When television went HD, newscasters around the country freaked out because viewers could now see them clearly enough to notice their unsightly blemishes. All that resolution created an image that was clearer, yet not as pretty. Similarly, Resident Evil: Revelations was regarded as one of the best RE games in years when it came out on the Nintendo 3DS last year, but it's had a harsh light cast on it in its shift from the tiny 4.88-inch screen of its native system to PCs and consoles. This "upgraded" version may be technically better looking, but a big high-definition screen and gamepad isn't the best way to play Revelations – it’s simply out of its element.
That’s not to say that Revelations has suddenly become a bad game, as everything that’s good about it is still here. It’s still a return to the classic formula from the first several games in the series, and the stranded and brooding ship Queen Zenobia is still one of the best settings in a Resident Evil since the Arklay mansion. The cramped hallways in the depths of the ship aid the slow-paced suspense, with every corner a potential hiding spot for an Ooze monster.
The story doesn’t make much sense, but it’s baffling in that charming way that the series is beloved for. There’s over-the-top dialogue, absurd political conspiracy theories, and flashbacks to moment.that rarely feel more than tacked on. That is, until they’re explained away in hilariously awful, yet somehow charming tie-ins near the end. (Read our original Resident Evil: Revelations review for more on that.)
This HD version shares all the problems its predecessor has, including noticeably limited enemy variety and weak allied AI that can't hit the broad side of a barn. Ironically, what actually makes this version feel inferior is the very thing it claims to improve upon. The graphics, which look stunning on that tiny 3DS screen, mostly look dated when blown up. Character models are the exception – they look great – but the environments are are full of flat, grainy textures to match the jagged, craggy geometry. And somehow, despite superior hardware, framerate issues still pop up in some of the more intense segments or when new areas are loading, across all platforms.
Surprisingly, it also suffers when played with an Xbox 360 gamepad, both on the Xbox version and when plugged into the PC version. Where Resident Evils 5 and 6 feel like modern shooters, Revelations' aiming simply doesn’t feel smooth with a gamepad stick. I found my aiming reticle frequently jerking around the screen in a series of overcompensating movements. That's a problem I never had with the 3DS's Circle Pad Pro. Played with the mouse, however, it handles surprisingly well.
Original Resident Evil: Revelations Video Review
Of course, even when controls are precise, the constant movement of the ship makes the cursor bounce all over the place, occasionally causing you to miss what was sure to be a clear shot. That uncertainty there gives a great sense of tension without feeling outright unfair, and that comes across just as well. Thus, I still found myself enjoying Revelations HD quite a bit, as all of the creepy atmosphere and quality scares aboard the Queen Zenobia are completely intact – and that's what I play Resident Evil games for.