Saturday, 21 January 2012

Preview: Will Resident Evil Revelations be the First Stellar Game of 2012?

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll no doubt know that I'm a big Resident Evil fan. Resident Evil: Revelations is without a doubt one of my most anticipated games at this moment in time, and with just a week to go until the title is unleashed on UK shelves, my anticipation levels have piqued. We've known about this game for quite a long time, a hefty year and a half to be more precise, and honestly a lot of this time waiting for Revelations from my point of view has involved high levels of caution. Like an anti-bioterror operative cautiously opening a door slowly with hopes of not finding a disgusting, mutated creature upon entry, I've been waiting for the next big Resident Evil title without getting my hopes up, and for good reason. While you should know that I thoroughly enjoyed the series' last instalment on 3DS, The Mercenaries 3D, judging from my review late last year, there's absolutely no getting past the fact that from a development standpoint that escapade was handled rather poorly. And it's for this reason that I've been anticipating Revelations with caution, hoping that the game wouldn't end up as messy as the guts of a virus-infected sea monster. Luckily, judging from both reviews and the recent demo version made available to 3DS owners across the world, Revelations is anything but a flop or any other negative description you can think of. What the next game in the horror mediums biggest franchise is truly set to be is an absolutely fantastic release, and potentially the first stellar game of the new year.

Seeing as we'll be waiting under 168 hours (that's one whole week, kids) for the release Resident Evil: Revelations here in the UK, I've decided to write up one final preview post on the game before moving on to a possible First Impressions piece and again, a possible review. This preview will be taking a look at three separate things; The recently released demo which gave us a chance to try out a small segment of the final game, as well as all of the stuff we haven't played in the form of the game's campaign and extra Raid Mode. So, how about we get this started?

Resident Evil Revelations: The Best Resi Since 4?
Resident Evil: Revelations, in terms of the main story mode, is set to be somewhat of a return to the classic Resident Evil style albeit in a modern Resi 4 and beyond-esque shell. What I mean by this is that, while action is still evident in the game, scares and horror have more of a focus in this title than any of the more recent titles like the fourth and fifth games. After my 3DS took about two hours to download the demo of the game, I finally had a chance to try it out for myself and my, oh my, has it improved since that 'Pilot Version' we saw in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. There's a lot to talk about regarding this demo, so let's cut straight to the punch: You, as Jill Valentine, have just awoken on a bed with little memory of how you ended up there, with only words such as "What" and "Where" to describe how you feel. I've already mentioned the Matt Berry lookalike we know as Parker Luciani when talking about the game in past posts, so it's nice to see the guy make a vocal appearance almost straight away in the demo through calling the awoken Jill, telling her that they've got to re-group. All while this call is taking place, you're free to wonder around the room, taking in the gorgeous visuals that impress so much more than Mercenaries 3D, making it clear that a less action-orientated approach has major benefits in the graphics department.

Slightly blurry screenshot aside, Revelations is an absolute stunner. I'd go as far as saying that this game is the best looking game to see release on Nintendo's handheld so far, which is an impressive feat on Capcom's behalf.
As it turns out Jill has found herself, locked-in no less, in the guest cabin of the Queen Zenobia cruise ship in which the main bulk of Revelations takes place. Trust me though, this is anything but a luxury cruise liner, that's for sure. After solving a quick puzzle to find a screwdriver that will help you escape from the room, the first scare comes into play in the form of an introduction to the game's main enemy design. This disgusting beast leaps out of a wardrobe in the guest room, leaving you with no option other than to neutralise it with the only weapon you have; a feeble handgun. The enemies in Revelations appear to have a vaguely aquatic feel to them, which fits in with the underwater-style theme. This particular enemy tries to suck out Jill's blood by extending an eel-like creature out of what can only be described as its mouth and latching onto the protagonist's neck, not to mention the fact that when defeated, it sinks into the ground like when that witch from The Wizard of Oz melts, bar a cheesy "I'm melting!" to ease the tension. Many have been calling the enemy designs lazy, but honestly, they're no less innovative than the regular old zombies or virus-infected humans from past Resident Evil games. On top of this, the aquatic Ooze, as they're apparently called, aren't the only enemies we'll be seeing in Revelations despite them being the only ones you'll find in the demo.

Meet BSAA operatives Quint and Keith. I'm fairly certain one of these guys is voiced by the same man who does the male celebrity impersonations on South Park.
The game itself plays great, if not a whole lot differently from Mercenaries 3D. However, a number of new features have been implemented into this title exclusively, such as a nifty if difficult to pull off dodge mechanic and the interesting Supply Scanner tool. I'll start off with the former; By quickly swerving the circle pad in a semi-circular motion just after an enemy begins to attack, Jill proceeds to perform a slick and suave dodge around the enemy's back where she's safe from turning into fish food for a number of seconds. While this quirk requires pitch-perfect timing and a certain degree of luck, it's wholly satisfying to pull off and looks like it'll be extremely useful in tight situations. Now, there's the matter of the Supply Scanner, a gadget that can be equipped in order to find hidden items through scanning certain areas of a room. It's a nice addition that is entirely optional, but oh-so useful. This device can also be used to scan the many enemies you come across, in turn adding to a percentage that grants you an extra Green Herb when 100% is reached. The Scanner looks like it'll add just a little bit more lifespan into Revelations, and again, for the sort of people who hate the idea of scouring rooms for nothing other than extra ammo and herbs (which definitely isn't me, might I add), it's nice to see that it's not a requirement. Something else that looks like it'll add to the bulk of the game may not sound very exciting, but if the unlockable 'Hell Mode' on the demo is anything to go by then it'll be worth playing on higher difficulties in the final game. Why is this? Because both differentiated item and weapon placement as well as varying enemies help change up the experience just a little, of course, giving you incentive to play through again if only to try out some new guns and of course, more of a challenge difficulty-wise.

