Testing the Waters
Capcom is one of the few third-party developers who hasn’t doubled down on the Switch. They’re unsure of Nintendo’s new console due to their experience with the Wii U (which is a fair concern), but after everyone else and their grandmother started bringing great games to the system, Capcom is still lagging behind.
As of right now, the biggest games they’ve got coming out on the system are Resident Evil Revelations and Resident Evil Revelations 2. Both ports of pre-existing titles on last-gen consoles, there wasn’t a lot of work that needed to be done to bring them to the Nintendo Switch. There are some added motion controls and HD Rumble support but not much else.
This review will be focused on the first game in this sub-series, which originally came out on the 3DS back in 2012. Now being re-released half a decade later on a shiny new console, how does it hold up?
When you hear the name Resident Evil, I immediately think of horror games and zombies. While I’ve never played an entry in the franchise, I know enough about it to get by. It started out as a survival shooter before going in the direction of an action shooter. Capcom got a lot of flack in this change of direction before they rebooted the series with Resident Evil 7.
In between that, we have Resident Evil Revelations. It was generally held in higher regard than 5 or 6, but to be honest, I’m not really sure why. At its core, Resident Evil Revelations is devoid of all creepy ambiance and horror that made the series so memorable. It’s a fairly generic action shooter and not a great start for Capcom on the Switch.
A Tall Tale
I’m getting a little ahead of myself, though. Let me walk you through the premise of the game. You start off as Jill Valentine and her partner exploring an abandoned ship looking for comrades. As you travel through, you uncover the truth about what they’re really doing as well as a plot involving a city that was overrun by B.O.W.s (which are basically this game’s version of zombies).
The game is told in an episodic format, which reminds players that it used to be a 3DS game. I’m fine with this approach, but having a “previously on Resident Evil Revelations” cutscene play every time I load my save file is frankly quite irritating and unnecessary. Thankfully, it can be skipped.
As the story itself unfolds, it left me very underwhelmed. One of its major problems is that it will start revealing characters like it’s some sort of big deal, but not explain why they’re a big deal until later on in the game. Because of this, you’re constantly jumping between different time periods and locations, and it’s all very jarring. The entire payoff for the campaign also felt like something you’d find in one of the Resident Evil movies (and that’s not a compliment).
Going along with the abysmal story is how the characters interact with each other during gameplay. This is easily the worst part of the whole package. Every character (minus Jill) has horrible, cringe-worthy dialogue that’s trying to be funny and meaningful and not succeeding in either category. Every time they started to talk about their feelings and trust, my ears were bleeding.
Shoot First, Ask Questions Later
Next comes the gameplay, and it’s not great either. Resident Evil Revelations was clearly a 3DS game at one point. The controls are extremely stiff, you can’t sprint, and it takes multiple button presses to access certain gear.
You’ll mostly be walking through crowded hallways reaching objectives and encountering some special zombie-type creatures along the way. In terms of design, they are pretty creepy, but in terms of how they’re integrated into the game, they’re just irritating. Any time you play as Jill, you’ll be struggling with ammo management. The B.O.W.s are nothing more than damage sponges, with you wasting an entire magazine before one finally goes down. It won’t be long before you’re searching the area for any sort of ammo. This would be fine if there were some other, more skill-based way to take down the enemies, but there isn’t. You just press the right trigger to use your knife, and it’s every bit as ineffective as using it in Call of Duty: Zombies on round 30. It wasn’t such an issue during levels when I played as other characters, but when you spend most of your time as Jill, it doesn’t exactly redeem the game.
Thankfully, Resident Evil Revelations doesn’t just offer a campaign to play. There’s also a Raid Mode, which is way more thought out. You choose a level, get a weapon loadout, and are tasked with fighting waves of enemies to get the highest score possible. As you do better in each level, you get more points that you can spend to get better gear. This mode can also be played over online multiplayer, but I was unable to test that out for this review. Needless to say, it’s an experience that I guarantee would be enhanced with other people around.
Being now ported to the Nintendo Switch, Capcom incorporated motion controls and HD Rumble. in the package. Swipe left to use your knife, throw your arm down to reload, and wave the controller to aim. While they were cute for a while, the sad truth is that they don’t work well (minus the aiming). I constantly found myself having to swing my arm several times before a character would actually draw their knife. I will say that the HD Rumble was fairly decent.
To be fair, Resident Evil Revelations isn’t all bad. It manages to have one of the best loading screens I’ve ever seen in a game and brings in a Raid Mode that’s quite enjoyable for a time. The game also runs at a rock solid 60 fps and I never experienced any hint of slowdown or glitches.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Resident Evil Revelations was provided by Capcom for this Resident Evil Revelations review.