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PREVIEW

RESIDENT EVIL: REVELATIONS

With Rayman going multiformat, and Capcom taking last year's 3DS Resident Evil and adapting it to home console, it emphasises that, first-party exclusives aside, single format releases are nearing extinction.

Revelations echoes Resident Evil 4, the GameCube best-seller turned multiform blockbuster whose success wasn't dented by the sideways transfer. However, the story's not quite the same here. Switching from lower-power handheld to machines that are still surprising graphically seven years into their life cycle is a harder sell.

You can argue that it's more Resident Evil - and that isn't a bad excuse for fans who lacked the hardware to play first time round. An argument strengthened by the fact that it's more in keeping with the classic formula than the marked change of type in last year's Resident Evil 6. But aside from a visual makeover - think HD remake rather than upscaled port - this mirrors the oceanic Resident Evil released on 3DS early last year, barnacles and all.

Resident Evil: Revelations
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Capcom went for punchy Chapter divides rather than continuous story for Revelations, partly to better subdivide the interweaving cast you control (and their different perspectives and cliffhangers a nod to the television serials it imitates) as well as syncing the play style with the portability and expected gameplay brevity of gamers hunched over the 3DS.

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The translation doesn't sting as much as you'd think. The structure isn't without precedent on home formats - Alan Wake did so to great success. Our re-run through Chapter 4 clocks in at thirty seconds shy of thirty minutes on the concluding stats screen. Other Chapters are shorter, some longer. It's only in retrospect do you perhaps realise how little you've done: walked through a few rooms, shot a handful of zombies. Feel your toes curl up inside your shoes once too often.

Resident Evil: Revelations

Because unlike RE6, there's genuine unease in the slow-burn sections of Revelations. You explore the interior of a huge cruiser turned biohazard outbreak as Jill Valentine, with zombie encounters few and sudden, Capcom making sure to scare you as twisted mutations lunge out from the darkness. Gloomy tight corridors and sparse ammo still make you as edgy on a Samsung 32 inch TV as you were on a 3.5 inch 3DS screen.

There's still bullet-storms when you're flexing Chris Redfield's muscle in a co-current story as Capcom dual-wield the action and survival elements of their horror series as cast and story criss-cross, and it's a better split and more even pacing than perhaps the trio of gameplay styles seen in RE6.

The conversion makes for an odd mix however. The central character models are as good as anything from the home console entries, and though short, cut-scenes really emphasise the quality the 3DS was cooking with last year. Yet environments and enemies clash with that HD upgrade. Enlarged, the plain walls and rooms look sparse and lacking the heavier details you'd expect at this point of a generation cycle. Not every location suffers the same problem, but you're reminded of the heritage of the game instead of being fully absorbed in your exploration.

Resident Evil: Revelations

Likewise the albino mutations, gross white zombies, coloured so as to stand out against the gloom and make for easier aiming of body parts on the 3DS, look bland on their TV debut, and the bigger picture unfortunately robs these encounters of their claustrophobic menace.

Capcom's made the right call of not overloading the screen UI now they've had to subtract the secondary screen from the equation. Grenades and weapons types are changeable with the D-Pad, with their on-screen icons, as well as the map, remaining translucent. 3D map and other menu options are opened through a press of the Back/Select button.

One thing that definitely remains as strong as before is the score: an atmospheric soundtrack that plays it erie throughout. Coupled with the on-screen tension, it's quality stuff.

In our original 8/10 review of the 3DS version, we stated that "Revelations gives the approximation of a full-scale Resident Evil game rather than a poorer offshoot," and because of that, it was worth the bite. That still holds true: as a portable take on the franchise, it's still brilliant.

Resident Evil: Revelations

But time's passed, and while the original's pricing still skirts the thirty quid mark, there's a definite sense that this re-release should match a more budget-friendly RRP given its history. So the estimated price point of a penny shy of forty pounds (£34.99 for the Wii U version) seems too steep. Cheaper than buying a 3DS to play the game in its original format, but much too much for a re-release of an approximation of the real deal on home console.

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