I think it would be safe to say that the Resident Evil franchise has kinda lost its way in the past few games. From Resi 4 onwards, the games have seemingly leaned more towards action than horror. In 4, this wasn’t a bad thing. In my opinion, Resi 4 is one of the best games of its generation, it nicely blended elements that made the series great, with a number of new elements to update it into the realm of modern action games. Since then, the games have gotten progressively worse, and have gone from survival horror, to full-time third person shooter, and even then the shooting mechanics are not up to par with its peers in the genre.
That’s why the Resi 7 demo caught everyone off guard. Making a jump to a first person perspective, and relying heavily on building atmosphere, this latest outing seems to be a fresh start, almost a reboot. Given the lack of familiar faces, locations or even a zombie or two, it’s unclear how far into the extensive lore 7 will delve. In fact, were it not for the title reveal, this could have been a completely new IP, independent from the RE franchise. Similarities can definitely be drawn between this and the ill fated PT, which is no bad thing. If Silent Hills is never to be, at least it’s spirit can live on here.
So will we get to see Leon Kennedy, Ada Wong, Jill Valentine or any of the Redfield siblings? Who knows. And honestly it doesn’t matter that much to me. I feel that those names have been more associated with the over the top action of the previous games, rather than the horror franchise that birthed them. A fresh start with some new faces could be just what the franchise needs, with maybe a cameo here or there, just to remind us what universe we’re in.
I played a little of the first Resident Evil. Being only 20, the original release was a little before my gaming days, but it’s recent re-release gave me a chance to give it a go. I didn’t buy the whole game but I have tried a little of it, and whilst the scares are definitely there – stupid window dogs required a change of underwear – the fixed camera angles and generally clunky gameplay felt very outdated. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising it, I’m sure it was revolutionary for its time.
The point I’m trying to make is how good the new game could be if it’s done right. The old games showed Capcom’s capacity to make an atmospheric experience, and if you combine that with modern day visuals and gameplay, it could potentially be one of the scariest experiences this side of Amnesia. As I mentioned earlier, the demo is very atmospheric, and aside from one or two exceptions, doesn’t rely on jump scares.
Let’s take a look at Alien: Isolation. The game was flawed, that’s generally agreed upon, but one thing it did well was creating a sense of unrest in the player. You’re being stalked, and you have no idea what lurks around the next corner. Resi 7 seems to excel at the same element. You wake up in a house, signs of death everywhere and your only clue is a video tape that you seemingly recorded yourself, which appears to capture the death of your camera team. You now know that there is someone or something else in this house with you, and you have to get out.
The way small things move in the corner of your eye, or you see him walking around past doorways has your heart racing. Whoever this man is, he’s toying with you. You’re part of his sadistic game, and the feeling of dread and loneliness is palpable. All of this is just based off the demo, a 10 minute segment of the game. It’s entirely possible that the devs chose this part of the game to display for exactly that reason.
However, if the game can manage to maintain that level of tension for an entire game (which is where Alien: Isolation struggled), Resi 7 may just be the best of the series.
It’s all tense enough on the screen in front of you whilst holding a controller. I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying the experience must be in VR. This is one of the biggest selling points Resi 7 has to me, and I’m so happy that they decided to return to a survival horror game to unveil it. Just imagine fighting through one of the ridiculous set pieces of Resi 6 in VR. Your heart would probably be in your throat true enough, but so would the rest of your lunch.
I’m super excited to see what this game can do. Watching the demo made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Playing it was even more intense, so I have no doubt that playing it in VR will be one of the best horror game experiences available.
…That’s this week’s VuePoint!!! Check back tomorrow for a new BearSleuth Opinion Piece!!!