Over the course of 21 years, Resident Evil has shown the video game community that the franchise isn’t afraid to make a left turn in order to redefine itself. Back in 2012, Capcom ambitiously released the well received Resident Evil Revelations for the Nintendo 3DS, but it found even greater success when it was released on other platforms and warranted a sequel a few years later. Now both games have resurfaced for the Nintendo Switch as of the end of last year.
The game’s story involves Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield teaming up to stop the bioterrorist organization Il Veltro from releasing a deadly virus into the world’s oceans. You’ll be playing as Jill for the most part, with the game starting on an abandoned cruise ship that we all know isn’t really abandoned and moves on to areas within the surrounding infected waters. The game uses the same camera system that we’ve seen in Resident Evil 4 which works wonders with the Nintendo Switch’s controller layout, but I’d recommend lowering the sensitivity of the aiming as the default configurations can make things a little fiddly.
Through most of my play through, the Switch was in my hands in portable mode, with the game aiming for and reaching 60fps at 720p most of the time. It doesn’t always manage it, and docked play in particular has dips in performance, though it still aims for 60fps while jumping up to 1080p. It’s not too bad and doesn’t affect crucial gameplay moments in any way, but it’s a hiccup worth mentioning.
For those worried about the experience being tainted while playing in portable mode, I personally found playing in handheld mode much easier on the eyes and smoother all round – and no less scary! Popping headphones on to play when you’re in bed is a much more terrifying experience than with the console docked, even if it is much easier to pull the sheet up to cover your eyes!
Moving into the second half of the collection, Resident Evil Revelations 2 is slightly different. For one, the game is a substantial improvement on the original Revelations and offers a wonderful online co-op experience which I particularly enjoyed playing through with friends. The combat and input sensitivity feels the same when compared to Revelations on the Switch, and with the same tweak to make it less fiddly.
This time around it’s Claire Redfield in the spotlight, as she and her co-worker Moira Burton bareing knocked unconscious and taken to a remote location where the infected people are being held. When they wake up, they can both hear the sound of a woman’s voice telling them that she is the “Overseer” and that she’s watching their every move. The game from this point on is a little bit like the movie Saw, where you’re being watched via cameras as you progress. You also eventually come to play as Barry Burton, father to Moira Burton, as he’s frantically searching for his daughter and meets an odd little girl named Natalia alone the way.
As mentioned, Revelations 2 supports a well-constructed co-op gameplay experience, so you’ll be able to play as both Moira and Natalia throughout your playthrough. While these two characters aren’t particularly helpful when it comes to combat, they will help Claire and Barry find cool secrets and solve interesting puzzles. This also helps break things up between the action and the nail biting moments of the game and make the experience a much more varied and enjoyable game to get through.
The port itself is wonderfully done, but with the more advanced graphics comes lower performance, meaning that the Switch is much closer to 30fps with its unlocked frame rate, but still has 720p handheld and 1080p docked. There is a step up in graphical quality, so while the frame rate may be disappointing to some and definitely inferior to the game on PS4, it’s still a good experience. Much like the first game, Revelations 2 seems to be optimised to run the best it can on each resolution without making a mess of things.
One of the main problems is that the collection is 38GB in all – available separately, it’s 12GB for Resident Evil Revelations from the eShop and a huge 26GB for its sequel. If you buy a US retail copy, you’re getting the first game on cartridge and a digital copy of the second, meaning you have to have a sizeable microSD card, which is fast becoming a necessity for Switch owners.
Overall, I’d say Resident Evil Revelations Collection is the best portable Resident Evil experience to date. It’s also the only survival horror game on the Switch right now and is equally enjoyable in the Switch’s handheld and docked modes.