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Resident Evil: Revelations HD review

resident evil revelations hd review cover art
Resident Evil: Revelations HD
“If you fondly remember the old Resident Evil games before they went action-oriented, then this game is for you”
  • Return to series roots
  • Intense gameplay
  • The additional new content isn’t exciting
  • The plot is still dumb;

Resident_evil_rev._2012_CapcomPoor, poor Resident Evil: Revelations. When the handheld story in Capcom’s aged horror series came out at the beginning of 2012, there was no end to its bad luck. First, it arrived for the Nintendo 3DS during a period when Nintendo was still desperately struggling to find an audience for the machine. It was the forgotten months of the 3DS, after the hype of the launch wore off, but before the handheld managed to connect with audiences. What’s more, the game was terribly awkward to play without a $20 add-on, the Circle Pad Pro, and that peripheral was only available in limited quantities. It was a difficult launch.

On top of all that, Capcom announced Resident Evil 6 months before Revelations was released, and it was a markedly better looking game – at least in trailers – than its 3DS cousin, and it was the continuation of the franchise’s overall story line. By comparison, Revelations went from being a new chapter in the Resident Evil universe to a side story released to keep 3DS fans happy until they could get their hands on the “real” next Resident Evil. Capcom gave it almost no promotion. It couldn’t even be bothered to spell the game’s name correctly on the package. It was a shame too, since Resident Evil: Revelations was, in fact, the best game in the series since Resident Evil 4.

Thanks to the anything-for-profits nature of the modern video game business, however, second chances are common these days. Resident Evil: Revelations is back, cleaned up for the home console big screen, and trotted out just in time for the late-spring doldrums when new releases are few and far between.

Resident Evil Revelations Wii U Review 2
Image used with permission by copyright holder

So what’s new? An HD sheen. Revelations started out as a visually impressive game, pushing Capcom’s MT Framework mobile engine hard on the Nintendo 3DS. It even looked significantly better than the 2011 HD remasters of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica. The new edition looks even better on Xbox 360, Wii U, PS3, and PC, with cleaned up, detailed characters. It’s nowhere near as eye-popping as the gaudy spectacle in Resident Evil 6, but that’s a good thing. Wandering around the game’s dilapidated cruise ship setting, as well as other locales like secret arctic bases and skyscrapers under siege, is a more atmospheric experience in Revelations, and its well-served in the new big screen environment.

Otherwise, the main game is unchanged. Broken into TV-style episodes, Revelations is still paced like a handheld game thanks to its bite size story segments, but it actually works better in the living room. The game takes place between Resident Evil 4 and 5, with Jill and her new partner Parker tracking down her old partner Chris Redfield. In the hunt though, it turns out a bioterrorist group called Veltro is planning to infect the world’s water supply with a virus that turns them into slavering, spiky monsters. In a move that actually predated Resident Evil 6, you actually control six characters—Jill, Chris, the husky Parker, model/sniper Jessica, and the game’s Laurel and Hardy comic relief pair Quint and Keith—as they figure out who’s actually backing the terrorists.

The plot’s as hokey and overblown as all the recent Resident Evil games, but the play is actually more interesting. A cross between the guns and more guns approach of 5 and 6 and the exploration of the early PlayStation entries, Revelations is a more tense and challenging style of game. Ammo is scarce, enemies can kill you fast, and longer episodes have you dodging baddies regularly as you explore and unlock the Queen Zenobia cruise ship.

Resident Evil Revelations Wii U Review 3
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While the lost logic puzzles of the old games and idiosyncratic item collection (there are no jewels to collect for opening doors) are missed, the slower pace is very welcome in this game. For those that just want to blast monsters, Revelations injects shorter side episodes in between the exploration missions where you mostly just gun down hordes. The game also benefits from having a more capable controller on consoles. The Wii U version is actually the best of all worlds. Thanks to the tablet’s screen, weapon and item usage is more convenient, and you never have to pause to access the map. 

As for wholly new features and content, pickings are slim. One new enemy (the ineffectual Wall Blister), some downloadable costumes, and new characters for the all-action Raid Mode are fine, but they’re not the main attractions by any means. New content isn’t raison d’être for Resident Evil: Revelations on consoles. It’s the chance to play a pretty good game in a fading series on the platform it should have always been on.

Revelations never reaches the lofty heights of classics like Resident Evil for GameCube or Resident Evil 4. It doesn’t even match the bonkers melodramatics and sweet puzzle solving of the last good non-numbered Resident Evil, Code Veronica. It is, however, a nerve-wracking, fun thriller for consoles, and those are all too rare these days.

(This game was reviewed on the Nintendo Wii U on a copy provided by Capcom.)

Editors' Recommendations

Anthony John Agnello
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Anthony John Agnello is a writer living in New York. He works as the Community Manager of and his writing has…
The best weapons in Resident Evil 4
Leon holding a gun in Resident Evil 4.

