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Resident Evil Revelations review

Sometimes being a game reviewer isn’t all it seems. Yes, reviewing a game you are looking forward to playing is great (eg.Tacoma), and unearthing a real gem that you had no intention of playing is even better (eg.The Sexy Brutale). But then there are games like Resident Evil Revelations.

The Resident Evil series is well loved and respected, and the most recent game (Resident Evil 7) updated the genre for the current generation consoles and was arguably one of the best in the series. But I was confused, as I knew that Revelations 2 had already been released on Xbox One, so why was I being tasked to review its prequel? A quick Google search later and I found that Resident Evil Revelations is a remastering of a last generation remake of a game originally released on the 3DS in 2012. We are in the era of well-loved games being remade and re-released, which sometimes don’t happen in quite the right order! So, research completed, and my question is: How will this remastering stand up in 2017?

Resident Evil Revelations (now referred to as RER) is developed by Capcom and takes place between the events of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. The story of the game follows series protagonists Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield as they try to stop a bioterrorist organisation from infecting the Earth’s oceans with a virus. The game mainly involves the player controlling Jill Valentine aboard a ghost ship in the Mediterranean Sea, but there are flashbacks and scenarios where you play as other supporting characters.

RER was originally designed to put emphasis on survival, evasion, and exploration ahead of fast-paced combat by providing the player with limited ammunition, health, and movement speed. It was designed to bring back the content and horror of the series’ roots, while at the same time trying to modernize the gameplay, in which lies my first and most critical complaint of the game. It’s great to put emphasis on evasion, but it doesn’t work when the control of the character is so sluggish. When you factor in the limited ammunition, which you will run out of on most boss encounters, it makes these encounters a hard slog, even when you’re playing on the easiest difficulty level. RER is a third person game which switchs into first person when aiming your weapon, this makes any encounter with more than one enemy extremely frustrating. One section, set as a flashback in a skyscraper, has you defending a foyer as you wait for a lift, against lizards (Hunters) who jump and attack in one movement from multiple directions. This is impossible to defend against or evade when the movement of your character, including weapon aiming, is just so slow! Especially when there are up to five enemies in that small space.

RER has two different gameplay modes: Campaign and Raid. Campaign is your standard singleplayer story, whilst Raid is where one or two players can fight their way through a selection of altered scenarios from Campaign mode. These will reward you with experience and battle points that can be exchanged for various weapons and items at a store. Gaining experience and acquiring new equipment allows progress to higher and more challenging scenarios.

There are twelve chapters in the campaign of RER, and I have to admit by chapter four I had played enough. Even though I was enjoying the story I was hating the controls and how sluggish they were. But it wasn’t all bad. There was a moment early on in RER with a human character who is slowly being overcome by the virus, so she still possessed human characteristics as she taunted and stalked your character. This section did unnerve me with its excellent sound design and feelings of claustrophobia.

But wait, as I mentioned in my opening, being a reviewer isn’t all it seems. I was so close to giving up on RER, but I don’t believe it’s fair to write a review based on such a small amount of game time, so I persevered and I started to enjoy this game. I got used to the clunky controls. I realised that each enemy had a weak point and I began to defeat them quicker. I realised that the Genesis device you are equipped with could be used to find extra hidden ammo as well as scanning enemies. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not a great game, but it does have a good story and it mixes up the gameplay over the course of the twelve chapters to avoid making it a slog.

Graphically, the cutscenes really show the remastering process and are very pretty, and with most games of this ilk a lot of care and attention has been given to the female form, both in the cutscenes and in gameplay. If only the basic enemies had been given the same attention. Some of the base level enemies are just boring, and you don’t face them in combat with any feeling of dread, just annoyance. In fact, I would go as far as to say I am quite easily unnerved by horror games, and apart from the early encounter I previously mentioned, RER didn’t scare me at all.

