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Resident Evil Revelaitons: An Observation

by Andrew Brown - March 5, 2012, 3:37 am PST
Total comments: 17

Capcom really needs to start using spell check. 

Call me a weird one, but when I look through game boxes on store display shelves and see “Intermediate reading skill required to play this game,” it warms my heart just a little. Kids should be able to read, after all—there's so much great literature out there that easily trumps anything that Hollywood churns out. And if a game combines great gameplay with an interesting story involving plenty of text, more power to it.

I'd like to think games provide a helpful literacy boost to those who struggle with reading and don't feel the motivation to pick up a novel, especially the kind of game where mindlessly skipping through text leaves you lost with no idea what to do next.

However, there are certain games that imply that their creators think proofreading isn't cool. Some developers think hitting the spell check button is a waste of time. And then there's one company that repeatedly decides to butcher the English language, and it's not hard to guess which one.

Everyone's had a good laugh at the Resident Evil: Revelaitons thing by now. Shrugging off the cover as a potential collector's item, I dove into the game and began my thrilling journey below the decayed decks of the Queen Zenobia. Less than one minute into the game, Jill remarks that the ship has been deserted for “awhile.” Some 30 seconds later, a partially mutated corpse bursts from a ventilation duct and hangs overhead. “It's arm... I've never seen a mutation like this.”

Sigh. It's going to be one of those games. Things smoothed out for a while, but throughout the rest of the campaign I noticed several other typos, including an obvious doozy during an important and critical plot point: “Not good. Your losing blood.” It's too bad they didn't go for the full experience and use another common mistake: “loosing.” Then there is, of course, the counter for the amount of “Enemys routed” after each and every Raid Mode mission. I don't usually go out of my way to spot spelling mistakes while playing games, but in cases like these where text is not all that abundant, they are painfully obvious and frankly embarrassing. It may not detract from the fun I have while playing the game, but it really hurts the presentation and the professionalism that comes across. This is not 1996. Nor are we playing the game on the original PlayStation. The days of bad translations are long gone, so what's the deal?

At the rate they're going, this is only a matter of time.

Capcom is notorious for this kind of thing. The Phoenix Wright series is among my favorite game franchises ever, but the games are a grammatical nightmare. This is a series that arguably offers more of an intellectual style of game than the usual fare, and yet each new entry gives an overwhelming suggestion of “Yep. We still haven't hired a proofreader.” There are literally dozens of spelling and grammar mistakes in every one of these titles and it really becomes distracting. Who could ever forget “Your honor, when you were in a child...” or “The miracle never happen”?

Don't get me wrong. I love Capcom and I love its games, even though they're adamantly trying to alienate their fans lately, with frequent cancellations and odd corporate decisions involving their popular franchises and veteran staff. And they're not the only offenders when it comes to ridiculously obvious typos. Take the following example. Who keeps printing these slipcovers?

Don't buy this, by the way. Bandai removed half the game from the English version.

The only reason I'm singling out Capcom is because they seem to consistently get language wrong, time and time again. To do a bad Japanese to English translation is one thing, but they have a team of English scriptwriters and editors—a whole group of people who don't seem to know the difference between “your” and “you're.”

A good game should have the potential to proudly compare with the likes of Dickens, Austen, or Doyle. It should take us places and teach us things we can fondly look back on after many years, as it is a form of art and expression, not a lazily written tabloid. This is part of the reason why I never want to hear full voice acting in Zelda games. The characters could speak Hylian with subtitles, but entirely removing the text from what is essentially an interactive adventure novel would detract from the overall experience; to me it would feel “dumbed down.” But that's an article for another time.

Get it? Reve-Laytons? Art by me.



ejamerMarch 05, 2012

I feel asleep!  Must be too early to read blog entries.  (edited: Yes, it was a terrible joke to start with.  Tried to make intent a bit clearer - that it has nothing to do with the quality of the blog - but the base idea was bad enough that I'm not sure any edit could save it from being terminally unfunny.)

Spelling errors aren't a big deal to me - especially in a fully voice-acted game where subtitles are optional - but there really is no reason for them to exist in an otherwise polished and attractive product.  The sad part, which is mentioned in other comments, is that the spelling errors found here don't even hold cheese value. They are just examples of carelessness.

TenserMarch 05, 2012

KBK has a valid point. While errors in text may not distract you, they can potentially detract from a players suspension of disbelief. Text is a part of a game's overall production value and should be noted in a review.

My own pet peeve is swapping "to" and "too" as if they're interchangeable.

Between shoddy English language titles, a terrible connection to the community, and releasing far too many games and updates with barely any content in them, I would be okay with giving up the Resident Evil series if it meant Capcom never being profitable again.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusMarch 05, 2012

Spelling mistakes and bad grammar is a sign of poor professionalism, but they are the most obvious signs of a much deeper problem with the writing as a whole. The plot to Revelations is a nonsensical mess held together with silly string, and sometimes not even that. The dialogue is at best bland, lacking the cultural engrish camp that gave us "Jill sandwich" and "Master of unlocking" that made it tolerable as you advanced to the next nugget of absurdity.

