A Magnificent Comeback
Here at Samurai Gamers, we’ve been excited to play Resident Evil 7 ever since our first crawl through Beginning Hour, RE7’s playable teaser. I will say that we needed an change of pantaloons after playing the demo. After beating the demo, like a horde of hungry zombies, we dug into the promotional materials, eagerly awaiting RE7’s 2017 arrival. We settled on the trailers and videos. The promotional materials gave us an idea of what we will face in the next Resident Evil game. They are terrifying. With that in mind, here are seven things we cannot wait to see in the next installment of Resident Evil.
1. The Reign of the “Isolated View” system
A stark contrast compared to its predecessors, Resident Evil 7 offers a first-person experience, akin to the Gun Survivor series. This system is called aptly called Isolated View. While not new to the whole franchise, this is new for the numbered series. This represents an aesthetic far cry from the series’ roots, given that the third person perspective dominated most Resident Evil titles.
While this may concern some, we’re very excited for many, many reasons. First, let’s be honest. The old Resident Evil gameplay (tank controls, limited aiming) does not belong in the 2010s. It does work for remakes and remasters of old REs like REmake and the future remake of 2, but it’s a 20-year old system. The series needs to progress, and with that, the gameplay. Capcom added the first-person perspective to deal with this conundrum, following a long line of horror giants like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Outlast, and classic games like Penumbra: Overture.
(Yes, RE7 still isn’t an Outlast 2 clone in spite of all that.)
2. Item Management Returns
I loved the Resident Evil games because they keep you on the edge. For example, the first Resident Evil games provided you with a limited item system. Even Silent Hill provided a “hammerspace” inventory system. You didn’t have to worry about your inventory getting full! Most Resident Evil games, on the other hand, gave the players a more challenging time. The older games forced you to backtrack through areas to take certain items you purposefully left behind, since you could only carry so much.
I think the best of RE7’s predecessors in terms of inventory had to be 4 (oddly enough). RE4’s system was very, very good. It provided you a whole attache case to manage. It was an obsessive-compulsive’s delight! You needed to maximize your inventory space so healing items could fit alongside your guns and ammunition.
RE7 provides us a minimalistic-but-innovative take on the inventory system. Having played Beginning Hour, we know how the system would work in the upcoming installment. Gone is the need to constantly pause the damned game. Instead, you can arrange your inventory in real-time, assigning vital items like weapons and healing materials to hotkeys. Items are used in real-time as well.
Apart from the inventory system, item boxes are coming back! I’m not sure how they’re going to be implemented. Will they hearken back to the old games, where your items carried over from one box to another? We don’t have much information for now. Nevertheless, we are very, very excited. Item boxes are coming back. We haven’t seen those since Resident Evil: Code Veronica!
3. Classic Survival Horror Combat
Another staple of Resident Evil is combat. Even in the scariest games, REmake and 2, you will mow down a handful of zombies by the end of the game. The older RE games provided you a small amount of ammo, just enough to get through the game’s assortment of creatures. You’d have to pick your battles wisely, lest you run out of ammo.
Resident Evil: Remake is a fine example of this trope. I had to carefully decide which enemy to neutralize. That was not the end of the struggle: I needed to burn the zombie bodies so they wouldn’t come back as crimson heads! If I spent my ammo wisely, I would have at least 250 bullets in my inventory by the end of the game. However, fuel was not my luxury. I needed to choose my battles wisely. Every dead and unburnt zombie rose again, faster and stronger as crimson heads. This created a lot of tension.
Invulnerable “pursuer”-type enemies further tightened this tension. These aberrations stalked the player throughout the game. The best examples for this trope are Mr. X and Nemesis, two tyrants who hunted down their targets at the behest of the malevolent Umbrella Corporation.
Given the content in the trailers and the demo, we know that Resident Evil 7 will provide some combat. While a far cry to the latest games, RE6, and Umbrella Corps, RE7 brings back the spirit of the original Resident Evil combat: that is, a combat that discourages you to fight in lieu of running away to save up on ammunition. Ammunition will be scarce and guns will be underpowered. We hope to see most of our time running away from our pursuers, freaking out and panicking and looking for a place to hide as we count our bullets.
