‘RESIDENT EVIL: REVELATONS’ (M)
Last year’s “Resident Evil: Revelations” for 3DS was just that — a revelation for fans of the once great survival horror franchise. Ever since “Resident Evil 4,” the series has been lost at sea, drifting further and further away from its suspenseful origins, into the rough waters of unrelenting, over-the-top action. While “Revelations” has its fair share of frantic gunplay, these moments are interspersed amongst creepy corridor crawls and long periods of eerie silence. The setting of an adrift luxury liner is one of the series’ more atmospheric backdrops, filled with an abundance of hidden secrets and grisly hints of the horrors that await. It’s all very reminiscent of the zombie-infested mansion in the Arklay Mountains that started it all, and that’s a good thing.
“Revelations” also served as a testament to the graphical power of the 3DS. But while it remains the best looking game on the handheld platform, the visuals are not nearly as impressive when blown up on a large HDTV. The character models still look fantastic, but the scenery is full of muddy, low-res textures and an overall lack of detail. And unfortunately, the transfer from portable system to home console didn’t involve a rewrite of the game’s script, which — despite the presence of fan-favorites Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine — is an embarrassing mess of overblown, nonsensical twists, further confusing the series’ already convoluted mythology. But overall, “Revelations” is a step in the right direction, and for fans that missed it on 3DS, it serves as an antidote to last fall’s “Resident Evil 6,” the series’ nadir. Like its original antagonists, this series may very well come back from the dead.
‘DONKEY KONG COUNTRY RETURNS 3D’ (E)
While “Resident Evil: Revelations” suffers in its transition from the small screen to the big screen, “Donkey Kong Country Returns” struggles with the reverse. On Wii, the ever-shifting environments of this challenging platformer required quick reactions to tiny obstacles — obstacles that are often too tiny to discern on the small 3DS screen. This invariably leads to several frustrating deaths for the titular simian. The game attempts to compensate for the added difficulty with a “New” mode, which grants additional health and power-ups, but it would’ve been preferable if the game had dealt less punishment, rather than simply enabling you to endure more of it.
‘FAST AND FURIOUS: SHOWDOWN’ (T)
Even by the notoriously low standards of movie tie-in games, “Fast and Furious: Showdown” is astonishingly bad. Based loosely on the dumb fun film franchise of the same name, this game offers a series of pointless races, many of which forget to include a finish line and simply inform you that the race, at some point, ended. The characters from the films are voiced by unconvincing sound-alikes, with the exception of Vin Diesel, who doesn’t appear at all. On second thought, perhaps this game isn’t related to the film series at all. “Fast” simply refers to the speed at which this game was put together, and “Furious” refers to the reaction of anyone who plays it. CV