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The nature of the “exclusive”
has been an increasingly hot topic among game fans since at least the
2000s. One game can be seen as the savior of the platform; the one that
will boost it to new heights, because watching big companies make money
is fun, right? But in this generation, more and more exclusive games
end up becoming multiplatform titles available to anyone, where it
doesn’t matter which system you bought. Eventually, the scorned fanboys
move on to their next point of contention, and everybody expects it to
happen to big-budget third-party console games. But what happens when
an exclusive handheld game goes straight to consoles in just over a
year?

That’s the question hovering
over Resident
Evil Revelations, which we all
thought was going to stay on Nintendo 3DS after its release last year,
but now Capcom is revisiting the game and renewing it on Xbox 360, PS3,
Wii U and PC to give more people a taste of the action. As a bridge
between the stories of Resident Evil 4
and 5,
Revelations mostly centers on longtime RE heroine Jill Valentine and a
new cast of characters on bioterrorism cases onboard a creaky cruise
liner, which is extravagant enough to possess a mansion-like decor to
it — in case you needed reminding this was a Resident Evil game.

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The
point about exclusives is
brought up only because the new treatment of Revelations doesn’t have
much else that’s questionable after an early first look. I played
through some parts of the game only briefly, and because the game is so
close to release (it’s set to come out in the late part of May), it was
clear that a lot was already done. You’re free to pick your control
schemes between “classic” tank-like motion or newer “shooter”-style
controls to move through corridors as well as you would in Resident
Evil 5 or 6. There’s no extra story content, but plenty of new weapons
to upgrade and piece together; a new beastly enemy to encounter (of
which little was actually talked about); a more extreme difficulty
mode, and a rejiggered multiplayer “Raid” mode that will be playable
online, natch, as well as include more specific weapons and fan
favorite character Hunk.

And of course, it looks great,
and almost overwhelming to see that tiny 3DS game blown up to HDTV
proportions. While hardly a remake — some character and environment
detail is improved, but not to an insanely impressive degree –
Revelations still has an unmistakable eeriness to it, as running around
the mostly-dim cruise ship is a much more distinct experience than the
more open-air levels of the numbered RE games. The detail was increased
to the point where, according to producer Tsukasa Takenaka, you can see
the tools inside Chris Redfield’s pouches. Otherwise, it’s all here,
and it appears to look and play just fine.

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And in some ways, I barely have
to tell you that, though it may be best to wait for the final version
before reading a review of the 3DS version, or something. Still,
Revelations got a lot of hype and praise when it was originally
released on 3DS a year ago, as it both looked impressive and came at a
lean time for software, and that’s likely to carry over to the console
versions. And yet it’s a bit humorous to see Revelations come back so
soon after its original version, and in a way that many people wanted
it in the first place. Much of the praise for Revelations was centered
in fans’ appreciation that it felt like a “real” (old) Resident Evil
with “real” (old) controls, though others would have preferred not to
have the game on the small-screen 3DS. Whether or not you believe in
“paid off” third-party exclusives, the fact that a pretty good Resident
Evil game took just a year to get an upgrade on multiple, non-portable
systems has an undeniable sting to it.

Yet there’s a brilliance,
however intentional, in the fact that it is
coming out this soon. After half of the world’s outrage was spent last
fall on blasting cannonballs of negativity towards Resident Evil 6
(to say nothing of Operation:
Raccoon City on top of it), it’s
inevitable that Capcom bringing the last widely-praised RE to nearly
the rest of the hardcore gaming population will work out to everybody’s
satisfaction.

By Ray Barnholt