So, we’re finally here – the start of the new year and one of the biggest releases is already just around the corner. But with Resident Evil 7 just a few short weeks away, a look back past the cryptic messages that have been sent our way via the internet, and of course the incredibly tense and fear mongering beginning hour demo, shows that a lot of the game’s secrets are still under wraps.
We may not have much to go on about what we can definitely expect from Capcom’s best-selling series this time around, but here’s some of the things we want to see from Resident Evil 7 biohazard.
Seems like a bit of an obvious one doesn’t it, expecting horror from a series known for once being the home of horror. But whilst early entries in the long-standing franchise certainly had all the elements to bring a good scare to their players, later entries such as the more recent Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6 took away the fear factor initially held by introducing over-powered weapons, bizarre looking creatures and enough QTEs to make even Telltale Games weep. And that’s failing to mention enough explosive set pieces to compete with a Michael Bay production.
Whilst this hasn’t provided us with a complete disaster, it didn’t take long for fans to voice their concern at the series’ new direction. If the Beginning Hour demo is anything to go by though, then it seems the horror is certainly set to make a return. With many of the series hardcore fans to earn the trust of once more, Capcom will need to ensure the scares go on longer than the hour demo and well into the night.
Enemies can be the make or break of a horror game. They can either be on par with your worst nightmares and ensure several restless nights, or they can be over the top and stupid. It’s easy to cover enemies in extra mutated limbs, pulsing veins and giving them a 50ft size increase, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be scary, and if we’re not scared, chances are we won’t be as engaged in what’s going on as we should be.
Resident Evil is certainly known for its wide enemy variety throughout the series, but recent iterations have introduced a vast number of new viruses and mutagens throughout the world, as each one has created something much larger and much more unbelievable than the last.
As we said before, it was the earliest games in the series that earnt Resident Evil its reputation. This was a time when simple zombies were making us jump out of our seat, but times have certainly moved on since. Zombies are now as equally dull as giant 50ft monsters due to their oversaturation in the gaming industry, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have simple enemies once more. See, as long as they come with their own horrific twist, then all is good. It seems Capcom have taken this into consideration too with Resident Evil 7’s main villains – the Baker family – seemingly nothing more than cannibalistic human beings.
The simplicity will inevitably lead to disappointment from some, but the veterans of the series will agree that this is the best way to reintroduce all the right things back to Resident Evil, as well as delivering plenty of scares for newcomers.
Good enemies and a decent scare will normally be enough when it comes to a horror title, but those who spend enough time with each of the yearly fright fests will surely tell you that too much of the same thing can become old all too quickly. After all, if you know what to expect, then what’s there to be scared of right?
One way to keep things fresh is with puzzles. I don’t mean simple puzzles that you can do with your eyes closed – I mean the mind benders, the ones that require you to grab a pen and paper and really do some thinking if you’re to find out just how to get through that door, past that enemy, or my personal favourite, how to escape.
Whilst we may have the internet to provide players with a way to access the answers with no real effort, there are still many of us gamers out there that relish a good challenge and long for the return of puzzles in the truest sense of the word.
Atmosphere is a hard thing to want when every game produces its own atmosphere naturally anyway. A horror game though isn’t your usual action adventure title, and even with all of the previously mentioned things included an atmosphere is still needed to make it work. In the demo we were dumped into the miserable, and haunting country home of the Bakers; flies were present, blood and guts were present, and, in the end, enemies were present. The most important part however, was the silence – the horrifying quietness of a seemingly abandoned building, with its own sense of dread and fear that just crept out of the walls and under each of the creaking floorboards.
Of course, this was helped in no small part by the location, by the feeling given to us of being stranded in the middle of nowhere in the centre of a horrible nightmarish environment, and this is what Resident Evil 7 needs more than anything. The right atmosphere can set the tone for not just an entire game, but an entire series if it’s done properly – just look at Dead Space.
So what do we want Capcom? Yep, you got it. The scariest environment you have ever built.
Story. A Damn Good Story
I’m a big sucker for story games. Anything with a plot, and a couple of twists here and there, can keep me occupied for several hours no problem. Horror is, after all, born from the story it tells.
Sure, the massacred cattle inside the Baker family home left us with a creepy vibe during the demo, but it is finding out why it’s there that produces the start of the horror. Whilst that may not be the best example out there, the fear in these games comes from why the horrific goings-on are happening. In this case, it is all about how you will escape.
Resident Evil hasn’t ever been one for a simplistic story anyway, with multiple storylines intertwining years down the line with later releases, but predicting what’s to happen isn’t always so hard. For Resident Evil 7 to really shine, it’s going to need a strong story, with lovable protagonists and plenty of twists to keep us wanting more. Please get it right Capcom.
All of the above are what we want from Capcom’s biggest I.P. when Resident Evil 7 biohazard drops on January 24th. Do you agree with our choices, or is there something missing from the Resident Evil franchise that you think demands a rightful return? Let us know in the comments below.