Leon clearly wasn't prepared for what he would encounter in the Resident Evil 4 remake or he would have come with more than a middling handgun and a knife. While those basic tools can get you through the opening stages of the game, it won't be long before you will need to call upon some much stronger firepower in order to survive the tougher -- and more grotesque -- monsters that stand in your way. The Resident Evil 4 remake offers a ton of weapons you can collect, such as pistols, SMGs, rifles, and more. However, most will cost a lot of cash -- and even more if you want to invest in their upgrades. You will have to make some tough choices about what weapons you want to stick with, and picking a dud can make your playthrough much more difficult. Instead of investing all your cash in a pea-shooter, check out the best weapons you can get in the Resident Evil 4 remake to blast your way through Ganados and Las Plagas alike.
The best weapons in Resident Evil 4

Where else could we start but with the Red9? Almost certainly the most popular handgun -- or gun in general -- from the original Resident Evil 4 has returned in the remake and is just as potent as ever. Not only can you grab this gun as early as Chapter 3, making it a great choice for investing your upgrades in, but it can be altered and has essentially no drawbacks. By default, the Red9's recoil is the primary point of criticism you could levy at it, but if you spend a few Spinels to give it the stock, you'll be able to basically snipe with this pistol. By the time you unlock the Exclusive upgrade, which multiplies the gun's power by 1.5x, you'll hardly ever find a situation where this handgun can't do the job.
Bolt Thrower
The Bolt Thrower isn't on this list for its high power, accuracy, or anything that you would traditionally look for in a gun. The reason it has to be here is due to the simple fact that you can recover the bolts it shoots into enemies after they're dead to massively cut down on your ammo expenditure. Ammo for it is also crafted using knives, but it even has a secondary firing method where it launches mines, giving it a lot more utility. The Exclusive upgrade isn't game-changing -- it doubles the ammo capacity -- but the less you have to reload, the less often you'll be caught in a sticky situation.
In the rifle category, the Stingray is never going to let you down. This is a semiautomatic rifle, so the firing rate is mostly up to you, plus it has a great clip size by default. If you're hitting those weak points, this baby will also deal 3x damage, and can be outfitted with almost any scope. The Exclusive upgrade boosts your final firing rate by an additional 2x, which shouldn't be too necessary if you're trying to be precise, though can help in a pinch.
LE 5
The LE 5 is a weapon you can easily miss that is kind of like a good version of the Punisher in that it has amazing penetration power. Being an SMG, it also boasts a far greater firing rate and clip size, as well as more power. This is the perfect weapon to rip through any shield-wielding enemies. Again like the Punisher, the Exclusive upgrade allows the LE 5 to pierce up to five targets at once.
Broken Butterfly
Another returning favorite, the Broken Butterfly magnum is not just the best-looking hand cannon in the game, but also the most deadly. If you don't count a special weapon like the Rocket Launcher, the Broken Butterfly (after upgrades) deals the most damage of any gun in the Resident Evil 4 remake. The Exclusive upgrade plays a major part in this by boosting its final damage by 1.5x, again just like the Red9, but magnum upgrades are among the most expensive in the game, so this power won't come easy.
What's the worst part of a shotgun? The firing rate. Well, that is if you're not using the Striker. This semiautomatic shotgun spits out damage like nobody's business. It has power on par with any other shotgun, but way better firing speed, plus a massive clip size so you don't have to worry about running dry out an enemy in your face. If you get the Exclusive upgrade, you can even double the already huge clip size.
Rocket Launcher
This is a big investment both in terms of cash and space, but the Rocket Launcher is too iconic to the series not to be amazing. Yes, this has a one-hit kill on just about everything and will cost more or less depending on what difficulty level you're playing on. It has no upgrades because, well, what is there to make better? Unless you're playing with the infinite ammo for it enabled, you do only get one shot, so make it count.
Primal Knife
While technically not a gun, the knife is so good in the Resident Evil 4 remake that it has to be mentioned. This tool will save your skin more often than you think thanks to the new ability to parry and finish downed enemies, but the obvious drawback is durability. The Primal Knife has to be unlocked by finding and destroying all 16 of the Clockwork Castellans in the game. What makes it the clear frontrunner of all knives is the Exclusive upgrade that makes it completely unbreakable, no matter how much you use it.

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All Resident Evil 4 remake Wayshrines and how to open them
An open wayshrine with a bracelet inside.

In the opening chapters of the Resident Evil 4 remake, you will come across strange shrines erected by a cult. These can be interacted with, but prompt you to use an item. Unfortunately, you won't even have the chance to open the first couple you find since the item required to open them can't be picked up until a bit later -- and only if you know where to search for it. But it's ro say that the treasures you get from them make it worth your time to backtrack and grab all the goodies inside. Here's how you can open all the Wayshrines in the Resident Evil 4 remake, and what each one holds inside.
How to get the Wayshrine Key

Surprise surprise, but Wayshrines can only be opened once you grab the Wayshrine Key. It will feel like a long time, but you can't even access the key until you reach Chapter 4 and beat Del Lago. Once you can explore the lake, head south to the Mural Cave. Deep in the caves, you will find an ornate cabinet after solving the puzzle in the cave. You can get there by going down the path from the southern dock and through the section with the two large stone hands. Thankfully, unlike Small Keys, the Wayshrine Key is reusable and can open every Wayshrine in the game.
How to 0pen Wayshrines

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Leon looking at murals of a knight.

The castle section of the Resident Evil 4 remake is one of the most diabolical. Aside from being visually distinct from the previous village area, this location is full of tougher enemies and deadlier traps. Once you've managed to escape from the dungeons and up into the castle proper, you will be blocked by a gate beside some images of a knight in different situations. Something is off about all of them, and one part missing entirely. This is the sword puzzle, but it isn't as straightforward as you might assume looking at it. Here's how to solve the Sword Puzzle and make your way into the Audience Chamber in Resident Evil 4.
How to solve the Castle Sword puzzle

The first thing you'll notice about this puzzle is that there are four murals of the knight, but only three swords to pick up in this room. The last sword is behind another locked gate, but this one you can open. The gate has three animals on it, an eagle, deer, and snake, which correspond to three different plates. As each one is activated, the symbols on the gate will light up to show you're on the right track. The deer can be activated by pulling the chain beside the gate, while the second two are on the other side of the gate to the right and need to be shot.

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