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Resident Evil: Revelations (Nintendo 3DS) Review

Review for Resident Evil: Revelations on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Ever since that moment when a ragged humanoid figure stood up from its fleshy meal and stumbled towards Jill Valentine, the Resident Evil series has terrified and thrilled players in equal measure, retaining its unique features of fear-inducing tank controls and pre-rendered scare backgrounds all the way into the Dreamcast era. As initially a GameCube exclusive, Resident Evil 4 shook up that winning formula, ditching the zombies and going for a increasingly tense free-roaming third-person atmosphere, while retaining the top quality jumpy moments that only Resident Evil could provide. The fifth game brought excellent High Definition visuals to the series and a co-operative mode for the entire story, building off of the fourth’s newly-set standards. Following on from that fresh recipe is Resident Evil: Revelations, a 3DS exclusive built from the ground-up for Nintendo’s 3D handheld. Is this horror akin to undead canines bursting through windows, or more of a shambling monstrosity?

Although Resident Evil: Revelations has no number attached, the production values alone elevate it to a status in the series as being more than just a side-story. Revelations takes place between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, and reintroduces Jill Valentine as the central character. In the time since the tragic events of Raccoon City, both Jill and Chris Redfield, the original survivors of Alpha Team in the first Resident Evil, have joined a newly established organisation that assesses and evaluates potential Bioweapon dangers. When Chris disappears while on a mission, Jill and her new partner, Parker, are sent to investigate the last place he was detected -- on a former cruise liner in the middle of the Mediterranean. Abandoned spooky structures are rarely good news in the Resident Evil universe, and from here the player, in the heels of Jill, has to explore the ship, fend off the creatures that slither around it, and unravel its mysteries. The storyline itself brings in a number of new characters to the franchise with many surprising twists in the events that happen, and the game helps set the stage for the events of Resident Evil 5.

Resident Evil: Revelations adopts the same style of play as its recent console brethren, and on the 3DS system’s top screen it is truly a sight to behold. The 3D effect is put to superb use and only adds to the immersion of the game. Gameplay is utilised from the third-person over-the-shoulder perspective, but an optional first-person view when aiming your weapon really gives the creatures of the ship that extra scare factor when they are edging their way towards you. The top screen is kept completely clutter-free, relegating essential data like ammunition and the ever-handy map onto the touch-screen as a highly useful reference. Blood splatter on the top screen’s border lets you know when your character is approaching mortal danger, and not actually having a value to go by, but just an image, ranks up the tension of staying alive immeasurably.

Capcom has provided four choices of control scheme for the game, with one of them supporting the newly released Circle Pad Pro accessory. The first and default scheme, Type A, mimics the layout of Resident Evil 4, with the analogue stick used to rotate and push forward your character and the R trigger aiming your sights to shoot with Y. Type B works similarly, but with using combinations of button and stick to move and shoot. Type C aims to mimic the setup of a Circle Pad Pro with using the face buttons like a second (but nowhere near as effective) analogue stick for aiming and movement. Type D is the option for Pro users, effectively making the game a joy to control with quick actions, the freedom to move whilst aiming, and a comfortable grip (if not an aesthetically pleasing one) to use. None of these types actually use the bottom screen as an aiming option, though it does provide quick touch keys to access weapon selections and the main menu, and having a map at all times is a sacrifice well made. All four options are fine to use with practice, but the increased manoeuvrability the Pro offers is a distinct advantage.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Resident Evil: Revelations tends to mimic the progression of the first game’s environments rather than the more recent editions, in that the main area of the game, the Cruise Ship, is self-contained so there will be a fair amount of retreading old ground instead of just moving from one location to the next. The game’s events are split into chapters to better adapt it to the pick-up-and-play aspect that handheld gaming specialises in, but many of these chapters reuse the same places in new situations. Thankfully this isn’t often a chore due to the developers putting in new obstacles or enemies at critical points to keep the player on their toes.

