I gotta say, I have been very skeptical about Resident Evil Revelations right from the start. Capcom has been promising quite a lot with this game, but for some reason, I haven’t found myself able to trust Capcom to deliver on their promises for some time now. With the Resident Evil franchise, in fact, I’ve been particularly weary ever since Resident Evil 5 turned out to be quite mediocre, at least compared to the great Resident Evil 4.
So, Capcom pretends to take notice of this, and says that Revelations is going to bring back beloved elements of the older Resident Evil games, and that the fanboys, who are quite foamy about them (myself included), are going to love it. Boy, that’s a tall order!
But you know what? I think they sort of got it.
As soon as you begin the Revelations demo you are thrust into a room that looks a lot like some rooms from the first Resident Evil (or its remake, rather), and Jill even makes a point of commenting on this (“Man, this room looks familiar! *wink at the camera* Isn’t that right,
Barry Parker?”). You can examine the bed, a mysteriously jammed closet, and a door closed by some mechanism, among other things. It really feels like you are moving around one of the gorgeous pre-rendered backgrounds of older Resident Evil games (except it’s all in 3D and you control the camera as you please), something that continues throughout the whole demo and that I hope is indicative of the whole game. After Barry Parker contacts you and tells you to head to the bridge of the ship, you are now allwoed to head into the bathroom and look for other things. As always in older Resident Evil games, the bathroom mirror is broken, the toilet is filthy, and the bathtub is filled with some disgusting water solution, which after being flushed down the drain reveals a hidden screwdiver – probably what you need to work with the electric box that is right next to the locked door in the other room. Right on cue, and as always, right after grabbing the screwdiver you hear something moving and growling in the adjacent room, so of course you hesitate to check it out. Eventually you leave the bathroom, and you are greeted by some strange-looking humanoid monster busting out of the mysteriously-jammed closet.
The combat is rather simple, being somewhere in between that of Resident Evil 0-3 and Resident Evil 4 in terms of complexity. You aim manually like in Resident Evil 4 (and you can change the aiming perspective between First- and Thid-Person) but shooting the enemies in the legs, hands, or head doesn’t provide an immediate response; instead it takes multiple gunshots to actually bring an enemy to the ground or make him recoil in pain. It makes these new enemies feel like Zombies in terms of how impervious they are to bullets, but ultimately one can form a strategy around them (shooting an enemy on the legs so he drops to the ground and then running past them unharmed is a popular one for wusses like me). Later on you will encounter other variations of this enemy (apparently called ‘the Ooze’), such as a weaker one that explodes after a couple of bullets (a fact that you can use to harm other Ooze surrounding him), and another that has blades and spikes on its arms, and that takes many more hits to even stall.
One other thing that is immediately noticeable from this demo is how scarce ammo is, and how important it is to save it for those encounters that might prove more pressing later on. Considering how enemies don’t drop ammo when killed, you’re definitely better off runnign away from them in some instances, something that was mostly missing from RE4 and RE5 as far as I remember.
Of course this is dependent on how hefty the challenge itself is, and that is one of the things that worry me the most about this game. The thing is, the first time I played the demo I didn’t even die once, and in fact only got hit like 3 or 4 times. Enemies didn’t take very long to put down, and I must have run out of ammo only once. It was rather underwhelming to play a horror game whose horror was ineffective due to the low challenge, and so I was extremely glad to see that, when trying to start the demo again, I was now asked if I wanted to play in Normal or Hell mode. Man, Hell mode is hard, and I must have died like 5 times in the first room alone. Let me put that in context: remember those spiky, blade-armed Ooze I was talking about earlier, the ones that are much harder to put down than the regular Ooze? Well, in Normal, you fight only one of those, and that is right before the end of the demo, where you are rather packed with Shotgun shells, green herbs, and a couple of hand grenades. In Hell mode, you fight one of the in the first room, with nothing but a pistol and a single hand grenade (which you practically need to use to kill him, as the pistol is nearly useless).
So of course he killed me multiple times, but then I managed to move onto the next room which, as I remembered, was an entirely safe room with a Shotgun and a green herb to heal myself. Nope, this time there was a regular Ooze, and no green herb at all. From there on, every room has enemies, and always more than in Normal mode.
So in general, I quite loved it and must have played through it about 7 times total, if not more. Before I go, though, let me mention a few more things I liked (or disliked) about the demo:
- When you get knocked down you can use your pistol from the ground. This might not be very useful, but it does increase the tension quite a bit, and in fact, I hope we see this mechanic in the next Dead Space as well.
- You can use Herbs at any time, regardless of whether you are being mauled by an enemy or just got thrown tot he ground. I don’t think I like this, as it makes it possible to survive almost any encounter as long as you have some Herbs at the ready, and diminishes the tension of being close to death with slim chances of escape.
- You can find a ton of items with the help of a new scanner. While the first person view and green filter this scanner provide add a nice layer to the atmosphere of the game, there are too many items to be found, which not only make the game easier but encourage you to spend a lot of time scanning things, which I’m worried might detract from the pure fight or flight nature of the game.
- Did I mention the game looks gorgeous? It is the best-looking game on the 3DS, and the sterescopic 3D works wonderfully as well (then again, I’ve always had a nearly infinite tolerance for 3D graphics, never experiencing headaches or fatigue as far as I can remember). The atmosphere is brilliant and the animations are fluid (as well as creepy for the enemies). It simply looks stunning in my opinion.
- I heard (but haven’t confirmed to myself) that in the final game, you cannot play in Hell Mode until you finish the game once. This would be a huge bummer to me, and I hope Capcom isn’t so stupid as to restrict their audience to play a Horror game in a non-challenging way the first time they play it, which is when everything is unknown and the horror is at its best. Why would I care about playing the game in a harder setting when I already know the types of enemies, bosses, items, etc, as well as how to deal with them? Don’t be stupid, Capcom!
- I’m sure there are other things, but the demo is free so you guys should stop wasting your time on this article and go play it yourselves instead.