Time has not been kind to the Resident Evil franchise. After the dismal Resident Evil 6 fans have been cautious at jumping head first into anything that attaches the brand name to a game. The first Resident Evil Revelations game surprised many and eclipsed the big brother, Resident Evil 6, hence there’s been a lot of weight on the shoulders of the direct sequel. But what if I told you that this is the Resident Evil 6 you’ve been waiting for?
(You can read our full Xbox One review here , that touches on the narrative and all episodes, but I’ll recap it for those who never played it before.)
Another abandoned island?
Claire Redfield and her new sidekick, Moira Burton (yes, Barry Burton’s daughter) are kidnapped at a bioware prevention agency, named Terra Save. Upon waking up Claire finds herself in an abandoned jail cell, with Moira not far away. Once meeting up the two must make their way out of the building and off an island, only to discover that *GASP* something is not right. What makes this Resident Evil unique, other than tying in with previous games in the long-standing series, is that you’re playing it in an episodic format. You’ll also get to play as Barry Burton, from Resident Evil 1 fame, as well as a little girl named Natalia.
When playing as either group a press of the triangle button will see you switching between characters. While Claire and Barry takes care of foes by using weapons the other two are not that lucky. Moira can club foes using a crowbar and blind them with her flashlight, which leaves it wide open for Claire to finish off an opponent. Natalia on the other hand can throw bricks at foes and crouch to reveal enemies through walls. Later on her skills improve dramatically and she’ll even see monstrosities that Barry can’t see at all. This will have you switching between the two frantically as Barry is the only one who can destroy it, but can’t see it. So it becomes a bit of a guessing game at times.
Both Natalia and Moira can point out hidden items. See something shining in a corner? Press the left bumper, to point at the item, and you’ll either pick up very valuable ammunition, herbs (yup, both green and red herbs return), bottles and various materials (to create explosion, fire or smoke bombs), weapon upgrade packs or jewels, used to upgrade your skills after each mission. There is good news for oldschool Resi fans – puzzles return. The puzzles aren’t going to completely break your brain as it once did in the past, but there are moments that had me scratching my head for a good few minutes.
Vita or veto?
The first thing you’ll notice is the downgraded graphics. If you played it on the PS4 you’ll be amazed just how rubbish it looks on handheld. And it does not only look terrible by current generation console standards – it pales when compared to other Vita graphical showcases such as Killzone Mercenary and Wipeout 2048. It’s truly a poor port in terms of visual quality and something you would have expected on the PS2. That said, the touch screen features work exceptionally well.
The analogue sticks do feel a little twitchy at first, but you’ll adapt to it after about an hour of playing it. Pressing the D-Pad in various directions will change up your weapons and your face buttons mimics the exact same layout of the Dualshock 4 setup on the PS4. As you would have noticed – two shoulder buttons are missing on the Vita. To overcome this you’ll use your thumbs to tap the top or bottom right or left corners of the screen. Tap the bottom left corner and the character you’re using will crouch. Tap the top left corner and Moira will turn her flashlight on or off. Press and hold the bottom right corner of the screen to use a green herb on the fly. Lastly you have the top right corner of the touch screen. Here it becomes a little trickier, but once mastered it’s simple to execute.
When throwing an object, be that a bottle or brick, you’ll press and hold the left shoulder button, followed by a quick tap of the top right corner of the screen. This changes it up to throwing an item, instead of shooting or pointing. To switch between items (while still keeping your left shoulder button pressed in) you can press any of the face buttons. It sounds very complex when put into words, but it’s actually quite easy to work and I never felt as if I was fumbling my fingers all over the place. There’s however another massive drawback.
Load times slower than zombies
The load times are atrocious. Whenever you load the game up for a playing session from scratch it’ll take (and I timed it) close to 5 minutes to get into the game. The episodic format works so well for a portable game, but the long loading times makes it hard to recommend. Considering that you can use remote play to play your PS4 version on the Vita makes it an even tougher sell.
These days it’s rare seeing AAA games appearing on the Vita. The game will last you well over 15 hours and there is great replay value hidden in there, along with the DLC extras (Little Miss and The Struggle) as well as Raid mode that’ll have you play it online with friends. If you don’t own a PS4 and you’re hell-bent on some scares you can’t go wrong, but if you own it on any other format it’s best to let it rot.