reHorror: Resident Evil @ NY Comic-Con 2011

NY Comic-Con 2011 has officially come to an end, so I’m going to be giving you all the info that came out of the event with this week’s reHorror column. Let me get this out of the way first, not much new stuff actually came out from the event in terms of Resident Evil content, but regardless, here’s a neat little recap of what was in store for fans– from demo impressions to a summary of what was discussed in the Resident Evil panel, and a link to our NYCC 2011 album on our Facebook page at the end containing pics of me (in my Resident Evil 1 Chris cosplay) along with other fellow Resident Evil fans dressed up as their favorite characters. So, let’s get started!

Let’s start things off with a better idea of when to expect Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City to hit store shelves. As opposed to what some may have been led to believe, Slant Six’s upcoming squad-based Resident Evil shooter has now been confirmed for a 2012 release– thanks to the big “Available 2012” line in this poster that was available at the game’s section in the Capcom booth. But, don’t fret, the game will still technically be able to hit in its confirmed Winter launch window.

As I’ve been constantly saying, I believe the game will see release sometime in January, a month before Resident Evil Revelations hits the 3DS on February 7– or as it’s now being officially declared as Jill Valentine’s Day by Capcom. Get it? ‘Cause it’s near Valentine’s Day…Yeah, very clever, but hey, I love me some Jill any day of the week! So, speaking of Operation Raccoon City, let’s get on to the demo that was available to play at the convention.

The NY Comic-Con 2011 Operation Raccoon City demo was the same exact one that was available at E3 this year, so there really isn’t anything new to report on on that front, but it was still a  great time (for a more detailed preview of this demo, click here for my E3 2011 preview). I once again took it to the mean streets of Raccoon City as Vector, shooting down hordes of zombies, lickers, hunters, and, of course, Spec Ops soldiers.

The demo was timed at around 10 minutes, with your objective being to hunt down and kill Leon. Fans of Resident Evil 2 (and really, who isn’t?) will definitely love the demo’s opening cut-scene, which is basically a remake of Resident Evil 2’s opening segment where the zombified truck driver rams into Leon and Claire’s car– which then leads to them getting separated, and thus begins the USS squad’s hunt for Leon. Now, you don’t exactly get to kill Leon in this demo, but you do get to kill lots of BOWs.

The zombies in the game are truly relentless, and the scent of blood spilling automatically guarantees a massive horde of the walking dead to come give you a little greeting, and this also applies to the Specs Ops soldiers since they’re really the main “enemies” you’ll be going up against in this triple threat battle in Raccoon City. So, yes, instead of just killing those soldiers, you can opt to be a bit more strategic (and cruel) and inflict some damage on them, enough to make them spill out blood to attract nearby zombies. And you can definitely picture what happens next…

Zombies aren’t the only enemies you fight, either. You also do battle with many, many Lickers and Hunters. The Lickers show up once you’re in a big garage-like area, and there’s a lot of ’em. Playing with three others, it was intense having to fend off Lickers that were grabbing on to my partners with their tongues. And it just felt truly satisfying mowing down the Lickers with three other people. It still had a sense of horror, but in a different way than classic, not as action-packed, Resident Evil games. Basically, regardless of this being a squad-based shooter, Operation Raccoon City still felt like an authentic Resident Evil experience. Then the Hunters came down…

In a scene that played out like the one in Resident Evil 2’s B scenarios in which containers are dropped from helicopters in the sky, Hunters make their grand entrance into the fray in this very fashion. When me and my partners got to this part of the demo, we actually ended up dying quite a few times, sadly. Because not only were we dealing with Hunters, we were also dealing with many zombies and a squad of Spec Ops soldiers (some of them even being on higher ground, trying to snipe us). It was truly an intense experience and I found myself running to any nearby sources of health that may have been left constantly. Oh, and I also made good use of Vector’s special cloaking ability to try to get around the battlefield better.