The underlying gameplay is solid. While I don't agree with the direction they took it in, they got this "Right", it works within the different constraints they gave themselves compared to RE4. Given the amount of detail afforded to the rest of the game you would think there was enough resources to go around that even something as low priority as "Plot, Spelling and Grammar" would get a proper level of attention. The disconnect is even more jarring as Capcom took the effort to not only translate the game into 6 different languages, but provide complete voice work for every language, well beyond the usual Japanese and English voice work while everyone else get subtitles.

FreudianLemurMarch 05, 2012

I've noticed a few myself. What irritated me the most is that they can't even get their own acronyms right. In the characters section of the manual, in Clive's bio, they repeatedly refer to the BSSA, right below the section on the BSAA! But I must admit, I don't see what's wrong with "It's arm... I've never seen a mutation like this" (apart form the cheesy use of the ellipsis). Is it the apostrophe you disagree with?

Yeah. "It's" is a contraction of "It is" or "It has", with no exceptions. When referring to "it" in the possessive sense, you remove the apostrophe.
The reason it's commonly written wrong is that proper nouns always have the apostrophe when in possessive form. Jill's, Barry's, Wesker's, Chris', Umbrella's, Raccoon's. If talking about a zombie, however, "It reached out its rotten arm to clutch at her throat..."

Everyone makes typos here and there, to err is human after all. Sometimes I'm reading some old articles of my own and I catch a mistake that made it through the editing process. But to not proofread your stuff before it goes to the printing presses shows a lack of care.

NinSageMarch 05, 2012

When I first started reading this I was like "oh come on, let the RERev box thing go."  But, after reading through the article and learning of all the spelling/grammar errors that I somehow read over, and hearing that Capcom has had a hard time with this over the years, I think it is a worthy article.

I don't think things like this break the game, but I do think they are really sad that they happen and are inexcusable.

KDR_11kMarch 05, 2012

I can't comment on it, I've got a different language version.

FreudianLemurMarch 05, 2012

Quote from: King

Yeah. "It's" is a contraction of "It is" or "It has", with no exceptions. When referring to "it" in the possessive sense, you remove the apostrophe.

Oops. Very good point, I wasn't thinking.

house3136March 05, 2012

One thing I definitely noticed in my copy of RE: Revelaitons was when the acronym A.S.A.P was spelled Asap. I understand the spelling is representative of the slang and actual syntax the characters are using, but that just seems lazy.

powerclaw1March 05, 2012

Capcom is the new Zero Wing.

DcubedMarch 05, 2012

Oh how ironic that you should post this article just a scant few hours early.  Seems that Capcom have already decided to change their name to CAPCPOM!



KlonoahedgehogMarch 05, 2012

Wait, there's a One Piece 3DS game? And why was half the game removed?

In Japan, One Piece Unlimited Cruise SP is a special edition compilation containing both Episode 1 and 2 of the Wii game, essentially a complete collection with 3D enhancements. It also features a new level revolving around one of the major story arcs in the manga recently.

But, the English version only has Episode 1 and the new mode. They took out the entire Episode 2, which was the second half of the story (the first game ends in a cliffhanger). Bandai's reasoning was that changing the in-game text and subtitles to English and the various European languages made the game's file size too big to fit on a 3DS cart. I find it a little hard to believe that there was no workaround.

EDIT: Also, Dcubed, thanks for the link, that's amazing. Did I call it or what?

SMWizMarch 05, 2012

Thank you for pointing this out. Games are entertainment, but entertainment shouldn't mean you turn your brain off. I'm tired of spelling and grammar errors in my video games. They pull you out of the story, destroying the illusion and world that game creators strive so hard to portray. It wouldn't hurt anyone to have a native speaker of the language (or two) in question, do a read through of all the text to assure there are no errors.

Lady MushroomMarch 06, 2012

I have to admit I actually like the slightly rough translation of the Phoenix Wright series. It is not over-localized like many games and one still gets some of the Japanese flavor of the use of honorifics and other cultural elements (the psychic village for example would be a horrible hash if it were too heavily "Americanized"), and while this does mean the translation is not always idiomatic, in my view it is better than overwriting chunks of what makes the story what it is by putting them in a false American context.

I know they are doing this "by mistake" and it goes hand in hand with quite a few other typos, errors and infelicities, but I think it is a price worth paying in that series. I am glad they don't have a super-efficient localization team.

The elementary errors you point out in RE Revelations, though, are just ignorant and rather sad. They are just adding to the ignorance of the growing numbers of people who just don't know these things because they read wrong versions of them all the time, even from people who should know better.

I love your Reve-Laytons picture by the way!

Quote from: King

Bandai's reasoning was that changing the in-game text and subtitles to English and the various European languages made the game's file size too big to fit on a 3DS cart.

And totally false. The Japanese version shipped on a 2GB card, while the European one was on a 512MB card. And now the second half appears to be coming out as a separate release.

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