"Are we in Hell?" asked Matt. "Yes, they call it Reynholm Industries," replied Jessica. Mr. Berry proceeded to go mad.
At the demo's climax, Jill is reunited with Parker and a cutscene complete with an exciting cliffhanger follows at the bridge of the Queen Zenobia. It's a great demo that shows-off so much in such a small segment of the game, and if you have a 3DS you should probably think about downloading it. Of course, we've got a full game to look forward to, so I reckon I'll begin discussing that before moving on to the exciting extra game mode found in Resident Evil: Revelations. Even after witnessing every last trailer for the series' next 3DS instalment, I still don't really understand the story at all. All we can gather for now is that the story of the game revolves not around the aforementioned cruise ship, but instead a city called Terragrigia. As I mentioned earlier, the main bulk of the game takes place at sea, but there are some chapters that involve you taking control of characters other than Jill with different partners and different settings. At times you'll be playing as Matt Ber- I mean, Parker Luciani, accompanied by Jessica Sherawat in what appears to be a flashback to a massive tower block in the centre of Terragrigia, complete with the original Resident Evil's deadly Hunters. In other instances you'll take control of series vetaran Chris Redfield, also accompanied by Jessica, in a snowy European mountain range. These extra segments look to shake up the game a fair bit, halting the player from sinking into boredom from trawling around the Queen Zenobia constantly. These segments also look a lot more fast-paced and action-based than the core survival horror experience that Jill's sections are going for. While we don't quite fully understand the story of Revelations, we certainly know what the gameplay is going to be like and quite frankly it looks rather fantastic. The journalists who've actually played the game seem to love the game, too, with 90+ scores all around when taking a glance at this brilliant-looking title's Metacritic page. Now, before I wrap up this preview, let's take a look at what Revelations has to offer outside of the campaign mode...

Raid Mode: The New Mercenaries?
The unlockable Mercenaries Mode of Resident Evils 4 and 5 was a stunning extra in my opinion, but with the excellent minigame released as a standalone retail release on 3DS last year, I and many others couldn't do anything but highly doubt the possibility of the mode making an appearance in Revelations. As expected, it doesn't, but luckily something else does: Raid Mode. The basic premise of this extra is similar to that of our celebrated Resident Evil minigame of past titles, but with a number of new twists that look to keep it fresh. Much fresher than the stale corpse of a Mercenaries rip-off, at least. This co-operative, action-based minigame sees you and a partner (controlled by either the AI or a friend either online or locally) quite literally raid, loot and escape a scenario from the main game in an attempt not to score points, but to perform as well as possible in a number of ways for the highest possible rank when the level ends. The looming time limit of Mercenaries is no more, as are seemingly endless amounts of respawing enemies, and while this may seem like a step back from the previous celebrated minigame found in past Resident Evils, fear not as it looks like Raid Mode could potentially be the successor to the extra we knew and loved in the fourth and fifth main series instalments. As I mentioned, you won't be playing for a high score in this mode. What you're playing for is unlockables, namely upgrades for guns as well as weapons themselves. Some of these guns are fairly ridiculous, too, much more different than your standard shooter fare's arsenal. Take for example the Masamune, a sniper rifle that is quite literally a lengthy katana with a bent handle. You can also upgrade your weapons with bonus parts collected from both Raids and Revelations' campaign. These attachable perks are very much comparable to The Mercenaries 3D's Skills system, albeit the fact that they upgrade weapons of your choice, rather than characters.

Here, Raymond and another mysterious unindentified individual battle a particularly gargantuan Hunter. Health bars look to be a great way to measure the capabilities of your customised weapons in Raid Mode.
Speaking of characters, Raid mode is packed full of 'em. While you won't be seeing any characters who don't make an appearance in the Revelations story, pretty much all the folks you do see in the main game can be played as in the extra mode. Seven characters have been confirmed thus far, namely Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Jessica Sherawat, Parker Luciani, Quint and Keith, the illusive Rachel and mysterious Raymond, as well as another unidentified grey-haired character seen in a screenshot. Much like Mercenaries 3D before it, each character in Raid Mode also has at least one supposedly unlockable alternative costume. Too add even more into the bargain, StreetPass features are also incorporated into Raid Mode. With a whole campaign to play through on top of this exciting sounding minigame, Revelations is already looking better than the disappointing Mercenaries 3D of last year. Before this post ends up far too lengthy for human brain consumption, I bid you readers adieu. Keep an eye out for my Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2012 before the year ends!


Anonymous said...

Great review, I probably won't buy it though! Nice blog in general.


Tom said...

Nice post, looks like a great game.

Kezz said...

Very nice preview, can't wait until I actually get Revelations for myself. The demo was fantastic.

I kinda regret buying The Mercenaries 3D though, Raid Mode looks much better.

Noodle said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. This post took far too long to write...

biohazard5 said...

Hey noodle, very nice review. :)
But I can´t agree with your opinion about raid mode. On the first glimpse it looks really good, but once you reached the max. level and got all available weapons it´s quite boring. No big replay value and I cleared it in about 2 days.

I just wanted to admit that Raid is far away from the brilliance of Merc 3D and I think I can judge that very good. I played both games much as hell.

Anyways just wanted to say that and wanted to leave a link to my forum here. It´s all about Merc 3D and Revelations and it would be nice to see you there. :)

You´ll find me under "biohazard5" aswell. ;)

Noodle said...

This was a Preview. I didn't know how good Raid mode would be at the time. Logic. I'd say it has its own charms now that I have Revelations, and the replay value is almost as piqued as Mercs 3Ds. All opinion, mind.