Yeah, as you already know, each of the game’s main, playable characters sports their own unique special abilities. And trust me, they’ll all come in handy as you make your way through the T-Virus infected streets of  Raccoon City. Vector has his cloaking ability, Lupo has unlimited ammo being granted for a limited time, Four Eyes can manipulate BOWs, Beltway can make good use of his mines, Spectre has various scopes at his disposal, and Bertha can heal her dying comrades. Putting all these abilities into play in a game session definitely proves to be a fun time, and definitely adds a strategic layer to the game. In the end, I feel like Operation Raccoon City is going to end up being a very solid offering, one that’s a bit more different than what’s come before, but still manages to feel like what Resident Evil should be.

Oh, and you’re going to want to support this game, trust me, but I’ll get to the reason why towards the end of this column.

So, now let’s move on to a game that’s definitely in every fan’s radar, Resident Evil Revelations. What else can be said about this game and how it’s shaping up? Yes, it’s a true classic, survival horror entry in the series, and yes, it’s everything that Resident Evil should’ve been– hell, with this being set between Resident Evil 4 and 5, this might as well be the true 5th numbered entry. Like in Operation Raccoon City’s case, this demo was the same one that was present at this year’s E3 (and you can read an in-depth preview of said demo from E3 by clicking here). It’s a demo that I’ve played one too many times already, and have enjoyed every single play-through immensely.

You take control of series’ all-STAR, Jill Valentine as she awakens in a room that looks a bit too familiar and not unlike the classic mansion from the original game. After being briefed by Parker, you’re off to embark on your journey to find out just where Chris is– his last transmission traces his location as being aboard the luxury cruise ship (officially called the Queen Zenobia, and we’ll get into more about this ship in a bit in what seems to be a new marketing campaign for the game). And it doesn’t take more than a few minutes before you’re met with the return of puzzles.

The sole puzzle included in this demo build was one that makes good use of Jill’s mastery of unlocking and of the 3Ds’ touch screen. At first it may seem a bit confusing, but then you’ll see how you have to make sure all the wires line up with the glowing indicators in an opened panel– that’s opened after you retrieve a screwdriver from a bathtub (ah, yes, pure classic Resident Evil). From here you go outside the room and into a series of enclosed hallways, an area that’s very reminiscent of the Spencer Estate’s main hall, and it all ends off in the ship’s control center, as Jill and Parker are confronted by Raymond Vester, who’s a new Organization operative.

But let’s back track a bit and talk about the actual moments interspersed where you’ll confront the game’s new water-based BOWs. These foes look like the Regenerators in Resident Evil 4, and behave somewhat like the classic zombies, but they’re an altogether new threat. Which kind of means that you should be afraid of them, especially when you’re met with more than one at a time as their spiked arms are quite strong, and they take a few more hits than standard zombies to take down. So, yeah, these enemies definitely bring out the classic, traditional survival horror elements in the game, because trust me, you will find yourself running out of ammo or running low on health supplies at times.

Even the demo alone presented a scarce amount of ammunition and health items, but the new supply scanner device did help out on more than one occasion. This new item is very much like the scanning ability Samus Aran has in Nintendo’s Metroid Prime titles. But it actually ends up working rather nicely, and comes in handy. When you whip this new device out you’ll be able to scan around your immediate surrounding for any hidden items. So, if you’re out of ammo, make sure to always scan everything in sight, as sometimes you’ll find ammo that can definitely give you a better chance at survival.

Basically, Resident Evil Revelations may be bringing in many new faces into the series, but it’s also bringing back many of the elements that made the series such a beloved one in the history of gaming, and the most successful horror franchise in gaming. 3DS owners are sure in for one hell of an experience, and if you’re a hardcore Resident Evil fan and don’t have the glasses-free 3D handheld yet, then you may want to consider purchasing one. Ah, I can sense the “can’t wait for this to be on Vita” comments coming already…

Now let’s go back to the ship a good chunk of the game will take place on, which has now been given an official name of Queen Zenobia.