Occasionally, you will have to defeat an end of level boss, some of which are fun to go up against, particularly where it takes you into different scenarios, such as on a mounted minigun in a helicopter. Others are dull and frustrating, and frequently lead to your character running out of ammo and resorting to melee attacks on huge monsters. RER also has missions which requires swimming and diving and these are also great ways to break up the standard gameplay, and these are designed well enough to make you feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable.

Story-wise, RER is extremely entertaining, even for someone like me who isn’t familiar with the events leading up to this game. Obviously I was familiar with the likes of Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, but was obliviously unaware of the range of supporting characters and the agencies of which they belong to, such as the FBC and BSAA. It moves along at a good pace and swaps between characters and locations to prevent things from becoming dull and boring.

Overall, Resident Evil Revelations is an OK game. Fans of the series will probably love it, but the clunky, sluggish controls let it down. This is most demonstrated in the final boss fight, where, although the enemy attacks are telegraphed, the strike area is just too large and it’s impossible to get out of the way in time, which is hugely frustrating. Introducing a roll mechanic for these encounters would increase enjoyment (and my score)!

Thanks to Xbox and Capcom for supporting TiX

Resident Evil 7 Banned Footage DLC revealed

The first piece of DLC has hit Resident Evil 7 biohazard. Banned Footage Vol. 1 is part of the Season Pass or can be bought separately for £7.99/ €9.99 / $9.99 and for PS4 owners, it’s available today.

Vol. 1 picks up with the Sewer Gators and includes two new scenes – Nightmare and Bedroom – where Clancy, the cameraman, must craft weapons and ammo in order to survive until morning, and figure out how to leave the bedroom, which I’m guessing will be another escape room puzzle similar to the teaser demo and the Birthday Tape sequence. There’s also a new mode called Ethan Must Die, an extra tough difficulty that is “infinitely replayable” but “separate from the events of RE7”.

Vol. 2 will launch on February 14 and also includes two new scenarios – 21 and Daughters – picking up again with the Sewer Gators for a game of 21 with Lucas – so Blackjack? – before tackling the tragic events of the Baker Daughters. Vol. 2 also includes Jack’s 55th birthday, a new mode where you must give Jack ‘treats’ for his birthday celebration. Vol. 2 is priced the same as Vol. 1 and both will be available to Xbox One owners on February 21.

 

 

 

 

Resident Evil 7 biohazard review

It was with some trepidation that I took on this review. I’m happy with a bit of horror action, but the thought of haplessly waltzing into the dilapidated Baker residence and exploring each dank corner all in first-person filled me with dread. I’ve played the teaser and had a taste of what to expect, and regardless of how damn great Resident Evil 7 biohazard looks, I really didn’t want to go back in there.

Upon receiving a video from his supposedly deceased wife, Ethan Winters can hardly ignore the remote possibility that Mia is still alive and travels to Louisiana to investigate the origin of the video, stumbling across the residence of the Baker family, who one day vanished into thin air… or so it seems.

The game begins similarly to the teaser and it’s just as tense, so much so that it’s exhausting to play. This persists for a good way into the game before it relaxes and the fear factor eases, only for it to ramp up again during the finale. As with most horror experiences, once the horror has been revealed and you begin to pick up more powerful weapons, your confidence grows, easing the feeling of dread. But don’t get too cocky; jump scares will still get you.

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The slow, and often, linear paths of the game are like you’re on a haunted house ride, waiting for the actors to jump out and grab you. Even when you’re expecting a scare, it doesn’t make it any less of a surprise and Resident Evil will trick you time and time again – it’s a wonderfully horrifyingly experience. But jump scares are the least of your worries. There are plenty of thumps and bumps that it’s impossible not to get wound up by the excellent sound engineering as it constantly torments you while you explore the Baker residence.

