Welcome to The Backlog, where I’ll play old games that I’ve missed. Enjoy reading about this scrub getting game overs repeatedly as I complain about archaic game design or something like that.
I missed a lot of Resident Evil. I’ve played through Resident Evil 2 and Nemesis, but I fell off the series during my long gaming hiatus. Now that I can catch up on a lot of gaming-related things, of course I’d pick up one of my favorite franchises.
Even though I know that the Resident Evil Revelations series isn’t exactly the best representation of modern Resident Evil, I’m sure I’ll have fun. It goes without saying, however, that I still won’t touch Capcom’s weird solution to get Resident Evil 7 on the Switch.
A Compromise of Sorts
I’m pretty sure in the years since the two games were released, everything that can be said about them have been published and regurgitated over and over. So I’ll be quick about this: Resident Evil went too far into the action horror side of things with 4 to 6, and not enough survival horror.
Resident Evil Revelations, originally released for the 3DS, was meant to bring back survival horror to the franchise despite jettisoning tank controls for good. Resident Evil Revelations 2, on the other hand, was released for traditional consoles in an episodic format, and was meant to appease long-time fans who felt let down by RE 6’s balls to the wall action.
Since the original Resident Evil Revelations was released for a handheld system, instead of one continuous game from beginning to end, the story was broken up into chapters. I like this decision for handheld – this means when I’m in the middle of a commute, I can play for a good hour or two and then set the game down after the chapter ends. But when I’m in docked mode, it’s annoying to have the story broken up immediately after finishing a section and getting a recap of something that I literally experienced just five minutes ago. It’s a minor quibble that I really don’t mind, but it can get grating every now and then.
For both Revelations games, we get to play in a behind-the-shoulder perspective instead of the classic tank controls. I’m okay with that. Tank controls may have been instrumental to classic RE’s atmosphere, but I can’t say that it’s a pleasant control experience.
But if you miss the clunky controls of the olden days, don’t worry. The first Revelations‘ controls can be a bit of a struggle to deal with. It’s not horrible by any means, but compared to the buttery smooth controls of Revelations 2 it feels a bit archaic.
Playing on the Nintendo Switch gives me a bit of an advantage, however. In true Nintendo fashion, we get motion aiming, which helps a lot when I get swarmed with BOWs. However, Capcom left in a weird quirk – I can only get motion aiming when I’m portable mode or when I’m using the Joy-Cons in docked mode. If you’re using a Pro Controller, you’re out of luck and you need to rely on the analog sticks. It’s not horrible by any means, but switching between motion and stick aiming isn’t an idea situation. I’ve had these games for months, and Capcom has not patched this rather glaring omission.
Companions, Companions Everywhere
Capcom sure loves to insert AI companions into their modern RE games, and of course everyone gets a companion here.
Jill Valentine gets Parker Luciani, Chris Redfield gets Jessica Sherawat (aka The Most Annoying Resident Evil Character Ever Created And That’s Saying Something For This Series), and for the sequel Claire Redfield gets Barry Burton’s daughter Moira, and Barry gets a mysterious girl with psychic abilities named Natalia Korda.
Thank god they’re not like Ashley Graham, who was pretty much useless and prone to dying. Your companions are actually pretty useful, providing backup fire/projectiles/melee attacks, or in the case of Revelations 2, you can switch to the companions and they can find hidden objects and detect invisible enemies. They’re not perfect – companions are pretty useless during boss fights, for example – but I honestly didn’t mind having them around this time.
So the first Revelations is the tougher game – I actually stopped playing for a good three months thanks to an impossible area. There’s no way to restart a chapter in the first game, so I had to grudgingly restart the entire game. The second game is more forgiving, although it hews closer to the action horror side of things compared to the first one. The tension Revelations 2 builds up in its first chapter is amazing, though – it’s honestly chilling, despite the same-y look of everything in the frigging island, versus the first game’s beautiful abandoned cruise ship setting.
Convoluted But Fun
In classic Resident Evil fashion, the story makes no sense. With a title like Revelations, you’d think both games would go and reveal something big that may change the way we see previous games or characters. Nope.
For the first game, we get treated to a convoluted government conspiracy that sets the tone for the fifth RE, and for the second game, well, it’s not even a sequel of the first game. It’s a completely different story that has a very shallow connection to the first game. It;s the sort of game that throws a lot of Dante Alighieri and Franz Kafka quotes at you and everyone in the game treats it like it’s some deep thing.
But hey, if you ignore all of the cringe-inducing moments and treat the plot as an excuse to throw these characters in the most ludicrous situations ever, you’re going to have a lot of fun. This is Resident Evil after all, and if you don’t end up cringing at least once at the bad writing/voice acting/convoluted plot, then it failed.
The Final Word
So, do I recommend the Resident Evil Revelations Collection for the Nintendo Switch? Hell yeah. I might be a bit biased because this is one of my favorite franchises, but these are pretty good games. They may not be the pinnacle of the horror survival genre, but they’re pretty fine games on their own, providing a mix of scares, challenging puzzles, and action setpieces.