Resident Evil Revelations, a videogame for Nintendo 3DS, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, focuses on the BSAA counter-terrorism group led by Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. After Chris and his partner Jessica reportedly go missing, Jill and Parker are assigned to find them and their last known co-ordinates point them to the abandoned Queen Zenobia cruise ship, stranded in the middle of the ocean. However, Chris and Jessica aren’t missing at all and are actually in the mountains searching for bio-terrorist organisation Il Vetro who were responsible for the attacks on the floating city of Terragrigia. Unfortunately for both teams, it seems that Il Vetro’s bio-terror experiments are alive and well and they must fight to survive, find out the truth and reunite with their team.
The Official Complete Works companion book to the Resident Evil Revelations game is a display of artwork of the characters, monsters, weapons, costumes, locations and even promotional item artwork for the game. Split into chapters, the book shows great detail of the designs, from sketches to colourful 3D digital artwork that bounces off the page. Character-wise, most pages are dedicated to the character of Jill Valentine, and being a long-running character in the franchise it’s hardly suprising. The artists behind each of the designs have a bit to say on each of the pages about their inspirations and thoughts behind the design in question which is usually quite humorous and lets us know how they came to create the piece in that particular way. One page is dedicated to trying out different hairstyles for Jill whilst another focuses on ‘bonus costumes’ or in other words, “let’s draw Jill in a bikini and other skimpy outfits”. It is funny and I must say, the way they draw the female anatomy is quite impressive and I’m sure many a fanboy might blur the line between real and art. However, don’t feel down, girls, as we have a bonus costume art of hunky Chris Redfield in a very tight sailor outfit… even if he does look like a missing member of The Village People.
Resident Evil Revelations the game doesn’t mind throwing monsters at you straight away – after all, your team are move than prepared having experienced creatures many a time before now. The monsters come in various shapes and sizes, from giant gooey blobs with teeth hidden underneath their body to bloated and deformed human-cum-monster hybrids shuffling after you. On the Queen Zenobia cruise liner where you find yourself, they’re mainly of the human/monster mutant variety but missions elsewhere, such as in the snowy mountains with Chris and Jessica or escaping the building with Jessica and Parker on the floating city of Terragrigia, they’re more animal based, be it wolf or a giant reptile. With the game mainly based at sea, the water and the creatures that live in the ocean are definitely an inspiration for the designs with the tentacles, claws and shapes of the monsters looking like something you could well find at the bottom of the ocean. Each of these monsters are showcased in the book to gaze upon in their full glory, including sketches, painted concept art and also computer generated 3D models. Even monsters that weren’t used in the game are included in the book, with artist commentary on each of the designs accompanying the art.
It’s fantastic to sit down and get stuck into this book, reliving the designs up close and being able to properly study them. The stunning locations created in the game are wonderful to play in, like the fishing village, the snowy mountains and the luxurious hall on the cruise liner. I recall being awed by their beauty as I played, particularly on the cruise ship. Equally the monsters are impressive too but in the game I’m too busy panicking and trying to kill them before they kill me that I don’t have enough time to admire the work gone into creating them, which is where this book allows you to study the nghtmarish creatures in great detail. Even the floating eye in the porthole used for the game’s cover artwork and title screen is showcased in the book with the concept and idea behind it detailed by the artist. So much work goes into a game and this book from Capcom allows you to study and appreciate the ideas and illustrations without having to worry about suddenly being attacked, as you do when playing the game.
The 21cm x 30cm, 200 page paperback book is thoroughly enjoyable to check out and read though I feel this may benefit fans of artwork and illustration more. In the grand scheme of things, it features very little writing so someone who’s looking for a more comprehensive book on the game might be left a little disappointed. However, the writing that is included in this book is very insightful and its informal approach is quite refreshing, particularly when one of the artists comments on how he didn’t think his artwork would see light of day until it was put into the book, to his embarassment. Artists, particularly those into character creation and videogame art, will surely find this book extremely helpful into how art works in the gaming world, but likewise, fans of the game too, like myself, will enjoy what the book has to offer.