to locate Chris and Jessica; they'd reportedly gone missing and lost contact during their mission to investigate Veltro's reappearance.
While the narrative certainly isn't the most interesting, the game makes up for it with scares and not just the cheap "Boo!" scares that Resident Evil has developed over the years. Revelations has some rather disturbing camera tricks and lighting during the game's intense moments. There is also a true sense of claustrophobia among the game's main setting and you'll often find yourself preparing heavily before turning the corner.
While supposedly continuing through the campaign to progress through the narrative, in essence, you're basically unlocking maps and character models in the game's multiplayer mode. Once you realise that getting through the narrative rewards you with multiplayer unlocks, it'll be hard to actually enjoy the campaign: you'll be doing it for the rewards.
I'm not much of a multiplayer person whatsoever when it comes to gaming unless it's Grand Theft Auto, Forza or the occasional binge of Battlefield or Call of Duty. Revelations did not change my outlook, but it was still enjoyable. Once the seven-to-eight hour campaign is over, there are still hours to be had playing online. Your missions are simple: kill everything and traverse maps introduced in the campaign. You can unlock merchandise with the money raised in between missions and continue.
Weapons are randomised, much like a massively multiplayer online game so there is always the option of finding a shotgun with a quicker reload speed or a handgun that does more damage. There could have been a lot more added to raise value, but one must remember that it did start off as a 3DS title and this is just a mere port.
Overall, Revelations works for what it is. It has its problems like anything - mostly just pacing and narrative - but the perfect blend of old and new and giving you the choice to change from 'shooter' and 'classic' controls is lovely. With the eerie music, claustrophobic themes and feeling of a well-done experience, it serves as a nice little low-key distraction while we wait for Resident Evil 7. If you're feeling sceptical, I recommend giving it a go once the price drops. I feel as though $50 for an HD port/non-canon/almost unofficial game is a bit absurd, especially considering the original version is significantly cheaper.
Just bear in mind that it is not a main entry in the series; it isn't supposed to be. Think of it as a treat from Capcom or an apology and appeasement for Resident Evil 6 if it had disappointed you. Revelations is the best game in the series for the last four or so years and hopefully it serves as an indication of what's to come.