With Capcom seemingly hell-bent on releasing every modern Resident Evil game on the current generation of consoles, it was only a matter of time until Resident Evil: Revelations made its appearance. Originally released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2012, the title has gone through a number of remasters and received a variety of changes and tweaks to get it to this point today, which should theoretically make this PlayStation 4 release the definitive version. But with the series’ seventh entry redefining the survival horror genre at the beginning of this year, does this cruise aboard a ghost ship manage to hold up in 2017?
Jill Valentine takes up the reigns as main protagonist this time around as she searches for Chris Redfield, who has gone missing on his last mission. The investigation takes Jill and her partner, Parker Luciani, to the abandoned Queen Zenobia cruise ship, where they expect to find the rock-punching hero. Instead they uncover the Ooze, a new army of monsters developed by the T-virus. This then spawns a quest to tell the world what’s really going on, and of course escape the ship.
This is only scratching the surface of Resident Evil: Revelation’s plot however, as the overall story is laughably absurd. Numerous organisations are introduced, plot twists are aplenty, and the game’s attempt to wrap things up and tie everything together is nonsensical. It’s one confusing journey, to the point where it’s so bad it’s almost good.
Gameplay fares much better however, with a third-person perspective setting the scene for an experience that is much more akin to the series’ origins. Ammunition is scarce, healing items are a rarity, and every encounter with a member of the Ooze feels like a challenge. Some aid can be found in the Genesis, a scanner which will highlight supplies within the environment, but apart from that, you’re on your own.
This scarcity combined with the creepy hallways and cabins of the Queen Zenobia makes for a tense atmosphere that keeps you on edge as you near every corner. Some genuine scares can be found throughout the campaign as you dread encountering another enemy thanks to the limited supply of bullets you have, as well as a single green herb to mitigate any injuries.
The PS4 version brings with it one major gameplay enhancement, which is a bump in framerate up to 60 frames-per-second. This makes for a game that plays far smoother, but it doesn’t alleviate the problems that already existed. Character movement can feel very stiff at times, and with a clunky camera to boot, the simple act of navigating Jill throughout the environment can become a chore. Furthermore, the shooting feels floaty and rather imprecise. This is a flaw that came about from ports onto previous generation consoles, and so it’s disappointing to see that the problem still exists. While double the amount of frames is a welcome improvement, fixing these faults should have been a priority for Capcom. It’s frustrating that the title’s probable final port will still have to do battle with its own control system.
The other factor to this PS4 port is of course the graphics. A bump in resolution helps the title somewhat, but it doesn’t do enough to save the game from looking severely outdated. Character models, textures, and environments are beginning to show their age as they look muddy and antiquated compared to the titles of today.
Raid mode found its birth within Resident Evil: Revelations, and it too makes its return as part of this port. One new level can be found within this version, titled The Ghost Ship: Chaos, but it has to be unlocked. The Raid mode is every bit as good as it was in 2012, but to lock away this edition’s single new piece content behind progression is slightly baffling. The mode also faces flak from other entries in its own series, as Resident Evil: Revelations 2 built upon the base Raid mode and made it even better. This leaves this version in a bit of an awkward place, as it is good in its own right, but since it's been surpassed by future titles, it’s once again going to feel outdated if you're a returning player.
The PlayStation 4 version of Resident Evil: Revelations is the definitive version, but that doesn’t carry as much weight as it would have a few years ago. We do think the campaign is still worth a playthrough, but with clunky controls, a graphical presentation that’s showing its age, and an inferior raid mode, it’s hard to recommend a voyage on this ship to anyone but newcomers.