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

The big Resident Evil game on display at the E3 booth this year is Operation Raccoon City, the multiplayer action shooter, but another major release for the series is coming out for the 3DS that was on display at the Capcom booth. Dubbed Resident Evil: Revelations, it deals with some of the events in the life of series mainstay Jill Valentine as she teams up with a new partner, a mysterious man named Parker, as they investigate what looks to be another major biological infestation. The demo presented asks a lot more questions than it answers, which isn’t really surprising for obvious reasons, but what it does do is show that the modern Resident Evil formula is still viable, given the right kick.

1.) The demo starts off with Jill waking up in a bedroom, wondering where she is and how she got there. No indication is given as to how she got there in the first place, which implies either that there are events prior to this point in the game we’re not privy to… or else there’s a lot more going on than the game implies. I like the idea of Resident Evil trying to introduce some mystery into the plot beyond “What are these monsters?” and “Who’s running this show?”, so hopefully it’s the latter, but having played, well, every game in the franchise up to this point (even the Gun Survivor games), I’m assuming it’s the former.

2.) The game looks pretty damn good, relative to the console it’s based on, and this is really a game that, at least based on what was on display here, showcases what the 3DS can do graphically. The environments are fairly well detailed, as is Jill and her cohorts, and the monsters you encounter are interesting and detailed fairly well. On the downside, you won’t see any actual talking during the game from the characters, unless it’s during a cutscene, but relative to the 3D the DS can handle, it’s still a major step updard.

3.) Speaking of the monsters, I’m not sold on the enemies in this game, mostly because they’re a new type of enemy that… isn’t terribly convincing. Gone are the zombies of older Resident Evil fame and the Las Plagas infected people from modern Resident Evil games. Instead, the game uses these fairly gender neutral grayish monsters that look like one part Tyrant and one part something from Dead Space. The assumption is that they’re some sort of evolution of the Uroboros Virus, but nothing is brought up about this during the demo. All that is shown is that there are normal looking humanoid monsters, fat monsters, and somewhat spiky monsters… and they all take a lot of bullets to kill.

4.) Jill is your main protagonist for the demo, but she’s paired up with a new partner, a man named Parker, for the duration of the demo at the very least. It’s not made very clear when this game is taking place, but signs point to it taking place post Resident Evil 5, due mostly to the implication made by prior games that Chris and Jill mostly partnered up exclusively… Code Veronica notwithstanding. Not much information is given about Parker during the demo, however, so we don’t have a lot to go on about the man at this point, except that he kills things, which is really enough for now.

5.) The game makes a pretty good amount of use of the touch screen for both inventory management and puzzle solving. You can select weapons with the D-pad from the inventory, and you can also see how many healing items and what tools you have on your person here as well, making the whole process simple to work with. No indication was made as to whether or not the game will employ any sort of inventory management systems, similar to older games in the series, but so far, signs points to no. The game also presented a puzzle involving unscrewing a metal plate to rewire a door lock that used the touch screen fairly well, making you unscrew the plate, then screw around with the wiring a bit, and it came off as fairly intuitive. It’s not clear how much this sort of thing will play into the main game, but hopefully they’ll do some more work with this before the game releases.

6.) The game also gives you a search device that can be aimed in first person, which I acquired about halfway through the demo. The basic gist is that you scan the room with it and point it at environmental objects that you can then scan by holding down a button. If you’re close enough, the scan will then highlight the object in the game world for you to find. You’ll find green herbs and ammo for your weapons, as you’d expect, but you’ll also find “Custom Parts”, which seem to be something used for upgrading your weapons, though the demo didn’t get into this or didn’t make it apparent how to do so, unfortunately.

7.) For those who are wondering, the game plays about 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 game translates well enough to the 3DS, and it was fairly easy and intuitive to play, so fans of the franchise should have no problems jumping into the game and getting to work. There’s no co-op mechanics that I can see, unfortunately, but for the most part you likely won’t miss this thing in the least, if only because what was on display of the single player works fine.

8.) The game also transitions from room to room with little to no obvious loading, which is good to see from a technical standpoint, though, this being a demo, there’s no indication how the final game will handle this thing. Hopefully this will be the same in the final game, but as data space on the card fills up one never knows for sure how that will affect the technical capabilities of the game.

9.) The demo wraps up by indicating that the characters are on a cruise liner of some sort, by way of showing their tugboat they used to sail out there blowing the hell up and stranding them on the boat. At this point some weird man takes Jill hostage… until she kicks him in the face and dives away, so GO JILL and such. The mystery man implies he knows Parker from somewhere, and then we roll credits, so to say, leaving even more unanswered questions for the release of the game.

10.) Overall, Resident Evil: Revelations has a name that implies it will be filling in a lot of backstory, or at least SOME backstory, for the series, and while Jill Valentine is the only obviously recognizable character of the lot, that’s not to say that what’s going on here won’t be interesting. At this point, the game is looking solid so far, and it’s a lot of fun to play from what time I spent with it, though the final release will be the big tell on how the game works. If nothing else, it gives me hope for The Mercenaries game coming out for 3DS on a mechanical level, though whether or not this will stand up on its own right remains to be seen for sure.

EDIT 6/10/11: After a couple of days, Capcom gave us a fact sheet for Resident Evil: Revelations and I wanted to add two notes to this write-up for general purposes. First, the fact sheet documents that Jill Valentine and Parker Luciani are the characters the story and gameplay are centered on; that said, the E3 trailer implies that Chris and his partner Jessica may be playable at the very end, so it’s possible that this might be an option, as the press kit neither confirms nor denies this. Second, they’ve noted there will be a “First Person” mode that players can use in the game, though what this entails, at this point, isn’t apparent, though the likely answer is “it will be like Resident Evil Gun Survivor“. We’ll see how that goes.


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