As you explore, each of the family takes turns at tormenting you, either chasing you down and engaging you in a bit of Alien Isolation hide and seek, which strikes a similar chord of tension, or with arena-based boss battles, which are really tough. Trial and error is the key to victory, the staple ‘pour lead into their brains’ just won’t do and it’s mostly down to using the environment, or picking your shots in order to put them down. These sequences are a wonderful contrast to the somewhat limited ‘zombie’ types, who stumble about like a drunken person looking for a fistfight, clawing at you should they grab hold.

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Unfortunately, ammo and health items are hardly scarce, although you have to look carefully to find them. As you get close to an item’s location it is highlighted. The hardest part wasn’t finding ammo or health but managing the inventory space. Those with a keen eye will rarely run out of ammo or health vials, which I found diminished the feeling of horror and hopelessness. I also found the numerous environmental puzzles somewhat of a disappointment, lacking in complexity. The most interesting puzzle was the birthday tape sequence, which had a wonderful but short narrative.

During the sequences where the family is hunting you, listen carefully and you can begin to piece together the bigger picture and make your own conclusions as to what is going on. Numerous files are also strewn about the Baker residence that bolsters the storyline. By the time the ending is revealed, all the pieces fit together neatly, but not everything is explained and while the finale wraps things up nicely, I had a few unanswered questions. Rather than call them plot holes, I believe Capcom have cleverly placed them there for those curious enough to question the story. Let’s hope some of these ‘holes’ are plugged with upcoming DLC, the first of which is dropping for free.

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Aside from the various files, completionists will want to find the numerous collectables hidden throughout the game. There are statues, which make a springing noise when you’re nearby, and collectible coins that unlock valuable abilities and a new weapon. Capcom have also included two endings, which while similar in gameplay, it’s good to see the return of multiple endings. For those brave enough, a harder difficulty unlocks upon completion of the game on normal, which messes with the locations of items, increases enemy difficulty, limits saves and removes checkpoints.

I thoroughly enjoyed Resident Evil 7. The action is gory. It’s in your face, and most of all it’s unsettling. As Ethan, a simple guy desperately looking for the love of his life, I felt like I had more of a connection with him, rather than some of the other characters I’ve played as in the series – not all of us have a background in the military.

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Over the years, the horror of the Resident Evil series has become rather diluted. Capcom has rewritten all of this with Resident Evil 7 biohazard. The game’s corridors are chilling and the enemies filled me with dread – and the puzzles… ok so they aren’t the most challenging, but they are steps towards the series’ former glory.

The game is extremely well-paced, punching somewhere between a (good) horror film and (decent) haunted house experience. It’s creepy from the offset and while the fear doesn’t last throughout the game, the tension ramps up and down perfectly, it’s one hell of a ride and one that I couldn’t wait to queue up and have another go on. Quite simply, Resident Evil 7 biohazard is the best in the series since the original trilogy.

Thanks to Xbox for supporting TiX

Resident Evil 7 supports Play Anywhere

We’re only a week away from the new Resident Evil title launching, but still there’s some pleasant surprises coming to light.

Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, sent out a Tweet this evening confirming that Resident Evil 7 will support Play Anywhere, allowing you to purchase it once, digitally on Xbox One or Windows 10, and then play it on either PC or Xbox One with your saves and achievements following you.

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Capcom announce Resident Evil 7 collectors edition, cross save and 4k support

Capcom have release some further details about their latest installment of the Resident Evil series. Resident Evil 7 :Biohazard will feature a cross save facility that will work between Xbox One and PC. Microsofts play anywhere scheme has proven to be quite successful and having played Gears of War 4 using the scheme I must say I’m a bit of a fan of it. The play anywhere scheme doesn’t go without is hiccups though and it’s unclear whether or not one purchase of Resident Evil will cover your for both the PC and Xbox One versions.

While Resident Evil 7 is looking like it will cure even the hardest case of constipation, you will be able to get it in all it’s glory  as the latest details also show that it will also be playable in 4k.

The European Collectors Edition has also been announced and will is also available for pre-order from today and includes some amazing stuff.