Speaking of foes, this time around a new virus strain is in the air, and the creatures you run into aren’t exactly zombies, more of a humanoid slime creature that waddles in for a snack whenever it sees you. Ammunition is frequently placed to fight them off, though aside from the harder boss-type enemies there isn’t a great deal of design variation in regular foes. Even the most basic of weapons in the game have a satisfying reload and firing animation, and let loose in spectacular fashion, especially so with the weapon upgrading feature that lets you customise parts of each firearm for more efficiency, done with packs you find in the field. Herbs, ever the choice of health restoration for a budding infection survivor, are more streamlined in Resident Evil: Revelations, forgoing the choice of different coloured plants and just sticking with the green; pick one up, press a button, and instant heal. This does highlight that there is no way to boost your character’s vitality in the game, a condition more apparent on higher difficulty settings, making survival much trickier.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Evening things up, however, is a new gadget seemingly swiped straight from the Metroid Prime games; the Genesis virus scanner. Switching to this with the D-pad or touch screen icon brings up a scanner view that can search out hidden items in your surroundings, and using it on the remains of enough enemies can net you extra herbs -- a helpful aid. The game is rarely reliant on the Genesis to carry events along; it is up to the player to decide whether to make use of it.

The overall presentation of Resident Evil: Revelations is easily one of its greatest assets, making it a 3DS highlight in visual power and sound quality. High quality cut-scenes, also rendered in 3D, encircle essential points of the game, and provide a useful episode synopsis for when you return to the game as a reminder of recent events. The Surround Sound speakers of the 3DS do a respectable job of producing those subtle creaks and groans of the ship and its inhabitants, but this is a game born for headphones and a room light switch. Resident Evil: Revelations also has full voice acting, which in its own way retains the cheesiness of the original but doesn’t produce as many memorable lines like ‘Jill Sandwich’ or ‘Master of Unlocking.’ This in no way detracts from the serious tone that the cut-scenes emit, but it is noticeable how deadpan the voices can be at times.

As you go through the main Campaign Mode, you will pass a certain point that unlocks Raid Mode, the part of the game that will most likely suck up most of your time. Like Mercenaries Mode before it, Raid Mode involves a selected area of the game and gives you objectives with which to complete it. Unlike Mercenaries, though, this isn’t merely an enemy bloodbath that you rank up scores on, but also incorporates a full run-through of that environment with a target marker at its end. A role-playing level mechanic is introduced here, with subsequent weapons and further stages being unlocked for play as you gain higher numbered levels. The selectable characters all have varying strengths and weaknesses, so you can experiment to see which suits you best, and the weapon selection, whilst limiting how much you can hold at one time, produces some impressive artillery. Sadly there are very few stages unique to this mode, as most have been ripped straight out of the campaign, but the other added aspect helps to ensure an enjoyable replay.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Raid Mode is where the Nintendo 3DS system’s online ability comes into full force, allowing players to team up with another player from anywhere in the world to play through stages together. You can either host a game for the level you have chosen and wait for a random to join (current online activity is quite high, so this does not take too long), or choose from a list of current hosts to join their game instead. Of course, you can also team up with a friend from your 3DS Friend List and take the fight to the creatures that way, or just go it alone. Online play can jitter at times depending on the strength of the connection, but rarely does it affect gameplay in a negative aspect. Wireless play is also supported for those who have a copy of the game card each.

Raid Mode’s levelling-up system and fun online aspect greatly boosts the hours players will get out of Resident Evil: Revelations, but if that isn’t enough, there is also the mission selection. These small tasks tie into the StreetPass feature that trades unlocked ones with other players, the completion of which opens up new rewards in both main modes. Even those you play with online send over new missions automatically, usually providing a new enemy to defeat in one of the Raid Mode stages, ensuring a healthy play life for Resident Evil: Revelations in what is an essential purchase for Resident Evil fans, and easily one of the best games on the Nintendo 3DS to date.

