Resident Evil has come a long way from its PSX, fixed camera days, mixing elements of the originals with some modern third-person-shooter mechanics to create a viable beast of survival horror fun. Resident Evil: Revelations, Capcom's first plot-related iteration to hit the 3DS, hopes to continue to carry the survival torch, without dousing it in the failure that was Resident Evil: Mercenaries.
The Revelations demo was very reminiscent of the series' famous mansion, with tight, winding corridors and dark crevices to poke around in as Jill traversed the abandoned cruise ship. Each area was as detailed as the next, rivaling its high definition brethren visuals in every sense of the word. Lighting was noticeably superb (as it always is), helping to create that creepy atmosphere that RE5 was lacking with real time shadows dancing under the light. Enemies were significantly more zombie-like, yet spliced together some vampiristic tendencies as bodies with their blood sucked out are found all around the ship. It felt more like true survival horror, as ammo was scarce, enemies tough to bring down, and that classic feeling had begun to return... until I received the item finder.
With the Supply Scanner, ammo became more plentiful, as did green herbs and first aid. Using it to scan the room, it reveals "hidden" items that normally would be inaccessible unless the room has been searched. It's a neat little addition that supports and pushes for exploration, which works really well for the game. However, it detracts from the desperation that survival horror games are supposed to instil, and inevitably makes combat (and surviving) easier. Though combat is never too easy, as there are so many enemies lurking on the cruise ship that one will never have an excess of ammunition.
Controlling like RE4 and RE5, Resident Evil: Revelations gives some options on how the character is controlled. Aiming can be done in either first or third person (with the Supply Scanner always first person), yet it feels a bit more responsive in third person, simply because it's just not as tight as other FPS games. Apparently moving and shooting is possible, but I didn't experience it, as it will only be available to those who purchase the upcoming 3DS slide pad. Color me surprised, Capcom.
Revelations' item system is a stellar use of the touch screen and D-pad. Three weapons can be mapped and are switched via left and right on the D-pad, while items (in this case, the Supply Scanner) is set to 'up'. It makes utilizing equipment infinitely easier, particularly since green herbs and first aid sprays are mapped to A. Puzzles also utilize the touch screen intuitively, as I used a screwdriver to take the plate off an electronic lock, and then connected different nodes to unlock the door. It works in a similar way to GTA: Chinatown Wars' use of the touch screen, making puzzle solving fresh and interesting, rather than the obligatory 'back track to find the red gem that fits into the deer's eye to open the hatch to get the octagonal-shaped crank'.
The 3D, as it is in Mercenaries, was fun to use at first, but like most of the handheld's games, the novelty wears off fast. Without 3D, textures are much cleaner, less disorienting (as anti-aliasing comes into play), and more fluid, and the 3D stayed off for good after just a couple of minutes.
Making the move away from the "survival action" and back to its roots in "survival horror," Resident Evil: Revelations is looking to make a big splash on the 3DS when it comes out at the end of January and beginning of February in Europe and North America, respectively. And now, with the announcement of online co-op, Revelations hopes to be a great mix of the two, creating a refreshing experience that I'm sure will be utilized for years to come.