Preview: Resident Evil Revelations is a return to the series’ roots

It’s been a awhile since I’ve played a Resident Evil title.  In fact, I haven’t followed Resident Evil Revelations' development much at all. I did, however, end up downloading the 3DS demo from the eShop on a whim.  I admit that I didn’t expect much, figuring it would play similarly to last year’s Resident Evil Mercenaries.  To my surprise, Revelations is a much  better game.

I should also mention how glad I am that Nintendo has finally started releasing demos (although the fact that they can only be played 30 times is a little ridiculous). I’ve always believed that game demos are the best way to convince consumers that your title is worth their cash and it’s great that Nintendo is taking note.

Back to Resident Evil Revelations, the game is similar to classic Resident Evil titles.  You can’t shoot or use melee attacks while moving (a mainstay of the series)  and your character still controls like an awkward tank. Despite the slow movement, the game does manage an-action oriented experience and adopts a first person perspective when shooting weapons. Aiming is rather difficult and feels a tad too sensitive, often resulting in me wasting ammo while trying to take down enemies. This isn’t actually a bad thing, however, because such challenges are what creates the level of tension that’s been absent from more recent titles in the franchise.

I have a feeling that the upcoming circle pad pro attachment might remedy the game’s somewhat awkward control scheme. It feels a little strange to control your character’s movement with only one joystick (The Circle Pad Pro comes out February 7, so we’ll find out soon enough). The title makes interesting use of the 3DS’s touch screen, allowing you to unscrew a control panel with a screw driver and then solve a relatively simple in-game puzzle. The touch screen based gameplay isn’t exactly innovative, but it’s nice to see that Capcom is taking advantage of the system’s unique features.

Resident Evil Revelations’ graphics are impressive for a 3DS title and might be the best I’ve seen on the handheld. Even though the 3D effects don’t add much to the title’s gameplay, they still looks great and draw you deeper into the experience.

It It really is the best looking 3DS title yet.

Most of the demo takes place on a derelect cruise ship called the Shinobia. Disappointingly, the title doesn’t feature true zombies, but rather, zombie-like creatures covered in strange spikes.

You control Jill Valentine in the demo, but Chris Redfield is also a playable character in the game.  Ammo is in short supply and enemies are abundent, so it’s nice to see the series return to its roots in some ways, even though it’s adopted a more action-oriented style of gameplay. I should point out that the demo only features three weapons; a shotgun, a pistol and a knife.

From this relatively short demo, I get a strong sense that Resident Evil Revelations will be a solid game. I’m hoping the entire game echoes the demo’s atmosphere and action/survival horror mix.  I really enjoyed Resident Evil 4 and I like the short time I spent with Resident Evil 5, but both titles didn’t really feel like they were true Resident Evil games. To me, they seemed more like awkward third person shooters and less like the tension-filled survival horror that made the franchise famous.  Here’s hoping Resident Evil Revelations actually is a true return to the series’ roots.

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