Resident Evil: Revelations preview new characters, new items, and an RPG mode?

Just when you thought the Resident Evil series was going too far action – with the more flare, less scare style of Resident Evil 5 and upcoming third-person shooter Operation Raccoon City – Capcom promises a true survival horror sequel on Nintendo 3DS with Resident Evil: Revelations. We went hands-on with some of the game’s new items, more diverse characters and recently revealed RPG-esque Raid Mode.

First we were introduced to two tech-nerd type characters, Keith Lumley and Quint Cetcham, and their Bioscanner. With this item, you can scan enemies and the environment to gather information – the heroes were forced to whip out the gadget to get a bead on a new invisible enemy, the Hunter. These hulking monsters fade from vision only to reappear just before they attack. Looking through the Bioscanner highlights the Hunter’s outline, enabling the player to pull out a gun and fire on the enemy’s location.

Campaign details are always nice, but the most surprising and interesting part of our hands-on time was the brand new multiplayer feature, Raid. In this challenge mode, players choose their characters, loadout and stage, then tackle levels alone or with a friend via Nintendo WiFi or internet connection. Don’t jump to conclusions and assume this is merely Mercenaries tacked on to another Resident Evil, as Raid unexpectedly adds significant RPG elements. Characters can be leveled up to increase damage, health and resistances; loot is dropped in the form of weapons and weapon parts; and enemies have levels, attributes and resistances. The goal of Raid is to move from point A to point B, kill all of the enemies to get keys, and break a giant floating coin at the end. Performance determines the ranking at the end of the level and completing more difficult challenges nets better loot.

The variety of environments, satisfying weapons and intimidating high-level enemy encounters was impressive, but we are concerned with how Raid will fare in replay value. Stages – at least the ones we experienced – are short and don’t require much effort to memorize enemy locations. The RPG staple of grinding may also rear its ugly head, negating the horror elements with overpowered characters.

During our Resident Evil: Revelations demo, we also tried out the game with the 3DS’s Circle Pad Pro. When attached, the peripheral enables a fourth control option with the right control pad controlling the camera and aiming. The dual stick option felt very natural and the added bulk even made the 3DS more comfortable to hold. Anyone accustomed to playing the console Resident Evil games should feel right at home. The standard control scheme with gyro enabled aiming also felt fantastic and was the most precise, so you don’t necessarily have to plan on forking over the dough for a Circle Pad Pro.

Resident Evil: Revelations is scheduled to release next February in the US, and next January in Europe and Japan.

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