Since announcing that Resident Evil: Revelations will be released in HD on consoles,, Capcom has been adamant that this is not your average port. In fact, they’ve stated that so much has been changed in bringing this game to the big screen that it didn’t make sense to port it to the Vita as well.
I’m all for Revelations getting upgrades in the graphics and sound department, but there are certain elements that shouldn’t be disturbed. Capcom Product Manager Mike Lunn has dodged questions about the control scheme in Revelations on several occasions. He specifically declined to answer if the game would control like Resident Evil 6 at one point, promising more information would come soon. That information has yet to come, and as excited as I am for this game, I’m just a little bit worried that Capcom might make a terrible decision.
Resident Evil is a franchise that has changed and evolved over time to the point where it’s barely recognizable as the same series today. Gone are the majority of the survival horror elements that defined the series in the 90s, and fast-paced action reigns supreme. Revelations was special, in that it combined the tense, horror-filled style of the old games with the more modern, shooter style of the new games in a way that can appeal to fans both old and new. Obviously this HD port won’t be so different that it feels like an entirely new game, but just a few small changes that make it lean more towards the style of Resident Evil 6 could drastically change the nature of the game.
The controls and combat scheme of Resident Evil 6 are tailored for a fast-pace experience that empowers the player. Plentiful ammo, strong melee attacks, and quick shots allow players to sprint in, guns blazing, and take on a zombie horde. Unlike most previous installments, enemies no longer need to be stunned in order for players to perform melee attacks, although the attacks will be much stronger if the enemy is stunned. Stunning an enemy is no hard task, as a simple simultaneous tap of the L and R buttons releases a powerful quickshot, setting zombies up for an easy roundhouse kick, powerful punch, or good old fashioned head-smashing.
The key to the action-based Resident Evil 6 is stamina. While sprinting around, unloading quick shots, and bashing zombies with your physical prowess, your stamina bar depletes. If you let your stamina run out completely, you find yourself pretty helpless until you’ve recovered. As long as you keep a close eye on your stamina, you can dart through crowds of zombies, killing at will while barely wasting any ammo.
Resident Evil: Revelations is a different beast entirely. While certain newer conventions, such as being able to shoot and walk at the same time, are present, the game feels much more traditional in style. Players aren’t as lost and helpless as they were back in Raccoon City, but you’re not the untouchable badass that Resident Evil 5 and especially 6 make you out to be. The combat style reflected that on the 3DS, and it should on console as well.
The melee-fueled stamina bar formula may have worked for Resident Evil 6 (although that’s debatable) but it doesn’t belong in Revelations. You’re not in a large Chinese marketplace overrun by infected in Revelations. You’re in a creepy, dark ship full of narrow passageways with mystery around every corner. You shouldn’t be able to sprint into rooms, dropping zombies with nothing but physical force.
In Revelations, you have to make every shot count. You can’t just go in and dominate a room full of zombies. You have to survive. If you want to conserve ammo and punch a zombie square in its face, you have to earn it. Real strategy comes into play, as choosing the right weapon and equipping it with the right upgrade can be the difference between life and death.
There’s also the issue of quick time events. One of the biggest complaints people had against Resident Evil 6 was the way the game constantly through action commands at you. Whether its during a cutscene (catching you off guard when you’ve set your controller down) or in the middle of a fight, your reflexes are tested time and time again. People are divided on whether or not this mechanic worked well for the action-packed Resident Evil 6, but it certainly doesn’t belong in the more tense and skills-oriented Revelations.
Given that even Capcom admits that Resident Evil 6 failed to fulfill its role, I would hope that the company is wise enough to avoid making unnecessary choices in the port of Revelations. As a 3DS exclusive Revelations was outstanding. As an HD console release it has the chance to be even better. Don’t ruin this for me, Capcom.