Resident Evil Revelations’ Switch Motion Controls are Really Good

By Kirk Hamilton on at

This week, 2012's Resident Evil Revelations and its 2015 sequel come to the Nintendo Switch. Both remasters are largely similar their console counterparts, with one big difference: motion controls.

If you’ve played a Resident Evil game, you know how important aiming is. Ammo is limited, and the monsters you’re fighting take a lot of hits to go down. You’ll frequently find yourself holding fast as a monster bears down on you, carefully aiming for their head (or other weak spot) and hoping you can stop them before they reach you.

The motion controls in Revelations are well done and make the game much more fun to play. It works like this: as you explore, you move the camera with the thumbstick as normal. You can invert the thumbstick if you want. Press the left trigger to aim your weapon, and the motion controls kick in. You can use the thumbstick for big motions while moving the Switch Joy Con for fine control. (Oddly, neither game allows for motion aiming with the Switch Pro Controller.) You can also use motion controls to aim your Genesis scanner in the first game, as well as a few other functions, but the aiming is the main thing.

The motion controls are reminiscent of the Wii port of Resident Evil 4, a version of the game that’s widely praised because of the added precision offered by Wiimote aiming. The whole thing took me a bit of getting used to, but once I did, I was hitting headshots with much greater ease. That makes Revelations and its sequel the latest Switch games to take advantage of motion-controlled aiming, joining games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Skyrim, and Splatoon 2. I wouldn’t have predicted I’d like motion controlled shooting as much as I do, but here we are.

Motion controls do highlight the differences between handheld and docked Switch play, and I had a much better time playing both games docked than in handheld mode. You can still aim by moving the Switch around in your hands, but it’s not very practical or precise when you’re sitting next to someone on an airplane or even just lying in bed. When I play Revelations on the go, I usually just use the thumbstick.

Capcom could’ve done a quicker, dirtier port, and I appreciate that they took the extra time to build in support for one of the Switch’s distinct features. Feels like it’ll only be a matter of time before the HD remaster of Resident Evil 4 comes to Switch, likely similarly enhanced with motion controls. I will definitely play that, and maybe this time I’ll even finish it.

A few other stray thoughts:

  • I actually find that I like the first Revelations more than the second one, despite the fact that it’s an up-res’d port of a 3DS game. The sequel has more interesting mechanics, more involved co-op, and a more fleshed out “Raid” mode, but I prefer the first game’s haunted ship as a setting. At least in its opening chapter, the sequel feels like generic dirty Saw/Hostile-style horror asylum. Boring.
  • I also like that the first Revelations runs at what appears to be an unlocked frame-rate, frequently maintaining what feels like 60fps. The more detailed sequel is locked at 30fps.
  • If you buy online, you’ll need a lot of free space. Revelations takes up 12GB of space, while the sequel takes up 23.6GB. My third biggest game is Telltale’s first Batman season at 6.1GB, followed by Mario Odyssey at 5.3GB.
  • I do like how Revelations 2 plays with co-op, letting you switch back and forth between them even in single-player. I only wish I liked the setting more. Patrick Klepek wrote a bunch about that game back when it came out, so if you want to know more go read his articles. There’s the disappointing start, the improved middle, and the letdown finale.
  • Given that the first Revelations debuted on 3DS but the sequel never made it to a Nintendo system, it’s fitting that both games would make it to Switch.
  • This line, spoken early on by Chris Redfield’s partner Jessica, is as enjoyably ludicrous as ever: