Resident Evil (the original) was iconic – and a massively different style to the latest iterations. In fact, we’ve seen a decrease in quality since Resident Evil 4 and there is nothing that can seemingly be done to turn this around. Well, I’ve created a short list of improvements that Resident Evil 7 could do to get back on track. So, are you ready to step into the nightmare once more?
Where’s the horror?
Resident Evil has its roots in horror. The originals had it, even Resident Evil 4 had it. But what makes the latest Resident Evil games lacking in horror? It’s definitely not the solo experience. In fact, it’s actually one of the few aspects I did like. For me, it’s the feeling of the objective. With the latter games, you’re on a mission to seek and destroy. You don’t feel trapped at all because you’re constantly moving forward. So lets have it so that player is trapped – not just every now and then, but trapped in a situation where no help can reach them.
Okay, we get it Capcom. Everybody loves Leon and Chris is a glorification of masculinity. But what’s Claire up to these days? I actually liked playing as Sherry Birkin, could she come back? What’s Ashley up to? What about Billy Cohen (or Rebecca Chambers for that matter)? Barry Burton? Capcom have a habit of shelving perfectly fine characters in favour of Leon and Chris. Heck, using other characters could be a way out of the usual story of “BAA agent sent in to dispose of T/G-Virus related Las Plagas thing”. Then, maybe we could get back to the horror. Oh, and if you’re using female characters, please clothe them as you see women in everyday life – not with their breasts sticking out, thanks!
I did kind of appreciate the zombies – yes, they’re slow, but they’re still terrifying if you don’t have massively powerful weapons. Failing that, just don’t have the enemies as the biological form of those Transformers from the last film – it’s much scarier when the body horror is bits morphing into bits (for example, the eyeball on William Birkin’s arm, the eyeball in the mouth of Osmond Saddler).
Don’t be afraid to take it slow
The pace of the past few games was way too fast. You go to an area, run/blast your way through and enter a new area, usually within a fairly short amount of time. The original Resident Evils weren’t like that. Heck, even Resident Evil 4 had THAT pace. Sometimes it’s better to have the slow but impervious monster that has a greater reach and more power to their punch then you expect. I remember the first time I encountered Mr X in the B story of Resident Evil 2. Heck, even if you did want to take it up a notch, Nemesis ran quite a bit, and seemed to not care where he followed you – and in a terrifying way, where you thought you were safe.
So what about the levels? We’ve seen a step away from tight corridors and enclosed areas. Why? These amp up the level of fear because there’s nowhere to run. Heck, what about a fatigue system to combat the feeling of “it’s okay, I’ll just run around these guys until I can get a bit more space to manoeuvre”. Oh, and I know this will probably go down like a lead balloon, but what about having to backtrack through areas more? Picking up items you left behind or having to face down enemies you thought were long behind you? Resident Evil 4 did this a few times and it felt like you weren’t just plowing through an area.
The things to take forward
I don’t think Resident Evil 5 and 6 are terrible games. I just feel that they don’t live up to the experiences from previous titles. I liked the co-op experience, especially on the same console. I quite like the male/female partnerships. Certainly more awesome than 2 virtually faceless marines – just don’t make it so that the guy has to save the girl every 5 minutes. Mix the gender stereotypes up, it’ll make for a far more impacting story. There’s also the case for each person having their specific items and slots – although I quite liked the “organisation” in Resident Evil 4’s system, it really made you think about where stuff had to be positioned in the case.
One thing I think Capcom should stay away from is outsourcing to other companies. While I liked the “different interconnected paths” thing 6 had going on, it did seem like a massive mess.
Resident Evil 7 could be a gateway back to its roots – a leap in the right direction. Perhaps Capcom should take the approach that Resident Evil 4 did – if it strays too far from the series, make it a new IP (the whole Devil May Cry origin story). I think it says something when so many fans are screaming out for change and their favourite Resident Evil games seem to be the same – RE2 and RE4. This isn’t an accident, and it’s not just because Leon was in both. It’s a case of both of those games worked, and worked well. Take from them, their systems, their atmosphere and their stories. Then Capcom will have a recipe for a success.