The year is 1996, the birth year of a game that made modern horror what it is today. Resident Evil, in the beginning, was a new and fresh experience. It created survival horror; a genre meant to make a player feel weak, helpless, and all-around terrified. Since then we’ve seen many iterations over the years.
However, with a new Resident Evil on the horizon, I’m afraid for a different reason. I’m not afraid of what I will face in Resident Evil 6 but of how the game has changed.
This is similar to my feelings for Resident Evil 4 when it was first coming out.
No one was prepared for Capcom’s new take on the franchise with Resident Evil 4. It was fast-paced, exciting and unexpected. It had an all new combat system that kept players on their toes. That particular combat system is now known as over the shoulder view, a popular system that third-person shooters follow in the current age of gaming.
When I first played Resident Evil 4, everything that I knew about Resident Evil was tossed out the window. The game was no longer survival horror but now action horror. Capcom reinvented the series and the genre once more.
Resident Evil 4 was like a major leap forward and could be considered the first game of the next generation during its launch. However, Resident Evil 5 was more or less several steps backwards. While the game was praised for its graphics and cooperative play, Resident Evil 5 felt too familiar.
Capcom again had a chance to change the way horror is done but missed the opportunity. Capcom’s new African location could have used interesting elements of light and darkness. I honestly wanted less horde-style fights within the village environments. I think that cat-and-mouse variations could have been employed to better effect. This style could have given the players a chance to learn the environment, ultimately offering more exploration opportunities.
Instead, what was done was nearly a copy of the previous game. Resident Evil 5 was a slight change but only with cooperative play. The story was somewhat different but it just allowed Capcom to use the same enemy type as in Resident Evil 4, not to mention the story wasn’t cohesive at all with Resident Evil as a series. The same comment could be said about Resident Evil 4, however that story showed what had become of Leon after the events of Raccoon City. Resident Evil 5, on the other hand, was meant to be more of a conclusion to events tied around Wesker, the primary antagonist of the Resident Evil series. This is what makes me fearful for the future of the series.
Capcom, on the whole, seems to have learned its lesson but some gameplay elements seem the same. Anything I say may be pure speculation since the game has yet to launch, but it is something of concern.
Resident Evil is a series that has been around for a long time. People that haven’t even played a single game still respect what the series has done for gaming as a whole. I’m trying to be optimistic for the next iteration of the series but I can’t help being fearful of any major changes. Capcom seems to be moving in a more action-oriented direction, yet is still focused on keeping the series in the realm of horror. My only hope is that no matter what Capcom chooses to do with Resident Evil 6, the franchise continues to grow because of it.