One FPS we don’t want to see – Resident Evil 6?
In 1996 Capcom made a bold statement with the original Resident Evil, and in an era of Super Mario and Crash Bandicoot, the Japanese developer had gamers too scared to pick up their dual shocks.
The survival-horror classic created its unique visceral fear through confrontations in narrow corridors, tense pacing and a lack of noticeable ammunition; experiences embedded into our subconscious. To this day, I still have dark memories of seeing a typewriter at primary school and shaking with fear as I mistook it for a save-point
After all, who could forget their first encounter with the horrifying ceiling-bound lickers? Watching poor Richard get eaten by a giant snake? Or catching the peripheral vision of THAT dog through the window?
When Capcom promised to switch-up their winning formula with 2005’s Resident Evil 4, many feared for the worst. In a complete overhaul of the franchise, the game was now more action than horror and its superb over-the-shoulder viewpoint would go on to influence everything from Arkham Asylum to Gears of War.
However, despite the changes, Resident Evil 4 still worked because Capcom maintained the series’ chilling atmosphere. Chainsaw-gripping zombies, scary religious undertones and villains with a napoleon complex would go on to make the game, arguably, Capcom’s finest hour.
But in their attempts to not go stale, Capcom would push the series too far in the opposite direction with Resi 5. With its gimmicky partner mechanic, massive monsters and a generous amount of ammunition, the game overdosed on Gears of War and seemed to finally leave the survival-horror genre, it had helped shape, behind.
With this week’s news of Resident Evil 6’s release date being pushed forward to October 2 and a brand new trailer Michael Bay would be proud of, a sense of fear hit me and not the kind developed from those infamous door loading screens.
The game is bigger than ever before with three inter-linked campaigns, spawning the US to China, and zombies intelligent enough to fire guns. Yes, the classic slow Romero-zombies of the past are officially dead and undead C-Virus victims can now run, jump and aim a weapon. Oh dear.
Capcom have once again overhauled the control scheme, this time allowing players to run whilst shooting (a series first), and the introduction of Jake Muller – the son of Albert Wesker, and a complete rip-off of Prototype’s Alex Mercer – promises a campaign of “escape and action,” according to director, Eiichiro Sasaki.
Whilst the game pledges at least one survival-horror based campaign with returning series favourite Leon Kennedy, I can’t help but feel Resi 6 will officially kill off my hopes of a return to the corridor-based gameplay of the past.
Recent spin-off Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City attempted to Call of Dutify the franchise with its team of mercs, fast pace and clear FPS influences. But with an abundance of glitches and a faulty control scheme, the game sucked hard. In many ways it was a prototype of what to expect from Resident Evil 6 and the prognosis isn’t good. The awful DLC multiplayer of Resident Evil 5 was Capcom’s attempt to compete with online shooters and further proof they should stick to what they know best; survival horror.
As a company Capcom have become all too familiar for lazily re-releasing games (think: Dead Rising 2: Off The Record) and charging for DLC already locked onto discs. And in an era of big, brash and uncreative multi-million dollar shooters, Resident Evil 6 seems to be their way of grabbing a slice of an already over-saturated pie.
The Dead Space series is concrete proof there is still a market for pants-filling survival horror and if Resident Evil 6 is another step into the FPS direction, we can only hope Capcom will wake up and smell the coffee. Yes, that was an obscure reference.
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