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Resident Evil Revelations Collection

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre: Action
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: Nov. 28, 2017

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Switch Review - 'Resident Evil Revelations Collection'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Nov. 30, 2017 @ 1:50 a.m. PST

Survival horror makes it way to the Nintendo Switch with this 2 game collection featuring Resident Evil Revelations and a downloadable voucher for Resident Evil Revelations 2.

Buy Resident Evil Revelations Collection

Resident Evil is as an eccentric franchise. What began as a simple zombie story in an isolated mansion eventually ballooned to stories involving superpowered protagonists fighting giant monsters in an underwater secret laboratory for the fate of the world. For some, this is part of the appeal of the franchise, but as Resident Evil 7 shows, there was also demand for the franchise's old-school horror. The first attempt Capcom made to bridge the gap between horror and action-horror was the Resident Evil Revelations subfranchise. The first game was a 3DS exclusive, and the second was a series of episodic digital download releases. The Resident Evil Revelations Collection offers both games together for the first time, though with mixed results.

The first game in the collection, Resident Evil Revelations, was set between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. Players are once again thrust into the shoes of longtime series protagonist Jill Valentine, now a member of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA). When investigating an organization known as Veltro, Jill is captured and locked aboard a luxury cruise liner named the Queen Zenobia. As is normal for Jill, the cruise liner is also infested with a new breed of bioweapons created from the T-Abyss Virus. Jill must find her way off the ship and stop Veltro from unleashing their virus upon the world.

Resident Evil Revelations exists as a midpoint between the old-school Resident Evil titles and the more modern Resident Evil 4-style titles. As such, it attempts to bridge the gap with two different story elements. In one, you play as Jill and must explore the ocean liner. This certainly has elements of the modern Resident Evil titles, including manual aiming and melee attacks, but it also evokes the old-school Resident Evil games with backtracking, puzzles and light exploration. Every so often, you'll be interrupted by excursions off the Queen Zenobia to see what other members of BSAA are up to. These sections feature straightforward action and involve characters who are more heavily armed but less customizable.

Resident Evil Revelations is still a remarkably fun game. Its flaws are more apparent than they were when the title was released on the 3DS. The environments are fairly small, and the enemy numbers are not very high. There are a lot of noticeable concessions to the game's handheld nature, and the faux-episodic nature of the title feels out of place. You can see the corners that had been cut and compromises that had to be made.

On the other hand, Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a more ambitious game and follows two different groups of characters. Series mainstay Claire Redfield is joined by Moira Burton, the daughter of STARS agent Barry Burton. The pair are working for Terra Save, an anti-bioweapon organization, when they are kidnapped and brought to a bioweapon-infested island that they try to escape. Six months later, Barry Burton comes to the island looking for his daughter and encounters a little girl named Natalia who he protects while trying to unravel the island's mysteries. The game jumps back and forth between the two stories, using Barry to build up the mystery of what happens to Claire and Moira.

Revelations 2 was released in episodic chunks, and the gameplay reflects that. It's divided into two sections: a Claire/Moira section and a Barry/Natalia section. The Claire/Moira sections tend to be more focused on horror, while Barry/Natalia sections feature more action, with different monsters, obstacles, and threats to face. You'll have to play a Claire section before a Barry section, and what you do in one section impacts the other. For example, if you set a trap to kill monsters in Claire's section, it may end up blocking Barry later. As Claire, if you aren't careful with a powerful monster, it may harass Barry later. In essence, you can decide who has the harder time, but the carry-over between stages isn't always obvious.

Unlike the Resident Evil 5 style of gameplay, Revelations 2 may have cooperative partners, but they are not equal. Claire and Barry are the damage dealers in this equation and play like standard Resident Evil protagonists. Moira and Natalia are more supporting characters. Moira can smash things with a crowbar but doesn't use a gun. Instead, she can use a flashlight to stun or harass enemies, so Claire can smash them. Natalia is even less combat-focused and can mostly distract enemies or point out their weak points so Barry can more accurately target them. Players can swap between the characters, but you'll mostly use Claire and Barry.

Revelations 2 is designed for co-op gameplay, but the Switch isn't a great choice for it. The co-op is awkward, and that was a problem with the original release as well. Attempting co-op on a handheld device is an exercise in futility, and even on the television screen, there's a lot of wasted visual space that makes it less pleasant. It'll probably be worth it if you have a more casual gamer to play with, as Natalia and Moira are clearly designed for players who aren't comfortable with accurate shooting or more intense mechanics.

Both games in the Revelations collection also offer Raid mode, which can best be described as Resident Evil Diablo. You're thrown into bite-sized chunks of the game and challenged to make your way through as you defeat enemies, collect loot, and gather new characters. Oddly enough, Revelations has the better of the two Raid modes, despite Revelations 2 having been released later. Revelations has a simpler and more cohesive mode, so it doesn't feel overtaxed and everything flows naturally. In contrast, the Raid mode in Revelations 2 was designed to add value between episodic releases, but since all of the episodes are in Revelations Collection, what you get feels grindy instead. Of the two, I'd much rather play the simpler mode in Revelations than Revelations 2's more refined but less enjoyable one.

Both games in the Switch port of Resident Evil Revelations offer new motion controls, but like most games that haven't been designed from the ground up with motion controls in mind, it doesn't add anything to the experience. Technically, you can use them to do some fine-tuned aiming, but the mechanics aren't designed with that in mind, and it feels awkward and poorly implemented. It feels more like a bullet point for the back of the box than a useful feature. The Resident Evil 4 port for the Wii makes great use of motion controls, so it's possible for backported motion controls to accentuate a game, but it's not the case here. You can certainly finish the games using motion controls, but unless you're a die-hard aficionado of them, you're likely reverting to button controls ASAP. There are two simple minigames added to the collection, but neither is particularly fun. One is a simple scrolling shooter, and the other a level of a Ghouls N Ghosts parody starring Barry Burton. They can be played to earn some bonus BP but otherwise aren't worth much.

In terms of port quality, the Resident Evil Revelations Collection is a mixed bag because the loading times are through the roof. Revelations is not as bad as Revelations 2, but both games have significantly longer loading times than expected. Revelations 2 is easily the worst of the two, and it drags down that game. Revelations began as a handheld game, and unfortunately, it's best to remain that way. Both games display noticeable visual weaknesses when played in docked mode but look fine in handheld mode. Since Revelations was designed for a 3DS, it just feels right. Neither game is particularly bad-looking, and loading time aside, the port does a fine job with the visuals. It's just that both were rather low-budget games to begin with.

All in all, the Resident Evil Revelations Collection is a sub-par port of a pair of fun games. It's by no means unplayable, but it's not the best way to play either title. The new features are either ignorable or actively detrimental, and the ports suffer from extended loading times and lack of ambition. If you're a fan of the franchise, it's probably something you can push past, but the Switch version only adds a couple of minigames and the ability to play Revelations 2 on the go. Fans of the franchise who missed out on Revelations may want to snag the collection, but casual players may want to wait and see if the loading times are patched.

Score: 7.5/10


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