The first big 3DS demo has hit the eShop, and it’s a brand new Resident Evil game. F**king awesome way to kickstart this service, I’d say. Since the game is free, hopefully most of you have already downloaded and played it. Here’s my thoughts after a few playthroughs.
I’m enjoying a lot of things about this game, first and foremost the controls. It’s classic RE, but with more ease and comfort. Changing weapons and items is very easy, and throughout the entire demo there’s no reason to even open the menu. Having a map on the bottom screen is the icing on the cake; everything is just there without having to freeze time and clumsily dig into your backpack. Having weapons and items as two separate scrolling categories is brilliant and intuitive – something I would never expect in a Resident Evil game. Everything can basically be done with one button, and even secondary weapons can be used straight away by pressing X instead of Y while aiming. I love the use of the scanner too. It’s something that wasn’t possible in classic RE games simply because you couldn’t look around and aim freely. Now you can and they’re taking advantage of it; it made no sense before how items would just glow for no reason before you’d even looked for them. The RE world starting to make sense? Now that’s horror.
Aiming is great, shooting in first person is satisfying, and it’s easy to look around. The enemies seemingly bob their heads and tard out a lot more to help “balance” the ease of control you have over your aiming, ensuring the game isn’t easy. I died quite a few times trying to be a badass with the knife; it seems really weak in this game. It seems like it’s only worth using when the enemy is already down, because they don’t respond much to actual knife blows and they’ll lunge at you even WHILE you’re stabbing them.
The graphics and environments really stand out to me as well. It has a good isolated atmosphere which was lacking in Resident Evil 5, and to me it feels closer to the very first Resident Evil than any of the others. The environments are nicely detailed and unique, without being over the top. It feels like a real place, and experiencing it on a handheld is pretty damn special. Gamers can finally experience real horror while lying in bed, without the guilt!
Despite how much I like the design, I can’t get used to the 3D effect in this game; it looks way better without it. Putting it on full strength just makes Jill Valentine morph into two and having it only slightly on isn’t worth the blurriness, especially considering how crisp it is with 3D off. I really hope this is cleaned up in the final game, because there’s a huge opportunity here for 3D to enhance the horror aspect and immersion. If Capcom doesn’t do it, someone else will.
Overall, I’m impressed, and definitely buying this. The demo on the eShop was a GREAT idea, because it was hard to imagine what it would be like before playing it. One reason for this is the screenshots Capcom have released look horrible – believe it or that picture up there of Jill is the best gameplay shot I could find – an empty corridor. If Revelations sells well, I can see lots of developers joining the demo bandwagon, and it could create a good ecosystem for successful games on 3DS. One big thing hurting the gaming industry now is people unwilling to “risk” buying a crap game with so much out there, and demos will eliminate this risk and give gamers a lot more confidence in the product if it’s good. If you have a 3DS, go download this now. If you don’t like it, who cares? At least you’ll know. This is the most excited I’ve been about Resident Evil since Resident Evil 4, a staggering 7 years ago.