Resident Evil: Revelations Hands-On Preview – Scary Ship
Written Sunday, March 10, 2013 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Having enjoyed a more than modest dose of critical success on the 3DS, it's undoubtedly great news that Resident Evil: Revelations is coming to home consoles after more than a year since its launch on Nintendo's handheld. Set aboard the SS Queen Zenobia, a huge ship overrun with all manner of T-Abyss (a marine strain of the T-virus) infected horrors known primarily as the 'Ooze', Revelations is about as close to vintage Resident Evil as you're likely to get these days, with the claustrophobic, leaky corridors of the ship almost bringing to mind the dark corners of the mansion from the original Resident Evil. We said almost.
Obviously, Revelations is still a modern Resident Evil game, which means the same over-the-shoulder third-person viewpoint pioneered by Resident Evil 4, and the same kind of combat and control as usual. Based upon the time playing this demo of the near-completed game however, there seems to be more of the classic puzzling and chin-stroking moments classic instalments of the series became famed for, with the ship playing host to a variety of locked doors, defunct machinery and even the odd obtuse conundrum to get wrap your melon around.
Players of the 3DS version will already know the score, and having only briefly played the original handheld version during some downtime at a Capcom event last year, we're going into this pretty much completely cold. We're essentially looking at a new Resident Evil title then, for all intents and purposes, even if that isn't really the case. Completed the Nintendo 3DS version already? Then perhaps you'll return to the HD console version for the upgraded visuals, the new enemies and recently unveiled Infernal difficulty mode, as well as the ability to play as Hunk in Raid Mode. There'll likely be enough fresh content here to entice you back for another tour at sea with the Ooze.
Playing as series stalwart and BSAA co-founder, Jill Valentine, our demo sees us partnered up with Parker Luciani, as we search for fellow BSAA operative Chris Redfield and his partner Jessica Sherawat aboard the ship. Starting out in one of the Zenobia's opulent great halls, all decked out in rich, dark wood and garish gold, we're flanked by two elevators, both of which are unfortunately out of action. We're free to explore most of the ship at our leisure, but our main goal lies in the ship's casino, where there's puzzles to be solved and toothy, sucker-headed Ooze to be killed. Of course, in the interests of seeing as much as we possibly could within our allotted time with the game at Capcom's UK offices, we chose to explore the labyrinthine corridors of the Zenobia, only to become hopelessly lost.
We get the distinct impression that the SS Zenobia is an enormous vessel, and that's only based upon the time we have to poke around a portion of the ship with the anchor and helm keys in our inventory. There are other doors to be unlocked and several other sections of the ship to explore as it makes a beeline along the high seas to the so-called 'floating city' of Terragrigia', which should prove an enticing prospect for Resident Evil fans who missed the opportunity to play the game on 3DS.
It all looks rather nice on a high-definition TV too, belying its small-screen handheld origins with some rather neat high fidelity visuals, boasting a fairly considerable amount of extra detail in comparison to its 3DS counterpart. This doesn't appear to be a rushed port of a year-old game, but rather a decent upgrade that aims to do proper justice to what is one of the better Resident Evil titles in recent years. Obviously it's nowhere near as spectacular-looking as Resident Evil 6, but then that pretty much goes without saying.
With our off-piste exploration of the Zenobia done and dusted, we get on with the task at hand, stopping only to check we've obtained and hoarded enough ammunition from the limited supply scavenged aboard the ship, and to do a little bit of impromptu gun customisation and upgrading. Forging ahead, we find our way into the casino having blasted some of the freakish Ooze creatures that make bizarre, unnatural sounds when they're alive and as they perform their unsettling death throes. Each one is a little different, with claws, spiked bludgeoning limbs or misshapen talons for holding you in place while their lamprey-like suckers try and clamp onto your face. Yuck.
Venturing into the main part of the casino floor, we find ourselves surrounded by slot machines facing a door guarded by a strange contraption that requires an exact weight of coins to unlock. In the centre, we switch on the fountain (having restored power to the ship earlier), which spews bloody infected water, instantly mutating the koi. Springing from the water, we're immediately attacked by slippery T-Abyss fish that are easily dispatched with a few well-aimed bullets. Minor drama averted.
With the power restored to the casino, we're able to play the slots and grab the coins we need to solve the weighing machine's modestly brain-teasing puzzle and unlock the door. Presented with more winding corridors and some additional mechanical puzzles involving connecting broken wires, locating keys and what not, our demo draws to a close. Almost two hours of exploration has raced by, and our time in the casino doing what we were supposed to be doing in the first place, is regrettably brief.
Still, it's enough to show us what we already sort of know. Resident Evil: Revelations is a fine Resident Evil game, and one that should prove right at home on Xbox 360. A throwback to when the franchise was more about puzzle-solving, scraping around for ammunition, atmospheric, creeping tension and a more considered pace, Resident Evil: Revelations coming to consoles in HD ought to be a surefire win for Capcom.
Resident Evil: Revelations is out on May 21st in North America, May 23rd in Japan and May 24th in Europe.