Posted on Oct 20th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under gaming, review

For many gamers, October is the time to pull out ghoulish and spooky horror titles to drum up scares appropriate for the Halloween season. As a cohost of the community playthroughs on this site, I tend to get my annual fill of October creepiness with our traditionally horror-themed games during this month every year since our inception. This year however, I decided to try to pack in a few more horror themed titles in my free time to get into the spirit. Of the handful of horror games I played this month, one was a huge disappointment and another was a complete revelation.

I played the first two Dead Space games a while back and I remember liking them both a lot. The first game especially is still regarded as one of the all-time greats when it comes to the survival horror genre. The concept of "Resident Evil in space" is a genius idea and the first two games in the trilogy execute this concept perfectly. Unfortunately, if the first two games are Resident Evil in space, the third installment is more like Resident Evil 5 in space.

Gone is the sense of loneliness and isolation from the first two games. Sure, the second game gave Isaac a voice and had a bit of chatter, but Dead Space 3 is pretty much a soap opera, and Isaac is an unlikable dude this time around. Worse still is the combat. Instead of the patiently intense dismemberment of the earlier titles, in this game there are way too many enemies who tend to run at you and crowd you constricting your movement and making things extremely frustrating. The game was designed for co-op so having a buddy blasting away with you would probably make this better, but playing solo was a huge annoyance. In the end I'm glad I finally finished out this trilogy and saw the third game for myself, but I can't help but agree with the general consensus that this game is a watered down and sold out version of the franchise's previous glory.

Let's move on to something way better, with another game I've been wanting to play for a long time. For my next horror title of the month, I wanted to play Resident Evil: Revelations. I was about to play it on the 3DS but at the last minute decided to play on the Wii U and I am glad I did. Revelations is set chronologically between Resident Evil 4 & 5 and even though I used RE5 as an example of a game losing its heart and focus, I love both of those games. It is actually quite appropriate that Revelations takes place between 4 & 5, because the game is a good mixture of those two games. You'll experience the same third-person over the shoulder aiming and shooting made famous by RE4 and it feels great on the Wii U gamepad.

Gameplay footage courtesy of MrRetroKid91

Because the game launched on the 3DS, it is thankfully broken up into twelve episodes and those episodes can be broken up into as many as four sub-chapters. For my playthrough, which was done on casual difficulty, most of the chapters were completed between twenty and forty minutes and it took me seven hours to complete the whole campaign. This segmented quality of the game really helped my enjoyment of the game. A lot of times I find large environments in survival horror games to be really intimidating and I tend to get lost easily. Revelations is mostly linear, though exploration is possible in certain sections of the game.

A mechanic introduced in this game is a scanner called the Genesis that you can wave around the room in first-person view in order to uncover hidden items. You can also scan enemies with it, and if you scan enough you will receive a green herb. This is a great addition and I found myself compulsively scanning everywhere in sections where the scanner was available. Further, scanning an enemy (especially a boss) that is creeping up to you can be an intense challenge. In fact, I was saved by the scanner on the final boss of the game and beat him by the skin of my teeth because of it, scanning him quickly near the end of the fight to generate a precious green herb to survive long enough to finish him off.

In stark contrast to Dead Space 3, Resident Evil: Revelations is a fun game that had me on the edge of my seat when I was playing it, and thinking about it when I wasn't. I would highly recommend playing on the Wii U or at least the 3DS because using the second screen for its map and other menus in real time made the minute to minute gameplay fluid and seamless. I rarely paused the game to check out the larger map because the area map on the gamepad was usually sufficient. It has been a long time since I played RE4 and RE5, and this game has strongly rekindled my love and interest for the modern iterations of the series.   

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I played Dead Space 3 in co-op quite a few years ago and remember enjoying it well enough, but I can't disagree with any of your criticisms of the game and it definitely felt like a watered-down version of the first two. Playing it in co-op probably helped me to enjoy it more than I would have otherwise. It's actually kind of cool to play as Carver and experience his little freak outs firsthand.

I definitely enjoyed RE Revelations myself, but it sounds like you got a bit more out of it than I did. If you ever feel the urge to play Revelations 2, keep in mind that it's another game made with co-op in mind. I had a ton of fun with it when I played through it a few years ago with a friend, but I'm skeptical that it would hold up well as a single-player experience.
Thanks Steven! I was hoping you'd chime in on this one!

Knowing my tastes, are there any other RE games in this vein that I'm not thinking of besides REV 2? Is 6 really that bad?

Where does the remake of 2 fall into all of this?
@GrayGhost81: Honestly, I thought 6 was a step back from 5 in pretty much every way, but I don't think it's quite as bad as people make it out to be. There's some fun to be had there. I get the feeling that you'd dig it.

REmake 2 is up there as one of my favorite RE games. The overall gameplay mechanics are more in line with RE 4-6 and Revelations but with the environmental and overall game design of the earlier RE titles. I personally think it's a great game, but I get the feeling that it may not be your cup of tea. Still, check it out if you get the chance.
At the start of Dead Space 3 they give you a machine gun.  That was strike one.  Strike two was the microtransactions wedged into the upgrades.  I didn't bother to stick around to see strike three.
I played Dead Space 3 with a friend, and even that didn't do anything for it. We got through it together, but it just can't hold a candle to the first two games. This series deserved much better, and perhaps someday it will get properly rebooted.

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