Slowly but surely Nintendo is embracing an online future. A future where gamers have access to all types of content just by logging onto one of Nintendo’s online capable devices, straight from the comfort of their Mario branded bean bag chair. The latest step in this direction is the launch of a new service on the Nintendo e-Shop, downloadable demos of full retail games for the 3DS. To celebrate the launch of this new service Nintendo and Capcom have teamed up to bring us one of the 3DS's most anticipated titles, Resident Evil: Revelations, a game that promises to bring the series back to its roots and remind us why this franchise is considered the king of the survival-horror genre.
This is the game’s second demo to hit the 3DS, the first being a bonus for those who bought Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. In this new demo you take control of Jill as she awakens in a luxury cabin of a stricken cruise ship and must regroup with her partner, a man named Parker, for them to have any hope of escaping the doomed liner. As soon as you are given control of Jill you will learn that Resident Evil: Revelations echoes the classic games of the series. You will solve puzzles, both traditionally and via the touch screen, and explore confined environments just like the good old lumbering zombie days.
However, it’s not all stuck in the past. Resident Evil: Revelations does shake things up and introduces new elements that move the series in interesting new directions. First off is the Item Scanner, a device that lets Jill search for hidden items (like ammo and health) by scanning things like small boxes and underneath tables. Think of it as the scanning from Metroid Prime, finding its way into Resident Evil, only without all the superfluous scientific facts. Secondly, the aiming is now in first person, which gives you a better indication of just where you are going to hit an enemy.
One thing that definitely made its way over from the older titles in the series is the difficulty. The demo for Resident Evil: Revelations lasts a good 20 minutes, and in that time you will truly be fighting for your survival. Ammo is scarce, especially for the powerful shotgun. The enemies are slow, but the environments are so confined that you don’t have much room for error, and to top it off health regenerating herbs are so rare you'd swear they had just been declared illegal. Once you complete the demo on normal mode you'll also unlock the brutally difficult 'Hell Mode', which features more enemies, and less health and ammo.
To say that Resident Evil: Revelations is the best looking 3DS game on the market would be a major understatement. The game absolutely blows away anything that’s ever been done on a handheld to date (excluding the yet-to-be-launched PlayStation Vita, of course). Everything from the graphics, to the lighting, textures, animations, and particle effects show that the 3DS is indeed a graphical powerhouse.
The audio is classic Resident Evil all the way. An eerily-quiet soundtrack follows your every step, which helps bring the tension to new heights. The voice-acting is also classic Resident Evil style; very well done, with just the slightest hint of being corny, just the way a good Resident Evil game should be.
The full game will also include StreetPass functionality, online gameplay, and a slew of other features that aren't present in the demo. The demo also checks if you have the Circle Pad Pro attachment, but that behemoth hasn’t released over here yet.
From my all-too-brief time with the game it’s become clear to me that Revelations looks set to become the definitive portable rendition of Resident Evil. Everything from the old-meets-new gameplay to the stunning presentation fits the series' history masterfully, and looks to take it to new heights at the same time. As the first major Nintendo 3DS title of 2012, Resident Evil: Revelations definitely seems destined to set the bar high for mature action titles on Nintendo’s newest portable. Resident Evil: Revelations will hit stores on February 7th, but you can (and should) check out the demo right now from the Nintendo e-Shop..