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Hands On: Running Scared in Resident Evil Revelations

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Not quite as three-dimensional

Capcom is a publisher that isn't afraid to use assets originally conceived on last-gen home consoles or recent handhelds, applying a spit and polish and selling them to a whole new audience. We've seen it with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, and the trick's being repeated with Resident Evil Revelations. This time around a graphical masterclass that showed off the 3DS is being upscaled, so we can't help but wonder whether the results are spookily good or, well, scarily bad.

We'll know soon enough, yet we do have a demo to blast our way through for an initial taste. In terms of how much this freebie gives us, it's rather short, with a ten minute segment that kicks in shortly after the start of the main game — early enough to avoid spoilers but with enough monsters and spooky lighting to set the tone. It's on the Queen Zenobia, the spiritual "abandoned mansion" of this entry, so it's a fitting place to show what this title is all about — for the most part — which is tension, lurking shadows and bursts of action.

To address the controls first, this demo is playable with the GamePad or a synchronised Wii U Pro Controller, so the Classic Controller is out, sadly, as is the prospect of precise aiming with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. What's a little strange about the absence of pointer controls is that there is a "Classic" control option, which is basically the same as playing on the 3DS with the default control setup. So that's one stick movement and aiming, good for increasing tension due to the limited strafing options when firing but suggestive that, with a bit of thought and admittedly clunking button setups, the Wii Remote could have been incorporated. The option for Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition controls with some basic aiming strafing would have been very welcome.

But still, we're not sure the Classic option will be taken up by many — there's a reason that the 3DS title was available bundled with the Circle Pad Pro — as the "Shooter" option is far more desirable. The game is tense enough already, so dual stick controls are the way to go, especially as you frantically back away while gunning down the abomination trying to feast on your flesh. It's the classic ZL to aim and ZR to fire, sub-weapons like grenades are used with R — aiming those with ZL is also an option — while L brings up your Genesis scanner.

The same old "scan everything" policy also applies to pick up more herbs or identify loot. The touch screen isn't used a great deal in this demo, as you don't have much of an arsenal to cycle through, but either way you can switch weapons and use herbs to heal, while a map is right there to guide you. All of these touchscreen items have button alternatives, while scanning is with the stick only — any of you hoping to swivel around on your chair scanning the room, tough luck. There's also off-TV play, which will bring increased reliance on button shortcuts and the good old-fashioned pause menu, but it's a nice extra to have. Though, frankly, differentiating this from its handheld origins is kind of the whole point, and the GamePad screen can't recreate the fantastic 3D effect of the 3DS release.

So far, so typical of a shooting game on Wii U, and in some respects this brief insight is promising. This is reproducing what, in our opinion, was the beginnings of a return to form for the franchise (arguably then thrown away in Resident Evil 6, depending on your point of view); the environment is well-realised while the enemies, though they do divide opinion, are a nice change from the zombies and transforming human monsters of the past, and do make sense in the context of the story. Most importantly, they're quite intimidating to fight, with the ooze slipping and sliding out of your crosshairs as they lumber towards you. Despite the oft-cited lack of context sensitive hits, they are there, with hits on various parts prompting different reactions, while headshots stun the normal creatures for a quick melee attack.

That's all good, but this demo, though clearly far from a final impression of the game, has given us some nagging concerns. For one thing, considering this is an upscaled 3DS title, the engine, framerate and general movement isn't as smooth as we'd like. It's thoroughly passable, but lags slightly, when we'd have expected buttery-smooth movement of the crosshair, camera and, to be blunt, everything. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U is impeccably fluent 99% of the time, and we struggle to understand why this doesn't have the same feel. We know that tank like maneuverability is supposedly part of the Resident Evil experience, but the demo's performance is a slight concern.

The slightly underwhelming control is backed up by modest visuals, easily betraying its 3DS origins. It's all upscaled relatively nicely, and there's a pleasing sheen to the slimy bodies of the ooze, but there's certainly no wow factor over its handheld predecessor. It's HD but with fairly primitive lighting and, in some cases, textures, though Capcom has improved the shadows. It looks fine and, we can imagine, will shine at some points courtesy of the excellent art design, but its impact on the 3DS with the stereoscopic 3D maxed out is equally effective, perhaps more so — resolution isn't everything, and the little screen has its own strengths over the bombast of its larger cousins.

Those little niggles aside, it's solid Revelations gameplay. Casual and Normal are both relatively easy, while the Infernal mode replaces the Hell difficulty of the original, swapping out stronger enemies for a slightly different approach of adding more creatures of different types. Although the demo didn't show any of the creepy effects we've seen in trailers, it did sucker us into being over-confident and blowing through our ammo before being swarmed near the end. With less items to scan and scavenge, we found ourselves frantically dodging — which requires a precisely-timed push on the left stick along with B — to get back to the safety of the final cutscene. We can only imagine how difficult it'll be playing the whole campaign in that mode, and it certainly got our pulses racing.