Included in the Resident Evil 7 biohazard Collector’s Edition:

  • Highly detailed 7” tall replica of the Baker Family Mansion
  • 20th Anniversary Resident Evil Artbook
  • Dummy Finger 16GB USB Drive
  • 5 Lithographs featuring art from Resident Evil 7 biohazard
  • An alternative inlay for your copy of the game
  • Survival Pack: Action Set DLC – which includes a number of useful consumable items and an instant unlock of the challenging ‘Madhouse’ difficulty setting
  • Premium Packaging

The premium packaging sounds interesting… oh well I hope it’s not wrapped in skin or something. You can pre-order Resident Evil 7 from Game and Amazon.co.uk only. Game will also have an exclusive Steelbook version of the game you can also pre-order. The Survival Pack: Action Set DLC is exclusive to the Collector’s Edition and Steelbook Edition of the game .

As you can see Resident Evil 7 is brushing up quite nicely. It’s nice to see Capcom going with a more atmospheric/psychological horror approach and not the action shooter style gameplay of it predecessors. With a release of January the 24th 2017 Resident Evil 7 will set the bar high for the Horror genre and I for one am really looking forward to it. With a timed release of the VR version of Resident Evil and also games such as Agony also diving into VR then there has never been a better time to test your mettle as a gamer.

 

New trailer for Resident Evil 7

Capcom have released a new trailer and set of screenshots at Gamescom for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.

The trailer takes us a little deeper into the horror we’ll all be immersed in when it releases early next year. We’re are introduced to Marguerite Baker alongside another mysterious female character.

Set within a sinister plantation house in Dulvey, Louisiana, former residents, the Baker family – including Jack and Marguerite – have seemingly disappeared, and there’s clearly something not quite right within the plantation.

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You’ll experience the terror directly from a first person perspective, for the first time in a numbered Resident Evil title. It intends to bring the iconic gameplay elements of exploration and tense atmosphere that the original did some twenty years ago, enhanced through disturbingly realistic visuals.

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Returning to the series roots, signature gameplay features including exploration, puzzles and a realistic tense atmosphere awaits players. The classic inventory system returns but with limited space, meaning players must choose what they carry with them carefully, making sure to pack plenty of green herbs.

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Resident Evil 5 hits Xbox One on June 28th

Resident Evil 5 will hit Xbox One on June 28th, making it the fourth Resident Evil title to be enhanced and re-released on the console, the first being the remake of the original, the second being the prequel Resident Evil Zero, and the most recent being Resident Evil 6, which we thoroughly enjoyed despite its flaws.

Featuring all previously released DLC, Resident Evil 5 on Xbox One will be packing a huge 71 achievements to collect, more than enough to keep you occupied until Resident Evil 4 sees it’s enhanced re-release on the Xbox One later this year. And with rumours flying all over the place about what’s coming next for the survival horror series, with a possible Resident Evil 7 on the cards for E3, as well as more information about the remake of Resident Evil 2, there’s no better time to reacquaint yourself with the ridiculous yet entertaining story.

 

Resident Evil 6 Review

Despite being panned by critics when it was originally released, Resident Evil 6 has been given the re-release treatment and has been enhanced for the Xbox One, featuring all previous DLC, a higher resolution and framerate, as well as a few additional tweaks. But can a game that was so strongly disliked claw back some goodwill from series fans with its slight upgrade?

It can, and indeed it should, Resident Evil 6 was unfairly panned back in 2012, and now, with its few enhancements and being so feature rich, it offers an even more attractive game for a reasonable price to those previous put off.

Resident Evil 6 is built around three different styles with its multiple campaigns. Leon’s campaign is more traditional, with a slower pace, eerier locations, and dealing with good old fashioned zombies and mutated creatures. Chris’ is action-based and deals with the parasites of Resident Evil 4 and 5. And Jake’s is more akin to Resident Evil 3 Nemesis, with frequent chases, a slower pace, and seemingly insurmountable odds. These three campaigns offer something for every player archetype from the Resident Evil spectrum, and with each campaign taking a good 5-7 hours to complete, you get a lot of content for your money. This does mean, however, that the tone is a bit schizophrenic. With each campaign contributing to an overall story, the different paces and experiences don’t meld as seamlessly as it would with an otherwise consistent setup.

