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Feb 16, 2012
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By Matthew Scott Hunter

‘Resident Evil: Revelations’

(M)

****1/2

Capcom

Nintendo 3DS

Long before Chris Redfield began taking steroids and zombies got swapped out for villains who were a bit lighter on their feet, “Resident Evil” games were all about suspense, tension and atmosphere. But somewhere along the way, the mantra, “conserve your ammo,” was lost in favor of increasingly over-the-top action that required a munitions factory’s worth of bullets to be fired every few minutes. “Resident Evil: Revelations” — with its creepy, abandoned luxury liner and deliberate pacing — brings fear back to the franchise. The graphics, 3D turned on or off, are amazing, allowing for stunning detail in every dark shadow and every hideous beast that emerges from those shadows. The labyrinthine vessel you explore, with its juxtaposition of decadent accommodations and unmaintenanced machinery, is arguably the most compelling “Resident Evil” environment since the original mansion.

Not that the game is all wandering around in the dark. There’s plenty of action, particularly in a series of side stories that take place off the ship. And beyond the story campaign, there’s even a co-op mode that tasks you and a friend to race to a destination with all manner of unspeakable terrors waiting to get gunned down on the way. But it’s when things quiet down that the game truly excels, managing more than a few genuinely effective jump scares. After the somewhat disappointing “Mercenaries” port, this is the “Resident Evil” game 3DS fans have been waiting for. It’s not merely the best survival horror game available on a handheld. It’s the best survival horror game since “Resident Evil 4.” Period.

‘Final Fantasy XIII-2’

(T)

***1/2

Square Enix

Xbox 360

The first direct sequel to a “Final Fantasy” game since “X-2,” “XIII-2” brings back all the familiar faces from “FFXIII,” albeit with Serah taking over the spotlight from big sister Lightning. The time travel-heavy story is surprisingly weak (and truncated) this time around, but it does permit a much less rigidly linear experience than fans found in “FFXIII.” Not only can you explore alternate paths; thanks to temporal tampering, you can explore alternate timelines. Plus, combat remains interesting with the “Pokemon”-like addition of creatures that can be defeated and then utilized in battle as members of your party.

‘Jak and Daxter Collection’

(T)

****

Sony Computer Entertainment

PlayStation 3

Fans of 3D platformers from the PS2 era can rejoice, as their heroes have returned. Despite some understandably dated graphics — particularly in the first game — the “Jak” series holds up remarkably well, combining good, old-fashioned double-jumping with simple, third-person gunplay. Daxter still manages to elicit a chuckle or two, and the story achieves unexpected levels of epic grandeur by the time it reaches its “Mad Max”-inspired climax. It’s no surprise this developer went on to bring us the “Uncharted” games.



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