Yeah, that’s one awesome advertisement, and I sense we may be seeing some sort of viral marketing campaign starting soon on the site listed on this poster, which advertises the luxury cruise ship from Revelations. Operation Raccoon City has been graced with one very engaging viral with Inserted Evil, so it would be awesome to see Revelations get the same treatment itself. And I don’t know about you, but I find it very nice to see the ship being treated like a living breathing place– well, it used to be a living place, because in the actual game we know that isn’t exactly the case.

So, the name of the ship is the Queen Zenobia, and this new poster for the game has a QR code you could scan which then leads you to the ship’s official site (you can also get there by clicking here). Yeah, it’s not really the “official” site you’re directed to, but it is the official Facebook page. And the page promises that the actual site is “almost here!” It also states how we’ll be able to win exclusive prizes and that we should “stay tuned for the big announcement…it’s coming soon.” What could this big announcement be? Well, we’re going to have to wait to find out.

Now let’s move on to the Resident Evil panel, and the new little nuggets of information that came out of it. First off, the panel started things with a that awesome Resident Evil 15th anniversary trailer, and as you could imagine, this got quite a strong reaction from fans in attendance. The Capcom reps (including producers behind Revelations and Operation Raccoon City) then spoke about each of the series’ newest and upcoming games. They started it by going over Resident Evil 4 HD and CODE: Veronica X HD and showing both game’s trailers. They also talked about Mercenaries 3D, but that game has already been out for a while.

Then they went on to the two big upcoming games: Operation Raccoon City and Revelations. First up was Revelations, which also got a very loud response. One of the producers was on hand to answer some questions about the game, but said questions didn’t lead to any new information. We did learn about how Chris and Jill were intentionally split up with this game, to be partnered up with new faces. This decision was made in order to sort of ground both heroic figures more in reality, due to their partners and them portraying real world flaws. Also, it was reiterated how Jessica feels like she has some very big, Nemesis-approved shoes to fill in terms of being Chris’ partner, and she may even feel some jealousy over his closeness to Jill.

Then we got some brief discussion over Parker and Jill’s new partnership. Amusingly, Capcom reps stated how Jill is this very beautiful, thin woman, and how Parker is…Parker, and not exactly possesive of good looks. But hey, as long as he gets the job done! It was also stated how we should think of him as this game’s version of everyone’s favorite family man, Barry Burton. I mean, I can definitely see some of Barry in Parker’s appearance (but it’s very miniscule), but there’s no replacement for Barry, there just can’t be. And speaking of Barry, there was a little surprise for Barry fans in the panel, but we’ll get to that shortly!

 Here’s the two new characters that were recently revealed via scans and the game’s official Japanese site. First we got Keith Lumley. This BSAA operative was described in the panel as being very efficient with a longe range of weapons, especially machine guns and assault rifles. Then we got Quint Cetcham, another BSAA operative, who’s Quint’s partner in their mission in what looks like the same mountain range Chris and Jessica have already been seen in. There’s something quite cool about Quint, though. You know the supply scanner? Well, Quint is actually the creator of this new, very handy, device.

Resident Evil Revelations isn’t just about Chris and Jill and their individual stories. No. The game will take place largely in the luxury cruise ship we’ve seen, revolving around Jill and Parker, but we’re also going to get many other perspectives to help flesh out the overall narrative even further. This is where the other scenarios come into play, like Chris and Jessica’s, and the recently revealed Quint and Keith one. It wasn’t announced if what we saw of Rachel was actually part of a playable scenario, but judging by the way things are going, it wouldn’t be all that surprising.

It’s safe to say that Revelations is going to be a huge Resident Evil game, and it’s been reiterated that this will actually give us many revelations as to how we got from the end of Resident Evil 4 to the scenario the world finds itself in in the beginning of Resident Evil 5. The game is heavily focused on partnerships and the overall nature of it. Yeah, the presence of many new characters may be a bit jarring at first, but Capcom’s promised that each and every one of them will actually serve a purpose and lead to what’s set to be another memorable entry in the franchise– in a true return to survival horror as well. Sadly, we didn’t learn more about Raymond Vester (the Organization operative) and the Veltro leader. Oh, and it was also confirmed that Revelations isn’t connected at all to Dead Aim, because someone actually asked about that.