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Helping to better bridge the three main campaigns is the bonus Ada Wong adventure, which is significantly shorter than the other campaigns and largely visits crossover sections between them, but it ties everything together and fills in the majority of the plot holes. This campaign was a solo affair originally but now joins the ranks of the other campaigns with a coop option, where player 2 jumps in the boots of Agent, a generic soldier. Unfortunately it’s not the best implemented second player experience. In many ways it feels like Tails from Sonic 2, where the second player is largely irrelevant to the experience. You can’t interact with puzzles or the environment beyond the enemies, which is a disappointing and a dissatisfying experience.

The coop for the main campaigns remains the same as it did back in 2012, reducing the difficulty slightly despite some mild scaling. It’s also a great deal more entertaining playing alongside someone else. The convoluted and cheesy story is particularly difficult to swallow, but bringing another friend along helps a great deal. And indeed the story is the weakest part of Resident Evil 6, falling on clichés and suffering from poor writing. However, the ambition behind it is undeniable impressive.

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The aforementioned multiple campaigns and dozens of hours of story is of impressive scale. The poor storytelling and attempt to try and please everyone threatens to undo the good but the grand plan behind it has a vestige of good intensions. The corny narrative will still appeal to die-hard Resident Evil fans, and seeing the large cast come together, many of which returning from previous titles, helps answer a few questions about what happened between those titles. And despite how well or badly you get on with the story, there’s still a great deal of fun to be had. The combat is satisfying and intense, the melee option allows you to punch and kick your way out of a pinch effectively as well as perform some excellent special attacks, and the highly detailed locations are interesting to explore with great variation. In fact, if you can stomach the inconsistent experience of the multiple campaigns the variety it offers proves a welcome change.

Unfortunately there are some fundamental problems that have crept in to this enhanced version. The quick time events still come out of nowhere, although they seem slightly more forgiving with the input timing as well as the checkpoint placement if you fail. The physics and collision detection is also fairly inconsistent and poor, making picking up items occasionally difficulty, or melee attacks completely miss their target. There are also a handful of badly designed sections in each campaign, whether it’s a chase sequence that is too punishing, or where the two characters are separated and overwhelmed with enemies, or where the environment collapses at too quick of a pace. These issues are still highly frustrating and typically crop up when checkpoints have been less generous.

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Outside of the campaigns is a plethora of online, solo and coop modes, many of which were added to the based game as DLC back in 2012. These offer you the classic Mercenary modes, where you take on waves of enemies against the clock, as well as several other modes, such as playing as the Nemesis-type creature from Jake’s campaign, Ustanak, and taking on groups of players. Furthermore, the online crossover and enemy encounter feature returns, allowing you to team up with other players in the main campaign during sections that crossover, and allowing players to invade other people’s games as a monster. It’s certainly a neat way to interact with the campaign, however, it can affect the stability of your online coop session.

Resident Evil 6 is a blast when played cooperatively, and if you’re a fan of the on-going story and the characters involved it can prove just as much fun played solo. There are certainly issues with it, technical ones such as the collision detections and level design, and narrative problems, but if you avoided it originally because you just weren’t sure it was worth the asking price, for £15.99 you can now own the definitive edition.

Thanks to Xbox and Capcom for supporting TiX

Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6 coming to Xbox One

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Today, Capcom announced that they will be releasing the fourth, fifth and sixth Resident Evil games on the next gen consoles.

Excitingly, the three games will also feature all DLC ever made for them.

Releasing one at a time for £15.99 each they will start with Resident Evil 6 which will land on March 29th. Resident Evil 5 will launch in the Summer, with Resident Evil 4 later this autumn.

