E3 2011: Resident Evil: Revelations

QUICKTAKE: Capcom returns to its roots with the upcoming Resident Evil: Revelations for 3DS by focusing more on horror than action. The game's slow pace, awkward controls, and odd design choices make it one of the least accessible games in the franchise. But, the gorgeous MT Framework-powered visuals made us almost ignore its shortcomings. BOOM video 9378 THE DEMO: The demo has an unconscious Jill Valentine waking up in what seems to be another mansion. In order to escape the luxurious accommodations, I had to find a screwdriver to open up a security panel and use the touch screen in order to "hack" my way out. (Jill is, as ever, the master of unlocking.) I tried looting the environment as much as possible, which was a good thing -- the new monsters in Revelations take quite a lot of bullets to take down. Eventually, I stumbled upon a new scanner device. When equipped, it gives you the Metroid Prime-esque ability to scan the environment, find hidden items, and even uncover information about enemy weak points. After fighting through an enemy ambush, I retired from the demo. DETAILS: Although Revelations is a handheld spin-off, it feels rather substantial, as if it could've been the next numbered entry in the franchise. Perhaps it's the visuals; the MT Framework-powered graphics are easily among the finest on the platform. There's especially a lot of detail placed in the environment. While the textures aren't as sharp, and the aliasing not as strong, Revelations offers visuals that are nearly on par with Resident Evil 5 before it. Even its integration into the overall franchise lore makes Revelations seem all the more significant. Fans that care about the canon should know that the game takes place between Resident Evil 4 and 5, and covers Jill's quest to find a missing Chris Redfield. While I didn't see the return of the campy cutscenes the franchise is now notorious for, the dramatic inner-monologue whilst you explore the new "mansion," and the various journals strewn about, give the game a decidedly familiar flavor. Reading through the text, you'll realize you're playing a Resident Evil game, no doubt about it.

Resident Evil: Revelations

Presentation is what sells Revelations as a full "console" experience, but the gameplay -- so far -- falls short. The controls are behind-the-shoulder once again, but this time, you have the ability to aim and strafe at the same time. This is a novel addition to the franchise, but one that isn't particularly helpful in Revelations' narrow hallways. Combat feels awkward, even for a Resident Evil game. While latter iterations of the series have become fine shooters, there's something off about this entry. Perhaps it's the too-loose aiming controls, which make it difficult to pinpoint body parts with accuracy? Or maybe it's the lack of visual feedback from the dully-animated enemies? Enemies simply don't seem to react to getting shot. Only when you see their death animations do you think "oh, now I can stop firing." There's also just too much combat for a game that's supposed to be inspired by the original. It's not uncommon to face two or three enemies in a single room of the "mansion," a drastic difference from the survival horror pacing from the PS1 classic. Given the otherwise slow pacing of the game, which has you scouring the environment for keys and clues, the combat feels particularly misguided. Obviously, there's a lot of time left before release to tweak the game before release. Capcom has to either make combat more fun, or just offer less of it, in order to make Revelations a worthy successor to the franchise. Watch the Shacknews E3 2011 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. You can also subscribe to it with your favorite RSS reader.