Then Capcom went into the Q & A part of the panel, in which many interesting, and expected questions were raised. First we got a query regarding Resident Evil Zero’s Billy Coen and his current whereabouts. The Capcom reps didn’t downright confirm or deny the possibility of him popping up in an another game, but they did confirm that he’s still a part of the Resident Evil universe and that we may have not seen the last of him; they just weren’t ready to make any official announcement regarding the character, for obvious reasons. Then we went on to the million dollar question, which, of course, has to do with the one and only Barry Burton.

Barry’s another character that hasn’t really been given his time to shine in his own standalone entry in the series. Capcom again couldn’t confirm or deny anything, going as far as saying how he’s part of the roster in Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D. But one of the game’s producers, Rey Jimenez, did promise that if Operation Raccoon City sold enough copies that he would push for a sequel to be made that will have Barry as a playable character. This, of course, got a roaring united sign of approval. And speaking of Operation Raccoon City, it was also revealed how each level could take around 45 minutes to complete.

There was also some discussion about Operation Raccoon City’s ongoing, soon to conclude, viral campaign, Inserted Evil. There’s only a couple of weeks left, but Capcom promised that there’s a lot of surprises coming with these final clues. It wasn’t revealed what’s waiting at the end of it, though, but it’s going to be big. Inserted Evil isn’t just about solving clues and getting to read about events that took place during the Resident Evil 2 and 3 portion of the series’ lore, it’s also revealing characters and locations that will actually be in the final product. So, yeah, every major character that’s been referenced in this viral is fair game as being part of the cast.

The same goes for locations as well, with the Kendo Gun Shop and the hospital confirmed as being two major locations players will be able to explore. The game may seem too “out there” as far as being a Resident Evil, what with more action and gunplay than past entries (even  moreso than Resident Evil 5), but with the availability of more ammunition also comes a boost in the number of BOWs you’ll face at a given time. It’s quite simply survival horror taken to the next level, and it’s shaping up to be one of 2012’s biggest games.

We’re going to end this week’s reHorror column with a question that’s definitely on every fan’s mind: the question of remakes and HD revivals, or more specifically a remake of Resident Evil 2 and an HD edition of Resident Evil Outbreak. Capcom stressed how often they get requests to bring back Outbreak in HD, and how it’s one of their most requested projects, but they weren’t ready to confirm or deny anything at the panel. The same went for Resident Evil 2 and a potential remake– which really is something that should definitely be in the works eventually.

The Capcom reps shared their love for the survival horror classic with the audience, proclaiming how they also feel like it’s the best in the series and they acknowledge how it’s truly a fan-favorite and how high the demand is for a full-blown remake of this title, akin to what the original game got on the Gamecube. Will it happen? Nothing official was announced, but it wasn’t completely denied either. It was just stated that for the time being, fans should definitely be excited about Operation Raccoon city, since that game takes place during the events of the aforementioned survival horror classic and its immediate sequel.

Yeah, Resident Evil 6 didn’t officially get announced, with Capcom confirming that the video that was leaked before was indeed generated by fans, but the franchise still had a solid presence at this year’s New York Comic-Con. The Operation Raccoon City section of Capcom’s booth was heavily populated and made it hard to get through to the other side at times, since people weren’t just lining up to play the game, but there were also many spectating the action going on on the game’s awesome stage. In the end, I had an amazing time in what’s been my first Comic-Con experience. I got to dress up as my all-time favorite video game character (Chris Redfield) and I got to enjoy the series’ upcoming offerings. I’m definitely looking forward to the future and what it’s set to bring, because after all, you know damn well that eventually Capcom will put out Resident Evil 6. Also, make sure to head on over to our NYCC 2011 gallery (by clicking here), and also make sure to “like” Resident Evil’s official Facebook page, because it was revealed that once the page gets to 1,500,000 likes, Capcom will give us one very big surprise.

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