The year 1996 may not seem like all that long ago, but a decade and a half in video game franchise years can be calculated much the same way as dog years. Let’s just say it’s been quite a stretch. And so between the Resident Evil franchise’s 75-plus titles (a crazy-large number that Capcom claims), the half-dozen movie adaptations, along with countless novelizations and comics, well, this survival horror grandpa has wandered its way through any number of jumbled storylines and convoluted kill-the-chemically-mutated-beastie challenges. So much so, that the series’ video gaming base has been rather disappointed as of late.
No, fans aren’t disappointed from a Plugged In perspective. Most don’t care much about the levels of gunk, gore and bullet-riddled body parts splashing down in the family room. Rather, it’s because recent outings have drifted away from the game’s lurching-monster-in-the-pitch-black-corridor-of-a-rotting-mansion roots and become more action-adventure rote. (There are only so many creepy mansions owned by evil corporations that one can plausibly “discover.”)
So Resident Evil: Revelations was created to help soothe such concerns. As for the goopy entrails part? Well, you’ll soon see …
Lurching It, Old School
This latest evil in residence brings back classic series mainstays Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, a pair of seasoned but still youthfully attractive agents of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance. This paramilitary-like organization is on the case of an entire city being wiped out by a purposefully disseminated deadly virus and a gaggle of Bio Organic Weapons (otherwise known as B.O.W., and presented as shambling, bulging mutants or giant, blobby ooze monsters with shark teeth). The culprits behind this heinous act? Reportedly a group of terrorists know as Il Veltro. But is it really? Dun-dun-dun!
The good guys, with their new partners in tow, have to make their way out to a now submerged and devastated city to investigate several luxury ocean liners that were used as the staging stations for the sinister island city attack. And the twisting tale of interweaving intrigue involving killers and power-hungry government officials is pulled apart strand by strand from there.
The bottom line is that players tag-team between Jill and her new partner Parker, and Chris and his new sidekick Jessica. In their skins, you run the old-school, dark, dank hallways, cabins, casinos, freight lifts and engine rooms, and swim the claustrophobic underwater ducts of the decrepit oceangoing vessels looking for clues and fighting bloated, erupting, slavering grotesqueries at every turn.
And that’s our reentry point to the oozing innards question. Yep, they are afoot and a-floor and a-wall and a-everywhere else. You brandish handguns, shotguns, sniper rifles and fully automatic machine guns as you toss grenades and use melee knives to get the bloody job done.
I won’t say this is the goriest M-rated title out there. And you aren’t really killing people. Most of the targets are bubbling, knotted up, fleshy monstrosities that no longer fully resemble the humans many of them once used to be. But gore and goop splatters, spurts, drips and pools nonetheless.
Battle Armor for the Guys; Battle Brassieres for the Dolls
Resident Evil games have always had an odd sensuality mixed in there with all that beastie butchery. And Revelations makes sure to “satisfy” on that front as well. While the guys are all dressed in typical military armored gear, the ladies have apparently contracted a more seamy seamstress to design their duds:
Why wear comfortable cotton or tough canvas, ladies, when you can don a latex wetsuit that makes sure male players at home can examine your every curve and crevice? Why cover up with bulky body armor when you can show off an open zipper down the front to make sure you have lots of upper torso ventilation? Newcomer Jessica also makes sure that her costumes have quantities of cutaway leg and thigh freedom—which makes running in those high heels so much easier!
Now add the standard s-words and other crudities (“d‑‑n,” b‑‑tards,” “b‑‑ches,” “a‑‑”), along with abuses of God’s name to the horrifying bosses, deadly intrigue and dark corner-lurching uglies and you quickly see when playing Resident Evil: Revelations that it does seem to be making a concentrated effort to harken back to its (rotted) roots.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.