Sunday, March 29, 2009

Regarding Resident Evil

I'm a Resident Evil fanboy. To most of you, this isn't a shock. I've been playing Resident Evil for more than a decade. I've purchased an entire system--the Gamecube--based only on the fact the Resident Evil was going to be "exclusive" to that system. Recently, I reserved my copy Resident Evil 5--not the generic $60 version but the $90 Collector's Edition. Friday afternoon, I walked into Gamestop and picked up that copy of Resident Evil 5. Sunday, I completed the story. And I ENJOYED it.

Don't get me wrong, it had its share of problems, my biggest one being how the ending played out, but it was still a great game. I'm already playing through it again, going after achievements and trying to unlock all the little things. And yet, I'm finding myself slightly unsatisfied.

For all of the new game's greatness, it leaves my wanting. Not wanting more. I guess I'd have to say it has me wanting LESS. Well, maybe not less, but something else. Something OLD. I love Resident Evil 4, I love Resident Evil 5, but I miss Resident Evil. I miss the horror. I miss tight confines, zombies, Umbrella, fixed cameras and limited ammo. A lot of people have said it--"Resident Evil isn't survival horror anymore; it's action."--and I've agreed. But RE4 and RE5 are great, regardless. And I don't fault them. They needed something fresh and they found a working concoction. Kudos to Capcom.

Still, over time, I realized that, although they're great, they're missing a lot of the things I loved about the series in the beginning. As much as back-tracking pissed me off in RE 1-whatever, I'd welcome it back with open arms; RE 5 was pretty much a linear game. Those fixed cameras may be archaic now, but they were fantastic for creating tension, never allowing you to see what may or may not be up ahead. The new games still contain a story, and the story is still damn good, but it almost takes a back seat to the in your face action elements. I liked the old days of one or two slow moving zombies in a hallway, lots of eerie sound effects (and silence), and taking the time to really appreciate the game's design and story.

Maybe it's just me, but after years of playing Resident Evil 1 and 2, I would hold fond memories of the environments in which those games take place. I can picture that mansion's layout like it's my own house. I know the nooks and crannies of the Raccoon Police Department like they're the ones signing my checks. But these new games? Yeah, the villages are cool. Sure, the castle in 4 is huge, or the compounds, or whatever. But they're linear. You move THROUGH them instead of lingering IN them. I can see them in my head, but I don't feel anything about them.

I know, to most of you reading this, I sound like an obsessive fanboy/borderline nutcase. Maybe so. But these games have entertained me for years. Actually, scratch that. These aren't just games. This is a world, nay, a universe. I've played the games, I've seen the movies, I've read the books, I've researched the background. Like Tolkien's Middle-Earth, I've invested so much of myself in the world Capcom created, its like a second (or third, after Middle-Earth) home to me.

I dunno. I'm rambling. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the new places Resident Evil has gone are fantastic. Yeah. The new games are. I'll play 'em, again and again. But still, to me, I enjoy 'em more as games, as an addendum to the universe instead of the as the universe itself. Does that make sense? Does any of it make sense? Maybe you just have to be in my mindset, be as passionate about this as I am. Maybe I'm just wrong. I dunno. Food for thought.

Regardless, if Capcom keeps making 'em, I'll keep playing 'em.

P.S. You know, I know what I need. Do to Resident Evil 2 what was done to the original Resident Evil. Spruce it up. I don't care if it's 3 or 4 or 5 hours. I don't care if there's no Mercenaries mini-games. I want a good, creepy story and a small, personal environment. Capcom, give me the RPD the way you gave me the Arklay Mansion the second time around.

No comments: