I’m a big fan of the Resident Evil games.  I used to be too afraid to play the first game by myself, and instead had my brother play for me while I watched from under a blanket (I’m a wuss).  As the games progressed and turned more shooter-y than survival horror, they started feeling like they had lost that creepy, “don’t blink” vibe.  This made it an entirely different sort of game, at least for me.  Not to knock the newer games because Resident Evil 4 is undoubtedly one of my favorites of the series – it just felt different.

I had a chance to play Resident Evil: Revelations on the 3DS this weekend at PAX, and combining the playing experience with the footage we’ve already seen makes me feel like a kid again, hiding under that blanket.

The demo started me off as Jill in a room by myself with a handgun.  The game offers you a choice of third person or first person perspective, and I stuck with third person as it feels more Resident Evil-esque to me.  Upon exploring the room, you find some ammo, wander into the bathroom, you find a tub filled with water.  Uh oh.  Do you pull the plug and let the water out?  Of course you do.  After fully expecting something to come charging out at me, I was a little disappointed to just find a screwdriver to open the locked door to the rest of the house.  On the way to the door from the bathroom though, the locked closet on the side of the room swings open and out bursts your very first zombie, which goes down with a few shots to the head from a pistol.

To get out the door, you have to solve a puzzle – an easy puzzle, but still a puzzle, which makes me excited and adds to the evidence that Revelations is hearkening back to the older games.  You explore the rest of the house, occasionally running into zombies and locked doors that you can’t open yet, finding ammo and herbs, and my favorite weapon ever, the shotgun.  Sweet.  I met my untimely demise after creeping through an unexplained hazy ballroom and wandering up winding stairs to the second floor, where I opened a door and two zombies launched themselves at me.  I wasn’t savvy enough to escape them, and only took down one before the other ripped me apart (whoops).

Aiming was accurate thanks to the bumpers, the menu was easily accessible via the touchscreen, and switching weapons was extremely easy by using the D-pad.  The music was appropriately Resident Evil and creepy to the max, and the graphics looked great.  I didn’t use the 3D function for long since I’m not a fan of it, but I tried it out as I was creeping through the hazy ballroom; the effect was immersing and realistic.

If the rest of the game plays this way, and keeps the puzzles and horror elements at the forefront, the franchise will have added a very sweet addition to its lineup.  Resident Evil: Revelations is expected to launch on 3DS sometime in early 2012.