By CHRIS CAMPBELL — "Resident Evil: Revelations"
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, 3DS
ESRB Rating: M, for Mature
Grade: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
Less than six months ago, "Resident Evil 6" arrived and disappointed both franchise fans and general shooting-game audiences alike, and left Capcom searching for a boost to keep one of its flagship franchises afloat.
That lifeboat appears in the form of "Revelations," a game originally built for the 3DS that was highly reviewed and one of the best shooters the handheld platform has going for it. But converted into a full-fledged console release, the game fails to live up to expectations.
For those who didn't play the 3DS version, a quick plot summary: Taking place in between the events of "Resident Evil 4" and "Resident Evil 5," our heroes are aboard the doomed vessel Queen Zenobia. Chris, Jill, Jessica and all the usuals scour the ship and find mutated creatures of all kinds, all the while uncovering mountains of clues and spouting off horrible dialogue. Oh, and violence ensues.
The combat feels good as the game returns to its roots of limited ammo and a mix of enemies both lumbering and spritely in nature. The game throws up plenty of scare moments, and most all are successfully done. I was still caught by several of them, and I remember most of the 3DS version from last year. The benefit of playing with dual analog sticks (the 3DS has only one) makes everything a bit too easy, but, in all, you'll experience a healthy challenge.
The game falters in just about every other arena, however. AI movements make little sense, and having two characters in each of the game's chapters only highlights how much the character under your control shoulders 99 percent of the load. Your companion can't shoot a lick, and makes himself/herself useful when opening doors and that is about it. Crap dialogue included, and you will wish this game allowed you to go solo instead of dragging your partner along.
"Revelations" also fails to hold up graphically. Yes, the 3-D aspects work perfectly on the 3DS, but strip those away and throw the game up on a 50-inch HDTV and the game loses a lot of luster. It's not a total fail, visually, but these screen hang-ups and glitches should have been solved when porting the game up to consoles like this. The benefit that Wii U users will enjoy is the HUD getting mapped onto the GamePad instead of on your TV screen like the other versions.
(Follow Chris Campbell at twitter.com/campbler or email him at game_on_games(at)mac.com.)