Once upon a zombie, there was a certain lack of survival horror titles bracing the gaming landscape. Sure, we had games like Sweet Home and Clock Tower, but gamers yearned for more. That was about the time when the world was introduced to a little game called Resident Evil.
This was pretty much the pinnacle of the survival horror genre as people knew it back then (being the game that defined the genre), along with Alone in the Dark, both of which helped shift the genre into the 3D realm and popularized the fixed camera angle for survival horror games to come.
But over time, the Resident Evil series evolved, as all franchises must do to keep with the times. Beginning with Resident Evil 4, the series ditched the old fixed camera angles for a third-person view, added quick-time events to make the gameplay more engaging, and threw in some cinematic spectacles, giving the series more of an action vibe to accommodate the increasing demand of action games. And back when that game came out, it was very well-received by critics and fans alike. But with the additional changes made in Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, now it "appears" that the series has fallen.
At least, that“s what the word is on the (zombie-ridden) streets. I, on the other hand, think differently. In fact, there are plenty of flaws that made the classic Resident Evil games far less â€œawesomeâ€ than people think they are. And much of this love for the classics is due to nostalgia, or simply because of the age fans were when they originally played these games, making them seem more frightening than they actually are. Having reviewed Resident Evil 6 myself, I decided to go back and play the originals, and there are several things I noticed about them that makes these complaints seem like a bunch of nonsense to meâ€¦
The Classics Really Aren't That Scary
The dialogue sure was scary, though...
One complaint I hear a lot is that â€œResident Evil used to be scary and isn“t anymore.â€ No, I wouldn“t say it“s all that scary, to be honest. Seriously, a lot of what made classic Resident Evil scary were simply things jumping out at you, which gave the game some suspenseful sections where you anticipated that situation to happen quite a bit. The modern games had those too, though, such as with those freaking Regenerators from Resident Evil 4â€¦
And sure, they also set creepy tones quite nicely back then, but the new games still have their moments. Going back to the Regenerators from Resident Evil 4, the areas where those things are roaming around with those spine-tingling noises coming from their gaping mouths are just plain terrifying. Resident Evil 5 was a bit too sun-soaked to be truly unsettling, I“ll admit, but Resident Evil 6 did go back to having a more creepy tone, albeit not all the time.
Simply put, most people who complain about the series losing its scary nature do so for one simple reason: they grew up. Seriously, I got pretty scared back when I first played the originals, and now that I“m 22, playing them for the first time in about 10 years, they simply don“t scare me that much anymore. They still have their moments, sure, but they aren“t NEAR as frightening as people remember them being.
The Series Was NEVER About Zombies
Say NO to braaaaaaains
Contrary to popular belief, the Resident Evil series is NOT supposed to be about zombies. In fact, it never was. Ever since Resident Evil 4 took away the notion of the undead, fans have been complaining about the games not being true to the series“ roots because the enemies aren“t actually zombies. But what those guys don“t seem to understand is that the Resident Evil series is, and always was, about bio-engineered creatures being used as weapons, not the reanimated dead.
And when you look at the classic Resident Evil games, you can clearly see that zombies aren“t at all the only enemies in the game, and far from the most important. Throughout the first game, for instance, you fight several other monsters, such as giant spiders, a giant snake, and various artificial creatures such as Hunter, Chimera, and the primary adversary known as Tyrant. Really, zombies were just the result of a virus that transformed humans and animals into the undead. So in that sense, the creatures introduced later on, such as the J“avo, are no different.
The Series Hasn“t Changed, the Genre Has
It just hasn't been the same since they discontinued the Jill Sandwich...
Fans like to complain that the series has changed and so now it sucks. Guys, if the Resident Evil series kept on doing what it was doing before Resident Evil 4, it simply wouldn“t work very well. Why? Because traditional survival horror became less popular after the millennium as the console market drifted more toward Western-style action games, which means Resident Evil would have had a hard time retaining a large audience. Some franchises remained truer to the more traditional style after this point in time, such as Fatal Frame, but localization of that series ended at around the time Resident Evil 4 came out. The fact of the matter is people became tired of traditional survival horror, which is the whole reason why the genre transformed.
Not many other big franchises kept the classic survival horror aspects they once had. Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark - they all changed with the genre. There are games that still use many of these aspects, however, such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Slender: The Eight Pages, but these are independent titles. And the reason these games work well is because they don“t have to compete with AAA titles. The developers spend less and the consumers pay less (sometimes nothing at all), making these games work after traditional survival horror became less popular. Had these games cost $60, there“s a good chance the fan base would have been a bit smaller.
The main point I“m trying to make here is that this whole Classic Resident Evil vs. Modern Resident Evil debate is just plain stupid. People complain about how the games aren“t scary anymore; how the series is supposed to have zombies; and how the series isn“t even survival horror anymore. Well, I beg to differ. One thing I like to ask people when they bash the newer titles is, if these games weren“t Resident Evil games, would you still hate them?