What Happened to Resident Evil?
Resident Evil, one of the most recognizable game series of all time. The first game in the series came out in 1994, and blew us all away. With the terrifying atmosphere of the mansion, the crazy zombies, and a plot line that kept you going through the game. What did the game all come down to though? Fear. Can you say this about the game series today though? Not really.
When I first saw this game, I was pretty young. My brother was 2-3 years ahead of me in age. So his ability to play games was a little more advanced than mine (not by much though…) I was playing Nintendo 64 games, and he had the big bad ol’ PSX. My system seemed like a ‘children’s toy’ compared to the awesomeness of PSX. While I was playing Super Mario 64, he was playing Parasite Eve, which seemed WAY more epic than Super Mario 64.
My brother got Resident Evil one day, and I watched in awe. This game looked amazing, freaky, and overall just awesome! However, today it is criticized for it’s tank controls and horrible voice acting, but in 1995, there weren’t any analog sticks on controllers quite yet (which is standard today). There was Up, Down, Left, and Right….that was it! A 3D game where you shift in 90 degree angles? Yea…it’s gonna be kinda weird. Controls aside though, this game was terrifying. How can you forget the first time going through the corridor and BOOM, rabid dogs break through the windows and attack you? The story of this game was so driving, that you didn’t even care or consider the controls.
Then there was a 2nd game, which is still may favorite entry in the series, and then there was the 3rd game. At this point, the public was getting tired of the clunky controls, especially with the fact that ‘analog sticks’ existed and you could move 360 degrees. Then it happened….RESIDENT EVIL 4! This game blew ALL OF US away! It was a brand new way to look at Resident Evil, and we loved it. Instead of focusing on slow pace action, this game went to 3rd Person mode and you could aim for headshots, take on large amounts of enemies, etc. It was faster and more intense than any Resident Evil we have played to date. Well, a 5th one had to come out right? Then the decline started to happen.
RE 5 was a lot of fun, especially if you had a friend to play with in Co-op, but the series started to lose what was great about RE…..Survival Horror. Most games today are shooters…a game that basically you run around shooting everything in your path and making everything explode like a Michael Bay film. There are so many ‘shooter’ games out today, it’s like an infestation! Hence, we got 2 games from the RE series to attempt to capitalize on the success of shooters, RE: Operation Raccoon City and Resident Evil 6…these games sadly, derailed the entire series for me.
RE: Operation Raccoon City was just plain awful…the balance of everything in this game was horrible. Check out my review here. Then Resident Evil 6 came around and to this day, I still have yet to finish it. These two games though, are the example of the ‘shooter’ taking over the series. RE was a game about exploration, puzzle solving, and most importantly…horror and scares. All of these, are NO LONGER in the series. It really sucks to look at the video game shelf and see shooting this and shooting that…I AM TIRED OF SHOOTING S*#T! I understand what they were trying to do though…trying to satisfy the market. Shooters are extremely popular right now, and EVERYONE is playing them. It just is a bummer that we won’t be able to get that same feel of ‘fear’ from the RE games we had in the mid 90’s. Those days are gone…and I don’t think they are coming back anytime soon.
Resident Evil evolved..like most game franchises do. If a game series doesn’t evolve, it is bound to get boring, and I get that. Just don’t change EVERYTHING about it to the point where it’s not even the same game anymore. Specifically puzzle solving, exploration, and MOST IMPORTANTLY….the ‘fear’ aspect. Resident Evil 4 had all of these things, hence why it was so good. Then the rest of the games after that, just kept going down. Just like every game franchise, there is bound to be ‘bad games’ (Mario isn’t safe from this either…Mario’s Time Machine anyone?). Resident Evil is no different! Sometimes even, there will be a diamond in the rough like RE: Revelations. Someday when they make Resident Evil 7 (cause you know they will), maybe they will bring back that old feeling of sitting in a dark room, all of the lights off, glow of the television, and thing jumping out at you from every corner prompting you to turn on the lights and go to bed, cause you just can’t handle to horror of the RE games.
In the end, the Resident Evil games are still fun, just not what they used to be.