10 Thoughts on… Resident Evil: Revelations (Nintendo 3DS)

So a few months ago, back at E3 in 2011, I had the chance to check out Resident Evil: Revelations in basic demonstration form, and to say that the impression it left was good would be an understatement. Now, I’m a self-professed fan of the franchise, and while 2011’s initial 3DS franchise release, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, was something of a disappointment, everything about Resident Evil: Revelations has implied it will be anything but. A new chapter in the franchise story, featuring new and returning cast members, new environments and new gameplay concepts, as well as 3D visuals sounds like a pretty tasty experience, and it makes sense that Capcom would push out a demo as we draw closer to release. As I wanted to try and get a feel for the game without the whole “standing in line and being surrounded by a sea of people” experience that marked the first go-round, I thought I’d share with you what my second impressions are on the game, going in.

1.) The one thing I noticed upon downloading the demo is that, like the demo of Mario and Sonic 2012, it comes with a uses count; in other words, you can only play the demo thirty times (in this case) before it ceases to function. I have no idea what the purpose of this is, to be honest, because

A.) being that it’s a demo there’s not likely to be anyone who would WANT to play it more than thirty times anyway,
B.) it prevents, say, people who have friends or co-workers who might be interested from playing the game if they lack either a 3DS or readily accessible wireless capability, and while that’s a stupid point in context, SO IS THE FACT THAT THE DEMO ONLY HAS THIRTY USES, and
C.) the demo can only be ACCESSED thirty times, and you can play it as much as you want once it’s running,

Meaning there is LITERALLY no point to this counter and I have no idea why it’s here. Now, this is clearly a Nintendo thing and not a Capcom thing, but either way, it’s fairly annoying, to be frank. At least the timer from the demo included with The Mercenaries 3D isn’t here, though. Woof. However, do note that if left to its own devices the demo will reset after about three to five minutes, so, pausing is basically useless, just so you know.

2.) The second thing I noticed, upon poking around in the options, is that there will be some fairly interesting mechanical options available to players looking to pick this up. For one thing, the game allows use of the Circle Pad Pro device that can be added onto the 3DS when it launches, allowing for two analog sticks at once, though I don’t have one available to test with at this time, for somewhat obvious reasons. The game also offers first and third person aiming depending on your personal preferences, as well as Gyro Sensor aiming, allowing the player to tilt the 3DS to aim at enemies. This isn’t really a friendly mechanic, to be honest, but with a little effort it’s likely to be a more accurate aiming method than using the sticks if one were to put the time into it, which is interesting, if nothing else. There is also an option to change the value of the 3D effect beyond what the depth slider offers, though the 3D now seems functional enough that adding in such a feature seems needless. Oh, and there will apparently be English and Japanese voices included in the game, which is pretty cool, though Resident Evil as a series isn’t exactly known for this thing.

3.) For reference, this demo is basically the demo that was on display at E3, meaning that the Ten Thoughts I wrote at that point effectively covers a lot of what one will see here, so if you read over that by clicking on the link above you’ll have a good idea of my base thoughts. The demo starts off with Jill waking up in a bedroom, Jill’s partner Parker shows up, very little is explained about the plot except that Jill and Parker are on a boat with murderous things, it’s all very mysterious and vague, as before. I still like the idea of Resident Evil trying to introduce some mystery into the plot, and the scenes are still as effect some several months later, so I’m hopeful the rest of the game can pay that hope off.

4.) The game still looks pretty damn good, relative to the console it’s based on, and it’s easily one of the best looking games on the 3DS right now, and a good bit more impressive than The Mercenaries 3D. The environments look excellent, the animations are strong, and the enemies are a good bit more detailed than they appeared on the initial screening of the game, featuring fangs and claws and all sorts of impressive deadly bits. Having had a chance to experience the 3D now in all its glory, I can also say it’s actually pretty solid, given that this is a game that feels like it would be made for such a feature. It looks like Jill remains two-dimensional while the world around her becomes 3D, from first impressions, and if so that’s an interesting idea, though I don’t know how well that will work long term. On the other hand, I tend to get headaches using the 3D effect and managed to complete the entire demo without an issue so it seems like it’s working fairly well.

5.) As noted previously, the monsters still have this Tyrant meets Dead Space vibe to them, with gender neutral bodies and no real expressions to speak of, but they look a good bit more menacing with some more details added to them at this point. They all seem to have some sort of weird vampiric design to them as well, with suckers in their mouth that drains blood from the victim, which combines with the sharp bits and fangs and spikes and such to make an impressive monster. They’re not as interesting psychologically as the zombies or Las Plagas because they lose that “I have met the enemy and it is us” effect, but they’re still powerful, imposing enemies that aren’t going to be easy to fight, so I’m sold, at this point.

6.) Once again, there is a good amount of use made of the touch screen for inventory management and the odd bit of puzzle solving, such as removing screws from a panel to open a door, as well as showing you how much ammo you have available in your weapons. The D-Pad still handles the actual weapon selection, but you can use the touch screen to monitor ammo loaded and in reserve, as well as to look over your inventory. You also get a map on the screen that shows you the game world map as you discover it, making it easier to follow along with where you are than in prior games. The puzzle solving so far amounts to some mildly amusing touch screen puzzles that may or may not be expanded in the final release, but nothing has been added to the E3 demo so at this time there’s nothing further to be said here.

7.) As before, about halfway through the demo you acquire a search gun of sorts that allows you to scan the environment by bringing it up and aiming it at hotspots in the game world, which in turn allows you to find hidden items. What wasn’t apparent prior is that you can also scan the enemies you face to fill a percent meter at the top of the scan view. Live enemies fill the bar more than dead ones, but dead ones are far less risky to scan, making for a powerful tradeoff in risk/reward benefits. However, the demo doesn’t indicate what this might do; I forced myself to keep trying until I got one hundred percent and nothing of note happened at all, sadly, so it’s uncertain what this does from the demo play at this point.

8.) The game also introduces sub-weapon mechanics into the mix; basically, instead of having a fully functioning inventory allowing you to flip around between slots to equip gear, instead you’re given a sub-weapon slot that allows for extra secondary attacks while still keeping your gun equipped. The knife is your default sub-weapon, though the demo also gives you grenades to play with, and you can switch between sub-weapons with a press of the left arrow on the D-Pad, making the function intuitive and easy to work with in a pinch. The demo still doesn’t address how the custom parts you can find will work, unfortunately, but that they’re there is intriguing all the same.

9.) The gameplay is still exactly as you’d expect; the analog stick moves, the right bumper aims, you use one button to fire and another to reload, and so on. The 3DS gimmicks like the first person aiming, gyroscopic aiming and so on are nice additions, and the first person aiming works great and makes life a good bit easier for targeting purposes, while the gyroscopic aiming is interesting in execution but hard to really get a hang of at first. The loading, or lack thereof, is also excellent, as you can easily go through a fairly large area without seeing any noticeable loading, which will be fantastic if it transitions into the final game in the same fashion.

10.) While it would have been nice to see more out of this demo than what was on display at E3, it’s understandable that such a demo is fine to show off to the general public, as they won’t have had the chance to see it. Further, given the chance to actually plow through it a handful of times at my own pace, it was nice to see elements that weren’t readily apparent the first time around. Resident Evil: Revelations is still looking to be one of the best 3DS games released this year, so far, and there are no indications from this demo that anything else will be the case. So long as there’s not another “cannot delete save data” scandal with this release, ala The Mercenaries 3D, this could well be an excellent system selling release, just in time to compete head-on with the PS Vita, so here’s hoping the final product pays off the promise of the demo as well as one would hope.

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