IF YOU HAD asked me a week ago to list all the must-have games that have appeared since the 3DS debuted nearly a year ago, the entire roster would have been first-party Nintendo games. That was before I played Resident Evil: Revelations.
If you recall Resident Evil 5, you'll feel very familiar with the 3DS-exclusive Revelations: The controls have been translated almost directly from its console predecessor, and Capcom deserves praise for somehow making that work on the handheld's fewer buttons.
More importantly, though, Capcom deserves praise for using the 3DS' 3D technology as well as any developer to date. The big things—explosions, enemies jumping out of nowhere—get a proper amount of bombastic 3D punch, but more impressive are the subtle nuances Capcom added to certain flat objects. The game's official logo, for instance, has an eye moving behind a foggy, glassy frame, and by giving the darting eyeball an illusion of minor depth, Capcom was able to create a surprisingly eerie title screen.
Likewise great is Capcom's attempt at moving the series backwards in time. Revelations, more so than RE4 or 5, emphasizes a spooky, oppressive atmosphere while tasking players to solve esoteric logic puzzles. It's not quite as "scary" as the first few Resident Evil games, but it is certainly more tense and unnerving than the most recent ones.
The game's biggest addition may be its only real failing: Shortly after you start the story, your character is given an item scanner that helps you hunt hidden items within the scenery. In practice, it's a gimmick that seems shoehorned into the story, but it's also entirely optional, and for completionist gamers this thing is like catnip.
This is where you fans breathe a sigh of relief. Despite its notable lack of a fat plumber, Revelations deserves a spot in every 3DS owner's library. If nothing else, it's the best representation of what the handheld is truly capable of.