Resident Evil: Revelations Impressions

Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS)
Developer: Capcom
Publsiher: Capcom
Release Date: February 7, 2012

The demo for Resident Evil: Revelations in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D was so sparse that its inclusion was peculiar. Barely a few minutes long, you controlled Jill Valentine through a small handful of rooms and fought a total of three Pale Man-looking monsters. Nothing about this demo was remotely enlightening (other than it taking place on a boat) and the gameplay was barer than the game it was featured in. There was even a blurb on the game’s case, promoting its feeble existence. But now on the 3DS eShop you can download what I would consider a real demo of Resident Evil: Revelations, one that is more indicative to the quality of the final product.

Inventory can be changed on the fly using the d-pad (up toggles scanner, left toggles grenade, right toggles weapons, down reloads) or by touch screen inputs. Using the bottom screen quickly becomes an inefficient use of time in the heat of battle so using the d-pad is recommended. I died quicker than expected on my first go, so expect a slight learning curve.

The camera switches to first person when aiming – an ill-suited adjustment for the gunplay. While this prevents your character from hogging a large chunk of the screen, not being able to see yourself in relation to nearby enemies feels strange. You also won’t be able to see enemies that approach you from behind. Resident Evil’s stiff gunplay has always been a gripe of mine, but this change and overall reduction in perspective makes for abhorrently cumbersome controls. This issue is somewhat mitigated by being able to strafe while aiming though. [Edit: You can change the aiming perspective to third-person in the options menu. My apologies.]

A questionable scanning mechanism is also introduced. Objects that are scanned reveal hidden items, such as ammunition, grenades, and health-infused herbs. This addition seems unnecessary – scouring areas for items is the worst aspect of survival-horror games, so adding an additional step to this is process is unwise. Scanning enemies yield points added to a total percentage, but the demo opted to not explain this aspect.

The game is gorgeous, taking full advantage of the 3DS’s hardware, but after playing through it, I was left feeling cold. Everything that was added to the original demo feels superficial and trite: scanning pads playtime, an exploding enemy and a melee-focused enemy are obvious additions, and touchscreen puzzles feel shoehorned in. In the end, I felt like I played the same demo but with a bunch of tacked-on distractions, devised to fool me into thinking this was something fresh.

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