Overall, our first impression of Revelations on Wii U is solid, but without the wow factor that the 3DS title engendered. It's only ten minutes, however, so we look forward to blasting through the whole experience ahead of our review.

We'd love to know what you think about this demo in the comments section, you can check out our Resident Evil Revelations 3DS review, while below our video man Rory has kindly recorded the whole thing for you to watch.

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User Comments (47)



Grubdog said:

The game is unplayable to me after ZombiU, I keep holding up the GamePad to scan as a reflex. Terrible controls, Wii U games are already taking a step backwards. It doesn't even use the GamePad speaker.



WebHead said:

I really enjoyed the demo. I ha the 3DS version, but I will be getting this.

#1 reason why? Jill's butt in HD. That is all.



ajcismo said:

I might buy this next week just to hear "MAAAYYYDDDDAAAYYYYY!" on my living room stereo and scare the crap out of my wife.



WebHead said:

Men don't mind sleeping on the couch as much as some like to believe.



DarkCoolEdge said:

@WebHead Hahaha, true. The problem is to be kicked out of your bed, not the fact of sleeping on the couch.

I don't care about these HD editions. The 3DS one is great, no need to double dip.



Shiryu said:

I will pick it up, but I won't enjoy it nowhere as I did on my original playtrough on the 3DS since I know what will happen next at every corner. So Capcom gets my money (again) and I get one of the finest entries of the series to play on my big screen TV. win/win.



chiptoon said:

without Wiimote controls I just can't see myself bothering. It was great on 3DS, but this reeks of cash-in.

Edit: Wiimote controls would make the purchase entirely worthwhile, since I only really played the main game on 3DS. The other modes looked great though and would be very enticing with the fantastic Resi 4 Wii controls.



8thGenConsoles said:

@Grubdog You're judging all Wii U games now because of one game that didn't use the Gamepad properly in your opinion? That's silly. Keep playing ZombiU and wait for the next good game to come out, Deus Ex Director's Cut on May 21 for Wii U.



8thGenConsoles said:

I will download this demo to see if I should buy this game or not. But I will buy ZombiU first so I won't buy this game anytime soon.



PinkSpider said:

I played deus x it wasnt fun. I'm interested to know how the 360 version of resident evil revelations compares with Wii U



Grubdog said:

360 version is probably identical, it's not like this game is pushing any boundaries. It uses no Wii U features at all except off-screen play and the same bottom screen from the 3DS game.

@WiiURockz i'm not judging all games, just Capcom's effort. Monster Hunter is just a Wii upgrade too that makes the GamePad feel like a burden. What's the point? It's Wii all over again where crappy clones of Wii Sports were the best use of the system. If developers don't give a damn then I wont either.



Ristar42 said:

It’s a weird one, I really enjoyed the game on 3DS and played through a few times, but I think the scale of the game suited the system very well.

I’ll get the demo on PSN and see how it plays as don’t have the Wii U, I think it would have been good if Capcom could have added some new areas or content to the main game, in addition to raid modes.

I also think the 3DS screen really does add something to games, I recently got the MGS collection on PS3 and despite its smooth visuals and dual analogue, Snake Eater seemed kind of flat after playing the 3DS version.



GraveLordXD said:

@Grubdog dude what!? The game pad on MH feels like a burden? they added off screen play and voice chat what more do you want from that game on the game pad
And revelations should be just like the 3ds using both screens what more do you want? It's all the game needs to much would be to gimmicky



Sun said:

NL: ' while scanning is with the stick only — any of you hoping to swivel around on your chair scanning the room, tough luck'. Good news for me, I hated the clunky way you have to constantly look around through the GamePad in Zombi U.



8thGenConsoles said:

@Grubdog That's your opinion. I don't care if some developers don't take full advantage of the Gamepad's touchscreen. I just want the games to be on Wii U and I want to be able to play them with my Wii U Pro Controller as well.



MAB said:

Yeah the gamepad in MH is the win just for getting all the crap off the main screen that obstructs your view... Just played the Revelations demo and I like the more comfortable control setup with the scanner and the switcharoo of the herb and melee buttons also the ooze look alot better then the 3DS version I'm gonna enjoy raid mode more on the WiiU.



ThomasBW84 said:

@Sun As did I, but you can move the ZombiU scanner with the left stick, too; that's how I roll! Or, er, how I scan.



Sun said:

@ThomasBW84 Actually I only played the demo which I did not like. I am playing Project Zero 2 Wii Edition these days. It's an amazing game. I can only hope we will have more Project Zero on Wii U. Regarding REvelations, I will go for the the Wii U version even though I already own the 3DS version.



