Scratch yet another item off the 3DS wish list, Nintendo’s new handheld features demos. While there is only one demo available on the eShop at this moment, that demo is a big one, Resident Evil: Revelations.

A combination of Resident Evil 4 and 5‘s new combat and camera placement, Revelations offers a return to form for the series – to its heyday of confined combat and limited ammunition. We got our hands on the game’s first demo, and what we played of it seems promising.The demo starts off innocently enough with Jill Valentine waking up in a bedroom onboard a rickety freighter, and forced to find a way out. Inside that room there’s opportunities for exploration, a mainstay of the series, and even a little touch screen puzzle solving. Moving outside the bedroom thrusts players headfirst into combat, which is where the key differences between this and any past Resident Evil.

Using the 3D capabilities Revelations is able to create a real sense of depth between the player and enemies. To further emphasize that depth the game offers two perspectives for gunplay — one the traditional over-the-shoulder and the other dead-on first person. It still takes some time to get used to the aiming, as has been the case for me with each of the more recent Resident Evils, but the added 3D effect helped keep everything in perspective — letting me judge when to fight and when to run.

But precision is of the utmost importance in the game, since ammo, at least in this boat section, is very scarce. There’s the ability to dodge and melee enemies, but that only keeps them back, and takes far too long to actually take them down. Perhaps with the addition of the circle pad attachment, which releases in North America, around the same time of this game’s release, combat hiccups will be ironed out.

Resident Evil Revelations Demo Impressions - 3D Perspective

There are really only about three or four key areas to explore in the demo — totaling about 30 minutes of play time — but all of it was extremely compelling in its use of atmosphere, 3D visuals, and excellent sound. It’s too early to label the whole product as such, but this brief section feels much more like a true Resident Evil than past iterations, especially Resident Evil 5.

That said, the experience wasn’t perfect — the aiming isn’t that precise and with a lack of ammo that could become a problem if the player doesn’t adapt fast enough — but as a 3DS game this should be right up there with Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 for its clever use of the tech and all of the handheld’s bells and whistles. Puzzles weren’t overly simple, and the tiny hints of a story drew my interest enough to want to play more. This is a must-buy for Resident Evil fans, and should even win over 3DS owners.

Have you had a chance to check out the demo for Resident Evil: Revelations on the eShop? Feel free to share your thoughts on the demo in the comments below.

Resident Evil: Revelations releases February 7, 2012 on the Nintendo 3DS. Its demo is available now on the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

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