Revelations is a rather interesting part of the Resident Evil series. On one hand, it does feel like a side-story, not part of the main series. On the other, it often plays more like what Resident Evil used to be, than the newest entries. It feels like a more focused and better put together game, than Resident Evil 6 (released same year). But at the same time, doesn’t evoke the same feelings, RE6 does, feels like designers lacked confidence and built the game by the checklist, not by their inner desires.
Basic gameplay and the main parts of the game are really well done. Controls and some of the principles feel almost a perfect fit for a potential remake of the classic RE games, both in a more survival horror auto-aim style, and survival action over the shoulder more action style. Stuff no longer falls from enemies (except for rare cases of mini-boss encounters, most of which can be skipped), ammo is rather scarce, running away is very often a very viable and even preferable option. Many locations are very narrow, but there is a rather well implemented dodge move, which is quite important to master. There’s more freedom of exploration and good old “hey I found a key, let’s open the door from before” moments, than even in Resident Evil 4. Although, it never quite truly tries to go full RE0-CV in terms of allowing you to roam free, since game is divided into chapters and quite a lot of them limit your options by some story reasons.
However, there’s a bigger issue with chapters. Sadly, despite the main part of the game being good and very classic RE-like most of the time, developers constantly shoehorn boring, repetitive and action heavy chapters from other characters perspectives into the flow of the game. Those tend to reuse areas from before, don’t use the same weapon/herb/weapon upgrade setup as the main game and are, ultimately, completely disposable except for several key moment, which could’ve been done as non interactive cutscenes and nothing of value would’ve been lost. Part of the reason behind their existence is probably due to Capcom’s fear, that game will sell less if there’s not enough action in it.
And another part is due to the silly story the game has. Now, Resident Evil games always had silly stories, but they tend to be awesomely silly, when you know that events you’re watching unfold are dumb, all the characters are quite over the top, but it’s so awesome you can’t help but love it. And, besides, there was always a layer of seriousness in the story, which made for a good contrast with all the silliness. RE6 is that. Revelations is not. It’s just plain stupid, always trying to look smart with all the plot twists and out of order side-chapter reveals. But at the end of the day, it’s just all dumb, full of new characters with crazy outfits and hairstyles, whom we will never ever see again, most likely, apart from the main duo of Chris and Jill and one small character, who had minor appearance in RE5. Also, Parker is quite clearly the result of developers wanting to have Barry Burton but not being able to for story reasons. And also, Jill is rather weirdly redesigned and looks a bit creepy.
Creepy mostly due to the fact, that this game wasn’t vastly visually improved over the 3DS version, so facial animations are crap, and many models and textures are rather “meh”. Game still looks quite good, but there’s a huge difference between it and RE6 even in how dynamic enemies’ reactions to being shot are in RE6, and how boring shooting enemies in Revelations is. It doesn’t detract much enjoyment from the game, but is rather noticeable.
There’s also an interesting bonus mode, called Raid mode. Unlike RE4-style Mercenaries (which I could never get into, to be honest), it plays much more like Mercenaries: Operation Mad Jackal from RE3 or The 4th Survivor from RE2. There’s no time limit (but time affects your rating), you don’t *have* to kill every enemy, and the main point is getting to a specific place on the map. But along the way you can (and sometimes have to) kill enemies, potentially find ammo, upgrades and new weapons. It’s a really fun mode that can be played solo or co-op. It has one big issue, though, which ties with the fact, that the game was designed to be portable. In a “gotta catch ’em all” way, there’s a lot of stuff to get, get leveled up and such, but it’s very grindy in nature, meant to be played in short bursts and gets quite repetitive fast otherwise. Hence, on a portable device it’s a definitely more fun mode to play, than on a PC or console.
Overall, a really solid game, with nice return to the oldschool ideals for most of the time, and disposable annoying sequences inserted in between the enjoyable main game.