It offers both strands of the Resident Evil horror experience: action and survival, splitting the gameplay between the two before slowly bleeding the two together.
In light of the announcement trailer for Resident Evil 6, it no longer feels experimental stop-gap between high-profile releases, but more significant prologue to November's release. The mix of narratives and play-styles promised then is played out with a high degree of success here.
It's a logical step for the series and the distinct strands of gameplay compliment other, intermeshed through three perspectives and fractured time frame - that ragged structure aiding story twists and dividing play styles evenly - to give the franchise a credible future.
Resident Evil TV
The division, longer Survival Horror beats as Jill and new partner Parker investigate the ever-growing labyrinth of a ship's interior are intercut with short bursts of outright action as we switch to two other BSAA pairs on their own missions in another parts of the world.
For the most part this is balanced extremely well, changes happening with enough regularity to keep interest spiked. Additionally the change from conserving ammo and tense exploration to swollen rifle clips and all-out assaults in open areas shows two different dynamics can work in sync and offer a richer experience.
These splits are hammered home with the force of numerous cliffhangers as Resident Evil goes episodic. A total of three story-lines are interchanged by each episode's smaller chapter divisions, and whether you restart or continue, you'll be greeted with a "Previously in Resident Evil..." recap that's fortunately skippable but keeps the reprisals lightning short.
Post-chapter Rankings reveal times that to begin splutter between short and insanely shorter. Yet Revelations hasn't turned bite-sized due to the format shift though: you'll soon see the clock weighing in nearer half and full hours. The average player will see past an eight hour total on the front-end game save before the main campaign concludes. The game offers two save slots, both deletable, in case you're concerned about another Mercenaries situation.
Mentioning Mercenaries, Resident Evil's mini-game turned full retail title, Revelations carries its own take, unlocked come first play-through of the story.
Raid Mode divides each section from the campaign, gives you a two-tier difficulty setting, whacks energy bars above each enemy and allows you to unlock and upgrade characters and weapons to work towards shared leaderboard rankings, and even play with friends across Local and Online (though for this review said options were not active - watch out for a Frontline special covering just that on the site in a few weeks).
Weapon upgrades are collectable in the campaign as well, adding extra damage, faster rate of fire and larger ammo caches to your chosen arsenal. The game limits you to carrying three guns - grenades are separate - at a time, but the classic supply boxes are back, letting you access fuller load-outs in similar boxes around the ship.
For Jill and Parker, ammo is in short supply: having to conserve bullets or simply hightail it around enemies is a backwards step for the series, but it's definitely in the right direction. Coupled with a default first-person view on cocking a gun lends tension to scoring all-important head-shots. Combining those with melee attacks to conserve ammo becomes the foundation of the combat system.