Quite why they’re releasing them in reverse order is anyone’s guess.

Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster review

The Resident Evil series’ evolution towards action hasn’t gone down well with long-time fans who enjoyed the much slower pace and scarier atmosphere of the original titles. Fortunately, however, the Nintendo Gamecube gave rise to the reincarnation of that original design philosophy, as well as the re-emergence of the original Resident Evil, complete with fancy new visuals. Further still, the success of that remake gave birth to a prequel of similar design, Resident Evil Zero, and much like the series titular original Gamecube remake, Zero has also received the HD treatment to resurface all these years later on the Xbox One. And once again, just like Resident Evil HD, Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster is fantastic.

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Resident Evil Zero, like its HD remake predecessor, has its sights firmly on fans of the early Resident Evil titles. This is a puzzle game foremost, one with a superbly creepy atmosphere and oodles of backtracking. As such its slow pace and often illogical puzzle sequences aren’t going to appeal to the wider audience. However, this is what series fans fell in love with back in the days of yore, and Zero’s return to that kind of Resident Evil experience is wonderfully in sync with the original. It is, however, not scary in the slightest, the monsters look gruesome and are dangerous enough to send you to a game over screen swiftly; meanwhile the fixed camera angles make moving around the gothic architecture all the more tense, but it lacks that scare factor of the more successful modern horror titles such as Outcast and Alien Isolation.

Instead Resident Evil Zero is creepy and intriguing, which is particularly well suited to puzzle solving. Enemies are more a puzzle to figure out than a terrifying presence, and juggling inventory management, ammo conservation, and actually figuring out the puzzles to make progress is interesting and rewarding. In fact Zero’s companion system and item management is significantly improved over the previous title, and arguably better than any in the series. Items can now be put down, wherever, allowing you to pick up what you need currently and temporarily discard anything else without having to hunt down a box to put them in. It makes inventory management far less frustrating, and yet your inventory is small enough still to keep managing it a challenge.

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Resident Evil Zero also introduces a permanent companion, with convict Billy joining protagonist S.T.A.R.S rookie Rebecca throughout the adventure. This allows for inventory sharing and new two-person puzzles which all works extremely well without compromising the eerie, solitary experience. This is achieved by often having the two separated by a locked lock or other obstacle, meaning each need to perform their own independent searches and actions to aid the other who is just out of reach. It’s a great way to make the predictable Resident Evil puzzles fresh again, and thanks to a practically instant switch between the characters at the press of a button, it controls and performs smoothly.

There is, however, a pretty significant barrier to the enjoyment Resident Evil Zero ultimately provides: the storytelling and dialogue are appalling. Of course, Resident Evil aficionados know what to expect, especially of an older title like this, but even fans are likely to find their nostalgia damaged slightly on hearing the first few line of dialogue and the first hour or so of story. It’s badly written and poorly setup, however, there’s still that spark of corny, B-movie charm that does enough to keep you playing until the end.

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Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster has been enhanced with a new control system that feels far more responsive than the original system, and makes movement and combat very intuitive and flowing. However, for diehard fans of the original system you can opt for that in the options. The same goes for the aspect ratio, which can be played widescreen or the original 4:3. Audio and visual enhancements are much in line with the HD remastering of the previous title, with the textures seeing an upgrade and the harder edges smoothed out, with the stand out improvement being the lighting, which looks spectacular. Monsters also steal the show, looking wonderfully gruesome.

Indeed, Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster improves on a classic in precisely the right way to make it feel at home on the Xbox One. They simply don’t make horror titles like this anymore, largely because they aren’t scary in this form, but they still hold the ability to entertain with their puzzles and fascinatingly mutated monsters. It take a bit of perseverance in the beginning to get over the terrible voice acting and the lines they spit out, and the story isn’t great on its own merit, however, as part of the larger Resident Evil narrative it’s an important chapter that’s highly enjoyable to play.

Thanks to Xbox and Capcom for their support.

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