Resident Evil: Revelations | Demo Impressions
Resident Evil Revelations for the 3DS is a much needed exclusive for Nintendo's game starved portable, bringing the beloved survival horror franchise to handhelds for the first time since the Deadly Silence on the original DS (not counting the crummy iPhone games or The Mercenaries 3D). Thing is, though the game is a welcome addition to the pitiful 3DS library, there's a few factors which had us hesitant to immediately embrace it.
For example, though the game offers a ton of content, including some very exciting multiplayer modes, it's 4GB capacity cartridge means the it will retail for $50, $10 more than your standard 3DS title. Additionally, the game will be one of the first to offer support for the Circle Pad Pro, Nintendo's optional second analog stick. Unfortunately, the game does not come bundled with this $20 accessory, leaving us questioning whether the default controls would suffice.
Truth is that having now played through the Resident Evil: Revelations demo (now available on the 3DS eShop), I definitely have fewer reservations about the title, and with Mario and Zelda quickly growing stale, I will seriously consider snapping this polished zombie-shooter up when it launches February 7th.
The demo starts with series familiar Jill Valentine awakening in a mysterious bedroom, quickly receiving a call from her partner Parker. The game's cinemas are on par with what I'd expect from a home console game, and it's nice to see that even brief radio chatter is professionally voice acted (clearly we've come a long way since the original Resident Evil).
Very quickly the game throws your first zombie at you, letting you figure out the controls as it shambles slowly your way. Players move about in third-person, though the over-the-shoulder combat of the console games has been replaced with a first-person view. Your aim is assisted by a targeting sight (who's color you can customize in the options!), while swap out primary and secondary weapons with the d-pad. Your stock of healing green herbs can also be instantly used with a single button press, and it seems the game may have gotten away with the traditional colored herb combinations, making the green herb your one-stop healing solution.
Like most Resident Evil games, staying away from the enemy is crucial. Getting ensnared by one of the baddies will cause them to immediately start sucking Jill's blood dry, forcing players to mash the X button to get away. Luckily the game's quick-turn movement is available, so players caught in a tight spot can press A while jamming down on the circle pad in order to spin around and flee. The few fights found in the demo are honestly less than thrilling, and I'm hoping the game eventually forces strategies more complex than "run away, open fire, repeat."
Moving on through this mansion (apparently a "mansion boat" if that makes any sense), players will soon encounter a simple puzzle, requiring them to rearrange nodes on a circuit board, completing a circuit by untangling the wires. This puzzle makes good use of the touch screen, and I'm glad to see that some of the series' traditional puzzle solving has maintained through this action-based iteration. Again however, the puzzle takes maybe five seconds to solve, and I'm hoping to see some more complex brain teasers in the full title.
Perhaps most of note is the new item scanner accessory. Somewhat similar to Metroid Prime's scan visor, the device lets players search about the environment in first-person for hidden items and clues, marked as circles. Though it can be a relief to find some extra ammo hiding in the corner of a room, the real question is whether the Revelations developers have balanced the game for those who don't want to scan every single room for possible items. This could quickly become a hassle if it's the only surefire way to keep your inventory stocked, and I'd of preferred the feature was limited to use in puzzles and information collection. Players can also scan enemies, though the use of this feature wasn't fully explained, simply granting me another green herb once I'd scanned enough of them.
A few short zombie fights later you'll re-unite with your partner Parker, making it to the bridge of the ship only to be ambushed by a mysterious man. Sadly, this is where the demo ends, the total playtime far too short for anyone to make a meaningful judgment about Resident Evil: Revelations. That being said, the action I encountered was competent and the controls were fairly tight, the game showing some real promise. The real question will be whether the simplistic puzzles and linear exploration showcased remain the norm, or if the game begins to ramp up in much-needed complexity as players progress.
Also, like all 3DS games, the 3D visuals hurt my goddamn eyes and I turned them off after maybe a minute. There's the option to put the game in some sort of crazy super 3D if your brain can handle it, but hey, that's your call.