Resident Evil - Where'd the Horror Go?

Resident Evil 6

"Hell yeah," is what comes to mind of the Resident Evil 6 trailer.  What comes to my mind however is, "Is this even going to be scary?"  Frankly, I'm worried about Resident Evil 6.  Don't get me wrong, though.  Judging from the trailer, it looks sweet but I am skeptical about how much this game will give me a fright.  Why?  Because there was nothing frightening in Resident Evil 5; except for Mr. Chainsaw Man, he did make you watch yourself a bit.  I know they tried to make it the most epic, cinematic Resident Evil to date but there was nothing scary about it and that's something they shouldn't have forgotten.  When I remember Resident Evil 4, I remember how tense I felt the first time I played.  I don't remember anything like that in Resident Evil 5.

One of the reasons for this could be because you had a partner, Sheva.  No matter where I was, I felt fairly safe or out of danger because I had a computer-controlled partner watching over my back.  Truck back to Resident Evil 4 and your ass was left alone without any help.  Well, you weren't alone some of the time.  At a few points in the game you had to protect a character, Ashley, from time to time, and that little shit was a pain in everyone's side, and you had to deal with it.  Still, it's better to fear for someone rather than someone "babying" you every time your health is critical.

Besides having a partner ruin the fear factor, you never had any enemies to fear of either.  How are weak enemies scary, Capcom?  You could shoot a zombie in the knee and finish him with a haymaker to the face, and that's that.  I'd feel like nothing could hurt me and I would decide the fates of everything.  I never felt helpless at all.  Look at Dead Space for comparison.  Killing some of the enemies can be tough because even if you manage to shoot off an enemy's leg, they'll still try crawl after you.  

Mr. Chainsaw Man!

To capsulize it all my points, everything, from the enemies to the environments, is lacking any kind of eerie quality or scare.  If you want eerie or scary then a good example would be the Condemned series.  The developers literally scare their audience with mannequins.  I'm sorry, but if mannequins scare the audience more than virus-infected people, then something has definitely gone awry in the transition from RE4 to RE5.  

I'm not trying to say Resident Evil 5 sucks, or it's a bad game.  Instead, I'm trying to say that it is a fun game but it's lost the franchise's unique zombie-scares from the earlier Resident Evil games, and that's what's worrying me about Resident Evil 6.  Let me put it like this: playing Resident Evil 5 is like watching My Bloody Valentine in 3D.  The kills and 3D effects are impressive but it doesn't live up to being a scary horror movie, just a bloody one.  But, according to IGN, the developers say that Resident Evil 6 will have a good balance between action and horror.  We'll see about that.

Josh Kowbel's picture

I've never been one to be terrified of video games. There's nothing in the virtual world that could possibly harm me. For that same reason, I didn't find Resident Evil 4, Condemned, or either Dead Space game particularly scary, but I digress.

I feel like horror games have become a more niche genre nowadays. Not many people enjoy getting scared for fun, which perhaps impacts potential sales. I think Capcom is trying to capture the more action-oriented fans as well like those that buy every Call of Duty, Uncharted, and so on. 

You're not the only one hoping for a more tense experience in RE6 though. I love the foreboding atmosphere of the original Resident Evil games. In recent RE6 interviews, Chris's sections are reportedly more action driven while Leon's are much more horror-esque. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if having a co-op partner throughout the entire campaign will bring the scares Capcom intends to deliver.

John Tarr's picture

I haven't played more than a few minutes of RE4, but I did play RE1 and it is one of my favorite games of all time. I feel that developers have slowly been removing the 'survival' element from 'survival horror' games. The amount of enemies you faced in RE5 vs RE1 has got to be 1000 to 1, plus the weapons and ammo given to you in RE5 are so huge that you never feel desperate for supplies. Every single zombie (or zombie dog jumping through a window) in RE1 made you tense, and every single wasted bullet was stressful.

Did anybody else notice that Leon's finger placement on the trigger of his pistol at the beginning of the trailer was fucking terrible?

SevSeth's picture

@Boss:  The horror genre is a niche, yeah, but it's not as big of a niche as open-world or FPS games.  Maybe Capcom is trying to capture the action-oriented crowd since there are so many people playing first-person shooters.  Co-op will tone down the scare factor, guaranteed.


@John:  Exactly!  You lose that sense of "Oh shit, I need health!"  From what I remember, it took 11 shots with a pistol to kill a zombie dog, and I'd always lose more ammo than I'd want to.  And I can't tell if it's horrible but I can tell that it's definitely tell it's not the best or safest form.

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