The past few Resident Evil titles have certainly strayed away from what had made the series iconic. Rather than being focused on survival-horror, the series had strayed into being big-piece action titles. However, that seems to be changing with the latest entry in the series, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Instead of focusing on the action that had become a big part of the franchise, Resident Evil 7 seems to be going back to true survival-horror, and is looking to remind fans what was so appealing about the first few games in the series.
Now that we have had a chance to get a peek at Resident Evil 7 through a demo and a few trailers, below are a few things that we hope to see when the game releases in January.
A trend that seems to have appeared in modern horror games is the lack of combat. Many games cast the player as helpless, and do not let you defend yourself. This does not seem to be the case with Resident Evil 7, as one of the recent trailers shows the player’s character firing a gun. Ammo is also obtainable in the Twilight Version of the game’s demo. It is a good thing that the combat system is there. Hopefully Capcom will take the time to polish the gunplay, and not let it feel clunky and unresponsive.
Of course, Resident Evil 7 should not be filled with crazy and intense action (the past few titles did that too much). One of the more enjoyable things about older horror titles is that they gave you limited amounts of ammunition, and let you choose your battles. You had to be smart how on how you spent your bullets, and had to learn when to run. It would be great if Resident Evil 7 follows this approach, and if that combat feels awesome when you have to spend those bullets.
We have already met the Baker family. They seem dark, twisted, and highly psychotic. As they should. It would be great if all the enemies that are encountered in Resident Evil 7 follow these same guidelines.
In many of the great horror games, there are enemies that stick with you even after the game is done. They are enemies that you remember, and help define those games. Past Resident Evil titles have accomplished this with iconic monstrosities like the zombie hounds and Nemesis. Resident Evil 7 needs to pick up on that, and create enemies that players will remember after playing the game. Capcom seems to be off to a great start with the Baker family. Let’s see if they come through and give us more to be horrified by.
Many of those who have played past Resident Evil titles will remember Chris and Claire Redfield, Jill Valentine, and Leon Kennedy. More than just cover characters, they were memorable and enjoyable to play as. This is something that Resident Evil 7 needs to continue.
Hopefully Ethan, the game’s protagonist, will be more than a faceless character that nobody who plays the game will remember after. He needs to stand out, with players actually caring about his well being. The fact that he is an “everyman” can help differentiate him from past protagonists. The same goes for the Baker family. They need to be intimidating and sinister, and give me chills whenever they are in the room. It is easy to just throw characters to the wayside as we focus on gameplay, so hopefully Ethan and the Bakers will leave enough of an imprint to stick with us even after the credits roll.
A Great Soundtrack
One of the things that stands out the most in a game like Silent Hill is the music and sound. Audio should also be a big part of Resident Evil 7, and not be something that is passed over and forgettable.
The right audio will help define certain moments, and build the right mood. Silent Hill does this perfectly. There is calm and serene music playing when characters converse, matching the silent fog that surrounds them. Then, when players find themselves in the Otherworld, the music stops and, instead, disturbing sounds keep the player on edge. Resident Evil 7 needs to take a page from that book, and keep me on edge. Players should feel a number of emotions, including urgency and displeasure, which can be emphasized with the right soundtrack.
Overall, Capcom needs to surprise us. Resident Evil 7 already looks like a huge departure from past titles in the series, which means that the developer can do things that they have not been able to do before. This can apply to not only the gameplay, but the game’s plot as well.
It would be great to have a plot that twists in ways that the player never sees coming, and to have crazy multiple endings that warrant another playthrough. Capcom could also take a hint from Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, which threw surprises at the player constantly, never letting them put their guard down. These kinds of things get into the player’s head, and keeps them on edge, which a great horror game should be doing.
There are a lot of opportunities that can be taken advantage of here, so hopefully the attention to detail will be present. From the demo and the trailers that have been released, Capcom seems to be going in the right direction. Resident Evil 7 is still sometime away, and hopefully the demo and trailers will not be the best thing we see from the game when it releases in January.