I must admit I was quite surprised at Sony’s press conference at E3 this year. The announcement of a new God of War, a remaster of Crash Bandicoot, and we finally got a release date for The Last Guardian. But what I was most shocked to see was the announcement of the seventh Resident Evil game.
My first assumption on seeing the trailer was that it was going to be completely in VR. So along with the game itself, you would need to pay an extra 400 dollars to play it. Thankfully, after some interviews with the developers, that turned out not to be the case. While it is compatible with VR, its not needed. However, it does take place entirely in first person perspective, which I feel both optimistic and worried about at the same time.
First off: the good. From the trailer and the demo, the game looks gorgeous. The lighting seems to set a wonderfully creepy vibe that I’ve missed in the recent Resident Evil games. The small location is ripped straight out of a nightmare with rotting carcasses, decaying walls, moving mannequins, and notes that seem to be moving on their own.
The small setting itself is also a positive for me. Resident Evil 6 was a world-sprawling narrative going from America, to Europe, and then to China. That’s good for an adventure game, but it doesn’t let you soak in the world around you as much. You’re too busy jumping from one set-piece to another to savor it. The feeling of restriction and confinement only heightens the dark and horrific atmosphere that you feel enthralled in within the demo for 7.
But now we come to the bad. I love the atmosphere that can already be seen and the world that’s presented, but it doesn’t seem like Resident Evil to me. Or at least, not yet. There has been no mention so far of the T-Virus, Umbrella, the BSA, The Raccoon City Incident, or even the word infected. From the demo its hard to tell, but there seems to be no zombies in sight.
The backwards cabin with a killer in it can be very scary. But that’s not Resident Evil. To me, Resident Evil is being caught in a world that is constantly trying to kill you. You need to make sure you have supplies and are always ready. Being alone with an army of walking, biting, and voracious zombies is what is at the core of what makes these games so great. Maybe the killer is infected with a new kind of virus, maybe not, but so far there’s very little evidence to support that.
Its great to see that Capcom is listening to the fans and going back to horror for Resident Evil. But only time will tell if this is a new beginning, or a failed experiment.