giovedì 26 marzo 2009

My Gripe with Resident Evil 4

Note: I have not yet played RE5, but i'm sure its guilty of the same nonsense.

I can't get mad at Capcom for becoming amazingly successful and producing incredibly fun and industry changing games. I will however blame them for the complete abandonment of the survival horror genre.

It might be said that they cannot destroy the genre, since they created it. I myself would even argue that it may just be the current era, and the age of the classic survival horror has set sail to that mass graveyard where games eventually crystallize and are rebirthed as the old school (somewhere in nevada).

However, this trend of self destruction was set in motion from the very beginnings of the series, but the final nail in the coffin was driven home by Resident evil 4. It basically boils down to resident evil being a flagship series that did everything in its power to 1up the entire industry in terms of scope, in every sector of the game, which it did, leading to its success across pretty much every video game of the year category that was possible in 2004.

A few things that made the originals Survival Horror:
-Eerie mostly vacant environments, the solitary moans of brain suckers got you ready to cross a doorway loading screen after checking that you had the equipment to face whatever may be beyond.
-Difficulty of obtaining healing items and ammunition, strategy of taking what you need.
-Puzzles that added to the mystery of the environment, making the situation creepier with wierd imagery and
-some light shed on other peripheral characters through readable journal entries, notes etc.

Things that compromise that in RE4:
-that fucking guy who sells you items? the character himself is laughable, and the fact that you can BUY items is not survival. BULLSHIT.
-Shining Items; sure otherwise it would be difficult to spot items in the fast paced 3d environments of RE4, but all of the immersion gained from the environments and over-the-shoulder view (one of the unique qualities of RE4 that made it so accessible and was subsequently used in dozens of games every year since), was destroyed by the glowing rings of color used to signify obtainable items.
-All the playable characters are jacked, you can punch zombies into the fucking next dimension, whats scary about being Arnold Schwarzenegger in the terminator? it would be scarier to be Eddie Furlong (a similar sense of danger created in Ico).
-That huge boss that looks like an orc from Lord of the Rings, you're stationary, in the turret of a Hummer, and he doesn't strike at the car? NOT SCARY.

no more fixed cameras (interestingly making it less cinematic, but more 'hollywood'). To be honest, many are excited by the no fixed camera, seeing it as a step that every game must take to move into the next generation, but i mean thats where most of the ambiance and scares really came from, the scene, having it all layed out. The camera doesn't even always have to be stationary, but i mean a clever use of camera direction would be so much more impressive and able to scare than a constant over the shoulder view, that is the stuff of action shooters, not a survival horror.
Although, this over the shoulder view allowed for larger more complicated environments, and even new items like long distance weapons, which wouldn't have made sense in earlier titles.

I wouldn't be so pissed if games that i once respected, like silent hill, didn't also try to make the leap into more combat heavy, over the shoulder gameplay. RE changed, and everyone followed.


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