Last year was a mixed bag for the Resident Evil series, with three games coming out to a mixed reception, with the only real winner being RE: Revelations on the 3DS. So surprise of all surprises last week, when we found out that in May 2013 there is going to be a release of Revelations across all major platforms.
Revelations is a survival horror game in the mould of the founding Resident Evil games. Since the success of the critically acclaimed action thriller Resident Evil 4 the series has suffered from an identity crisis which has left a majority of fans questioning Capcom’s decisions. Personally, I was not a fan of Resident Evil 4, sure it had a few good scares, it introduced us to some new enemies and the story was ok but I found the whole experience lacklustre, it had lost that horror aspect that drew me in all those years ago. It had lost what I expect out of a Resident Evil game, horror.
Is the success Resident Evil 4 to blame for the current trend in the Resident Evil series? I miss the tension, suspense and horror of the older games that was brought to the table back in the ninety’s. Game designers back then were not forced to make the game accessible to everyone, they sought to bring us unique and hard hitting experiences, not this watered down generic bile that is churned out of Capcom’s studios these days in the hope of pleasing everyone (which, realistically you are never going to do).
I for one just wish greedy publishers would stop chasing the pound signs and I know I am not alone in that sentiment. It seems that Dead Space 3 is set to follow the same path of focusing too much on appeasing the masses rather than appeasing the fans that made these great series what they are today.
The mechanics of the old Resident Evil games are what made us such huge fans of the franchise, you feel slow, unresponsive and exposed. These all contributed to making players feel totally helpless at times and I haven’t even mentioned the camera in those games. It added so much drama and suspense, as one minute you would be walking backwards firing rounds into a zombie, then all of a sudden the camera changes and in the moment of confusion trying to get your bearings, you panic as you can’t see that zombie any more. Now I know that it is probably due to technical limitations back in the day but it added real suspense and tension to the gameplay.
Lighting also played a major part in these games, something which the first two Dead Space games also did to perfection. The most recent Resident Evil games seem to be more brightly lit, which loses the tension and the overall sense of panic that you got as a player.
I was talking to a friend the other day and he admitted to emptying a full clip of ammo into a wall once while playing the first Dead Space, simply because he thought he saw something move, how many of us can actually admit to that? I know I can. These are the moments that are remembered and bring us back for more. It’s not a hard thing to grasp, because being stuck in the dark creates tension.
Even more to the point, it shows that survival horror games have a place in this industry and they shouldn’t have to be watered down to offer accessibility to new players. The Resident Evil deserves more, no, it demands more than that from Capcom. Now with Revelations due out in a few short months, does this show total and complete indecision by Capcom of which way to take the franchise? Is it just another money making exercise? Or are Capcom seeing what the demand of the market is at the moment?