The Resident Evil series is in some trouble. Whether it’s down to overexposure (how many spin-offs have been released recently?) or that there’s been a definite drop in quality, it doesn’t really have as much love as you might expect these days.
Let’s not cover anything in fairy dust: Resident Evil 6 was pretty damn woeful. The iconic horror series was no longer horror, instead intent on becoming yet more action fodder filled with enough explosions to make Michael Bay go all trembly. The signs were already there in Resident Evil 5 and, to a lesser extent, the excellent Resident Evil 4, but apart from the decent yet unspectacular Revelations spin-offs, the Resi series is a monster that’s hard to recognise.
Rumours abound that Resident Evil 7 will debut at E3 2016 with a return to the roots of the series: actual horror. Not slow-motion rocket launcher action on top of a speeding train, but true terror once again. I can’t wait, especially if it has one of the developers of P.T. behind it.
With that being said, there are some things Capcom have to do and have to avoid to ensure Resi 7 gets the fans back on their side. Here’s what we Cultured Vultures want to see from the new game.
1. Claustrophobic environments
Resident Evil 5 & 6 spent very little time in interior locations, instead preferring wide-open areas where the danger wasn’t cadavers lurching out at you from behind corners, but how many things you could kill on-screen within ten seconds – it was basically like undead Duck Hunt. Resi 7 needs to return to the claustrophobic intensity of somewhere like a mansion to bring back the tension. Going back to a mansion would be slightly too familiar, but how about an abandoned hospital or asylum?
I am not going to lie here: I hate puzzles in video games. I play games to unwind, not to make my brain do stuff. That being said though, puzzles are an essential part of the Resident Evil series and have added a lot to the previous games in the series, ramping up the scares when you know you have to find a missing piece in an area littered with enemies and a potential boss that will eat your face. To add back the brains to the Resi series, we need to make ourselves work for that next checkpoint.
3. Limited supplies
It really is too easy to bag on Resident Evil 6, but it does deserve it. The game was damn easy, even on the harder difficulties, thanks to the constant stream of herbs and ammo. Trying to work your way around the Spencer Mansion with nothing but four bullets for your feeble handgun was part of the horror of the original game, so if Capcom really want to return to their roots, they need to stop throwing supplies at us like it’s Christmas. Resident Evil 7 should make it hard for players to find ammo, sending them into a state when they’re up against it.
4. A coherent, new story
The Resident Evil canon has long gone past the point of coherence – if you were to approach the series as a newcomer, you would be probably left scratching your head with each plot twist and hammy line of dialogue. It would be crazy to suggest that Capcom need to wipe the slate clean with the story and start over, which is why it would make sense for the new game to share the same universe, but with a different cast of characters separate from the long-winded machinations of Umbrella. The characters need a break.
Wait, WAIT. I know what you’re thinking and I’m not suggesting for one second that Resident Evil should ditch the third-person perspective it’s famous for. With games like Outlast and Alien: Isolation showing just how horrifying first-person can be, it would make sense for Capcom to allow players to aim in first-person while still going for a third-person perspective during movement, similarly to Metal Gear Solid. This doesn’t at all mean that it will be a bullet-fest – just imagine how intense it will be trying to line up the perfect headshot with limited ammo as the dead amble towards you. Yeah, it’s been done before with Resident Evil: Dead Aim, but I have no doubts that the developers can step up to improve on what the series has explored in the past.
6. Insanity mechanics
Eternal Darkness was one of the best horror games of its generation partly due to the interesting insanity mechanics it worked into its gameplay. If your character had been exposed to too much horror, the game would bug out, leading to intentional glitches and other weirdness, sometimes even ending up with your character committing suicide. This has been implemented in a similar way most recently in the superb Darkest Dungeon, and it would make sense to translate it to the Resident Evil series. Picture it: you’re running around a claustrophobic mansion, trying to solve a puzzle with limited supplies as you enjoy the coherent story when you notice something in the darkness. Switching to first-person, your character’s breathing becomes hurried and panicked as your aim is less than stable; everything they’ve seen has taken its toll. As the monster edges closer, you’re frozen in place…
What do you think of our suggestions? Leave your own in a comment below.
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