Sun said:

About the frame rate not being stable, I would say it can be due to this being just a demo?



Banker-Style said:

Even thought I've already got the game on 3DS,I'm still gonna go for this,just for the ability to play as Mega Jugs Jessica,and the Mii Verse stuff.



element187 said:

@WiiURockz Deus Ex wont be coming out this month.. or next month.

Squeenix got a little spooked by the consoles low sales, so don't expect it until the sales start to show some life (sometime after E3 when Nintendo reveals and releases some big titles.



Dpishere said:

I would very much like to play this game and though I do own a 3ds I would much rather own it for Wii U since my 3ds' online doesn't work properly with my router. With the Wii U I would directly plug it into the cable so there would be no problem with my internet in that case.



Darth_Pascal said:

I don't understand why they did not implement motion controls for scanning, just like in Zombi U. The option should have been there. It just feels lazy.



Xilef said:

Really liked the demo. Made me actually want the game, something the 3DS demo didn't quite do. Not sure if i'm going to get this or the 3DS version though.



SKTTR said:

Controls of Wii U Revelations were good, but after RE4:Wii Edition Nintendo-Residents need Wiimote aiming, at least as an alternative.



Sun said:

@SKTTR Makes sense, they did that with RE4 Wii Edition and they created a better control although the game was designed for the GameCube controller. So yes, Wii Remote support would make a perfect controlling choice for this game.



Sun said:

Just played the demo, yeah, it controls better on Wii U even though I own Circle Pad Pro. If you use the GamePad the on-screen map is very handy. I also tried the Wii U pro controller, which I love. The game looks gorgeous on a HD TV. And it's a great game itself.



WaveBoy said:

I can't believe Capcom never bothered to use the game pad's screen as a scanner, that would of been sooo awesome. It's bad enough pointer controls as a secondary control option aren't even available. Sheesh capcom, instead of glossing up the ooz's, upping the resolution and making the lighting a bit prettier and plunking in more modes and what have you, you should of focused a bit more on implementing unique & innovative ways to use the gamepad to MAKE this edition feel special. I'm with Chiptoon on this one...



SetupDisk said:

Played the demo and it was what I expected. I loved the 3DS game and I will have to get this to experience the new enemies and boss.



Whack-a-noob said:

Played the demo tonight. Meh. Graphics reminded me of RE on my PS2. Poor rendering. The screen shots above must have been taken from the cut scenes 'cause the gameplay graphics aren't nearly as elegant. Particularly inhibiting when viewing the map. Implement a 3-dimensional map, then make it so low-res that it's nearly useless?

Controls are just a bit worse than horrid. No Wiimote control... "because the Gamepad is Nintendo's NOW controller; Wiimote is so 10 minutes ago". Ok, I can accept that logic, so USE THE FREAKIN' CAPABILITIES OF THE GAMEPAD THEN! Don't force me to use the thing then basically implement it as a two pound DA controller. It's got motion control capability, we know the game has had support for motion control on the 3DS platform, so take advantage of the advanced capabilities of the Gamepad! No, this one is a "pass" for me.

One day developers will realize the full potential of the U's power and Gamepad's unique set of features. Hopefully it won't be too late...



Sun said:

@Ralizah Even being lazy is one of the best 3DS games and the best Resident Evil since the 4th. I agree some features are missing such as Wii Remote support but it's not like there are a lot of better games around.



fluggy said:

Loved parts of the 3ds game .... Zenobia was brill. Action bits in Office and ice station with those 2 dorks were pants! Just played hd demo. . . not impressed. Graphics aren't impressive - in fact, Resi 5 looks better. No decent use of gamepad is another disappointment . . . not even for scanning.!! This remake gave them chance to fix the enemy's nonexistent reaction to bullets too ...... Nada!!! Won't be buying this!!



Beechbone said:

I actually played only demo version of both the 3DS ooroginal and now the Wii U HD remaster. I was thoroughly impressed by 3DS version and came kinda disappointed by the remaster.

Why scanning doesn't utilize gyro controls? Why you can't play with Wii Remote Plus + Nunchuck combo? Why camera control feels so damn stiff and imprecise? Whe the textures are so washed out and ugly?

Rachel's awesome rack alone does not justify the asking price for me.
Maybe I'll finally pick up 3DS version, after all.



AceTrainerBean said:

I honestly hate the shooter options and on the 3Ds I thought the controls were perfect with no need for the circle pad pro. On the wii u version I changed to classic controls because shooter just felt weird



Dpishere said:

@b23cdq So it is Wi-fi only then? Well my Wii works fine with my router so here's hoping the Wii U will as well.

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