Fast forward and, after wrapping up RE4, I was caught up on all the series had to offer at the time. By the time I had the opportunity to play RE5 I had heard enough about the frustrations of the AI partner and the mixed reviews, and I decided to skip it. Then RE6 came along and snippets of info was enough to scare me away from that one. It just felt like a strange deviation from what attracted me to the series.
Once RE7 was announced I had grown eager to return. This is a game that reminded me why Resident Evil is one of my favorite series. It looked and felt amazing. The environments were truly terrifying, and I actually jumped a few times. It defined what survival horror should always be.
Which brings me to Resident Evil Revelations. Purchased for PlayStation 4, I figured I would give it a shot. Knowing nothing about it, I placed my order.
Here’s where it fell flat:
- It’s far too linear, with extremely straight forward puzzles (if you can even call them that).
- The episodic format is just plain annoying. Why does Capcom feel the need to interrupt action with an archaic grading system? Do we really need a “previously on...” after every short level? This isn't an arcade game.
- The story frequently jumps around between characters, locations, and times haphazardly. Consequently, the story is slow and dry, and you never get to identity with any of the characters.
- For survival horror, it’s missing the “horror”. Everyone is such a silly Hollywood action caricature and the monsters are so casually tossed in from the start that there is zero suspense, zero fear, and zero sense of danger.
- The dialogue is cringe worthy and speckled with blatant sexism. And the women are highly sexualized in a way that is absurd.
- You are hit over the head with guidance, even in the most obvious of situations, in the form of map markers and NPC chatter. This kills the sense of discovery.
- Having an NPC partner adds little to the game. Enemies mostly ignore them as they fire shots that seem to do little to no damage. There is a formula that is reused throughout the game where the NPCs point you in the right direction, follow you, wait at a place you need an item to engage with, and repeat.
- Ammo reappears in locations you have already been. It's an immersion killer.
- The scanning mechanic is tedious. You kill an enemy and scan it, and then scan the entire room, over and over again.
This wouldn't be the first time that a Resident Evil title let me down. Zero and Outbreak were also let downs, just for different reasons.
There is a bright side to Revelations, however. At least, I think so. I just played the first hour of Revelations 2, and I'm amazed at how much of an improvement it is in so many ways. I was gripped from the start, and felt the horror that was missing in its predecessor. The team mechanics are sensible, the monsters more terrifying, and the environments are engrossing. While it still is more linear than I prefer my RE games, it gives a better sense of being free roaming. My only beef with the sequel, thus far, is that it clearly was influenced with many of the mechanics and feel of games like The Last of Us. To be fair, those mechanics weren't all original on their own, and have become commonplace. All in all, I have high hopes for this sequel.