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Demo Impressions: Resident Evil: Revelations

October 3, 2011, Author: Andy Corrigan

At the time of writing this, I’m actually just putting the finishing touches to our review of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. However, I find myself at an impasse, halted by the fact that there is no Wi-Fi connection in the vicinity for me to leach off and fully test out its multiplayer features.

Still, while I’ve quite enjoyed what I’ve played of that particular game so far, it’s simply a light aside to the things that you’d expect from a Resident Evil title. It’s a spin-off. A game you don’t have to invest too heavily in as it’s all about the arcade-style point racking. Our review of The Mercenaries 3D will be live before this makes it up, so make sure you check that out too.

A true Resident Evil is coming for 3DS, however, and packed away in the ‘Extras’ menu on the main screen of Mercenaries 3D lays a demo; short taster of what we can expect from the upcoming Resident Evil: Revelations.

So, in my webless state, I thought I’d take the time to give you some impressions on the short, early build.

After starting the demo, you instantly take the role of everybody’s favourite zombie slaying female, Jill Valentine, as she appears to be in the interior of a grimy ocean liner. There is no context or information as to why she’s there, so it was left to the internet to tell me that the game is set between Resident Evils 4and 5, and that Jill is looking for her old partner, Chris Redfield, and his new colleague on a cruise ship. Predictably, not everything has gone to plan.

At this point, I have to say that the first thing you notice is that the graphics are decent. It’s not quite as polished as Mercenaries 3D at this point, looking a little rough around the edges, but expectedly so, given just how early this build is. Even so, the environments look suitably dank, while Jill looks decently modelled. The 3D effect employed is practically the same as in Mercenaries 3D; done well, adding a nice level of depth and helping in keeping the visuals looking suitably swish.

As I moved through the opening corridor, I can also confirm that the controls are pretty much the same as Mercenaries 3D, so while there are no major surprises, there are a couple of additions. On this demo, there is no mini-map or inventory to manage yet (and you seemingly have unlimited ammo) so all you have on the bottom screen is a list of controls and, surprisingly, a virtual analogue stick used for controlling the camera. For most part, you won’t have to worry about using it, and at this point the control isn’t very smooth. I had trouble using it to look leftward, but it worked too well the other way. Still, it simply allows you to quickly look around and, as releasing it restores the viewpoint back behind good ol’ Jillian, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be an important gameplay feature.

As I turned the first corner, I was greeted with a big iron door ahead of me, and some stairs leading upwards to my right. Heading to the door first, I was able to look through the slot on the front. Inside was a muscle-bound male, motionless and tied to a chair. Jill tells me in text that she can’t tell if he’s breathing or not. It’s a moot point as far as this demo is concerned, as after trying the door, it proves to be locked anyway. On to the stairs then.

As I approach the stairs, there is an electrical short, and a pack of rats file out of an electrical box on the wall. This is classical Resident Evil scare tactics, relying on the atmosphere to lure you into expecting something big, then hitting you with a cheap scare. It works, though. The music helped, again, typical of the series and more in line with its tense, horror roots.

Jill Valentine. So famous she has a sandwich named after her!

After taking the stairs and few empty corridors, I came across a blocked path, blocked only by knee-high boxes that Jill is seemingly too lazy to move, so we have to cut inwards. The first door to the left takes me into some sleeping quarters, and there is a noise coming from the bathroom ahead. After cautiously working my in, I see my first enemy, and no, it’s not a zombie or an infected. Shambling towards me is a pink, eyeless, humanoid creature, with spikes on its hands.

The design took me by surprise a little, as it wouldn’t sit too out-of-place in a Silent Hill game or a movie by Guillermo Del Toro. I take aim with my only available weapon (a pistol) and start to let fire. This is where I notice that the aim isn’t inverted and can’t be changed in this demo, which, being an inverted gamer (read: real gamer!), hampered me briefly, letting the creature get close enough to take a swing. After taking a hit, I backtracked in the previous room to get a few shots off from a distance. After a hefty number of bullets, the creature was down.

There are no real surprises here in combat. If you’ve played RE since iteration 4, you’ll know how it plays out. Only here, when aiming, you switch to a first-person aim by default, which was a nice, optional feature in Mercenaries 3D. Again, this isn’t something you can change in this early demo, so fans of the third-person aim are going to have to wait for the full game.

It did feel a bit odd using the newer system against slower enemies again, so hopefully some more Ganado style enemies follow in the full game. Though, you know what? I wouldn’t be totally opposed if more traditional zombies made the cut too, and from the newer screens we’ve seen, that might just be the case!

Anyway, after getting through the next empty room and getting back into the blocked corridor, I try all the doors, and to no surprise on my part, they’re all locked. My only course is to head back down stairs. As I approach them, however, there are clear sounds of a man struggling down there. After cautiously venturing down, I’m greeted with the sight of one of the previous creatures holding a man up by his neck, safe and sound behind some bulletproof glass (yes, I tried!). The creature hits the man, then throws him at the window, cracking it and leaving blood spattered across it. The creature, now joined by a friend, then jumps on him and both start making chomping sounds as they begin devour their victim. Nom nom nom!

You can then start working your way into that very room and, as you approach the two beasts, the demo draws to a close just before you can do any damage to them or get yourself eaten.

Okay, so as a demo, it’s pretty weak. It’s also very short, based on early build and has exactly one enemy to shoot at. We’re given no indication on inventory management, the weapons you’ll use or the set-up of any puzzles and, furthermore, some of the controls haven’t been fully implemented yet.

It does, however, show signs of taking some of the newer series conventions and putting them into more of a classic Resident Evil context. If they can make it half as polished as Mercenaries 3D, then it’s going to be one worth watching as we head into 2012.