Screenshot for Resident Evil: Revelations on Nintendo 3DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Building off of a solid gameplay structure and solidly-adapted for portable gamers, Resident Evil: Revelations brings the scares and tension to the small screen in highly playable form. The Circle Pad Pro works incredibly well with the game, although all control options do the job well. Backtracking may frustrate, yet effort has been put in to freshen up the experience each time.


Easily some of the 3DS system’s best output, made all the more striking with cut-scenes and the 3D Slider turned fully on. Enemies do not vary enough in design, but remain challenging obstacles throughout with imaginative boss fights for good measure.


The backing tracks themselves are very subtle and not very memorable, but the game does a great job of creating a haunting atmosphere with creaks and groans. Voice work can be emotionless at times, but stays at a good standard.


The main campaign’s duration will easily reach double digits, but Raid Mode and the StreetPass mission structure will eclipse it completely, depending on the motivation of the player. Reuse of areas for Raid Mode does feel like extra padding, but the online support and an unlockables system gives it a breath of fresh air.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Capcom is no stranger to getting the most out of the hardware it develops for, and Resident Evil: Revelations is certainly no exception. A console experience in portable form, this scare-fest cements its place in the Resident Evil series with a solid campaign and highly addictive side mode, together with unyielding gameplay and plot mechanics.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (24 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

I just wanted to see the point talley & why it got what it was scored. Game hasn't been released in the States yet so I must avoid spoilers where ever possible.

It is not wise to speak on subjects you do not know all facts about, nor is it smart to judge a game based on looks alone. PSN: Nintendo_Gamer 3DS: 4296-3029-7422
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Basically this is as close to Resident Evil 6 as was possible on the 3DS.  Unfortunately Capcom is killing it here in the UK market right now by actually advertising Resident Evil 6, a game that comes out in November, more than the great 3DS version that launched a week ago...

Madness! Smilie Smilie Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I haven't seen any copies of Resident Evil: Revelations in Game or Gamestation. I'm hoping it's because they've sold out, but it isn't in their top ten selling games.

It's a brilliant game! Definitely one of the best Resi games. Up there with Resident Evil 4 & Resident Evil 2! Two of my other favourites in the series.

I'm busy playing it through for a second time & enjoying (the difficult) raid mode. Played online too & it was smooth with no lag.

Top quality stuff!
Smilie Smilie Smilie Smilie Smilie

jesusraz said:
Basically this is as close to Resident Evil 6 as was possible on the 3DS. Unfortunately Capcom is killing it here in the UK market right now by actually advertising Resident Evil 6, a game that comes out in November, more than the great 3DS version that launched a week ago...

Madness! Smilie Smilie Smilie

Well at least it was number 1 in the charts last week:

OT: Great review Phoenixus, there's basically nothing I disagree with.Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Exactly - that's what I mean. Off to a flying start and then BAM, Capcom starts a barrage of RE6 adverts instead. Strange, don't you think?

We'll see the full effects of the campaign when Chart Track updates tomorrow. Here's hoping it doesn't have a negative impact.

Game sales in Japan are great, by the way, with it selling ~150,000 in its first week, possibly helped by the 39/40 score Famitsu gave it.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Agree with the review, one of the best games I've played on a handheld that made it feel like it was console game. Amazing game.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

It was an excellent experience for me. I coincidentally beat the game this afternoon. I thought it started slow but went from really good to absolutely brilliant at the end. And although it was for from being the most scary RE out there, it does have the creepiest location I ever saw in any RE game so far, but I won't say what it is to avoid any spoilers.

It's still not my favourite RE game, because I still prefer the likes of RE2, and RE Rebirth, but I actually prefer this one over RE4, which for me was too much action, little horror, and zero goosebumps.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
George (guest) 06.02.2012 00:59#8

I'm proud to own my 3ds now. I want the vita aswell, they better bring out res evil 6 and call of duty zombies on it. The circle pad pro is still abit small but it does help immensely and brings it very close to a console experience. 3ds needs a revision with second analogue and much bigger screen. All in good time I suppose. Smilie

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