Resident Evil: Revelations is a good test case for whether or not handheld games can make the transition to consoles. Originally launched to critical acclaim, it stood out because it wasn't just another Resident Evil action game plonked on the 3DS (we already had Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D for that). Everything about it - from the graphics, to the environments, to the enemy design and the perfectly packaged episodic content - targeted a small screen and gaming on the move.
It felt like it had been lovingly created by a team that understood exactly what a 3DS gamer would want and proved that the little handheld could do an awful lot more than cutesy platformers and 2D shoot 'em ups. Understanding your audience and the medium they're playing seemed to be the key in this instance and perhaps that's why the Wii U conversion ends up feeling a little flat.
Cruise 'N' Ooze
The basic premise for Revelations still stands and it's still an enjoyably cheesy old yarn filled with classic Resident Evil twists and turns. After a terrorist group by the name of Il Veltro releases a bio-organic weapon into the population of floating city Terragrigia, the BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) are called into action to clean up the mess. It all goes Licker-shaped and they end up nuking the joint.
Cut to years later and it seems that the decimated Il Veltro may still exist after all. Cue Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield and newcomers Parker Luciani and Jessica Sherawat to investigate and ultimately save the day.
The pacing of the story is still really effective. Even though the TV dramatisation nature of the episodic, 'previously, on Resident Evil Revelations...' chapters was designed specifically for gaming on the move, it actually fits the big screen quite well. Your main characters are split up into two teams (plus an extra team later on in the game) and you'll spend the game going back and forth between the two, skipping through time so that the back story can be filled out until you're all brought together into the present day.
Port in a storm
The underlying structure, and even the main gameplay, makes the transition intact. It's a satisfying mix of old and new Resident Evil styles, with modern-day action and production grafted onto a claustrophobic, nerve-shredding survival horror stem of old. But as we've said before, the game isn't the success it should be and much of this is down to a lack of understanding of, and empathy with, the Wii U hardware.
Fans, this reviewer included, have been crying out for a big-screen version of Revelations since it launched on 3DS. The Wii U GamePad is a heaven-sent gadget for Chris Redfield and co. Hold up the GamePad to scan around the room with the secret-busting Genesis gadget... Use the touch-screen to zoom in and out of 3D maps, touching and highlighting areas of interest and making a note of any ammo stashes... Get radio messages via the GamePad... all that jazz.