4. Oppressive and Dreadful Atmosphere
One of the things I enjoyed the most about Resident Evil: Remake was the horribly oppressive atmosphere. This atmosphere was enough to fill me with dread that apart from walkthroughs, I couldn’t get through the game. Thanks to gamefaqs, I was able to finish the game. (Yes, I did beat REmake. More than once.) There was something about a spooky, decrepit mansion and its undead inhabitants that set me on the edge. They built such a terrifying atmosphere with footsteps, moans, and ambiance. While not as psychological as Silent Hill, the atmosphere of REmake gladly equaled the best Silent Hill installment in terms of dread.
RE7 continues this terrifying atmosphere. Even the demo almost made me pause and stop playing, out of fear of confronting the thing in the basement. It didn’t help that the monster could take most of your ammo. Other than that, the developers synthesized an atmosphere that didn’t require ambient music to creep you out. The raw background noise of a dilapidated house is enough for me. I felt as if there really was something wandering around through the old. dilapidated house. We could hear another person’s footsteps. Apart from the thing in the basement, we knew there was someone else with us.
Now imagine hours upon hours of that–wandering through seemingly empty rooms, never knowing what you’ll encounter through each hallway. With the advent of better sound design, it only takes a few cues to cause a shiver down your spine.
5. Grotesque Creatures
In a good Resident Evil game, even the lowest-ranking enemies will cause you to worry and dread. The thought of encountering them should come to your mind as you open and close doors. This is what makes REmake a harrowing experience: its gameplay is so good that you’d dread even the basest creature in first’s games roster, knowing that each bullet that doesn’t down these freaks would mean your untimely demise later on.
We’re looking forward to engaging terrifying monsters in Resident Evil 7. The gameplay demo introduced a horrible monster in the molded–a strange, humanoid, mass of gunk that infects you with a strange corruption should it inflict damage. The molded can be fought off, though. Much like your traditional zombie, the only way you can destroy it permanently is by “destroy[ing] the central nervous system–aim for the head,” as Capcom put it.
6. The Bakers
A big majority of Resident Evil games hurl pursuer-enemies at you. These foes relentlessly chase you throughout every area, never stopping until you’ve neutralized them–or they’ve killed you. Most of the horror (apart from the occasional jump-scare) comes from these creatures relentlessly coming after you. Series icons like Mr. X, Nemesis, and the Ustanak in RE6 come after the player-characters with unrelenting force.
Resident Evil 7 features the Baker family. Jack, Marguerite, and Lucas Baker are part of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque coven, possessing regenerative capabilities. Jack, who’s probably at the forefront of this horrifying spectacle, is a menacing subject that I’ve talked about in previous articles. Harnessing strength, resilience and nigh-invulnerability, you could compare it to a tyrant. From what we’ve seen, Jack Baker is a formidable foe and the source of many, many nightmares for every player visiting the Dulvey plantation.
I can’t wait to face Jack himself. Personally, I want to see what happens to Jack when he does mutate. After all, this is a Resident Evil game, and most games pit the player against mutating antagonists.
7. A Return to the Spirit of Survival Horror
Finally, we can’t wait to see a triumphant comeback of RE-flavored Survival Horror. Most games nowadays give you a flashlight and nothing else to scare the pants off of you, but Resident Evil induced fear even in empowerment.
Even in the scariest games if the franchise, you would leave a handful of rotting bodies in your wake. The horror comes from the lack of combat (looking at you, Amnesia and Outlast), but rather, from ghastly foes that wouldn’t go down from a hail of bullets. It’s the idea of giving you some source of empowerment, only to slowly de-empower you with each gunshot. I agree with this video: one of the most terrifying things about the first Resident Evil is that everything is so limited. Despite the ammunition given you, you still can’t fully destroy everything the game can throw at you.
Now, a RE-style survival horror game isn’t always a zombie-fest. Leave that to mercenaries modes and the later installments. Resident Evil also features brain-wracking puzzles to either elate or utterly frustrate your mind.
We’ll see this perfected by what we’ve seen in the promotional materials. While it’s possible to engage in combat against most of the creatures lurking in the Dulvey Haunted house, it’s best if you saved your ammunition for special encounters. Each moment you stay in the plantation is rife with terror, as you attempt to hide from place to place while the Bakers try to find you and welcome you into their family.
We can’t wait to finally face the horrors in the Dulvey plantation, braving through the mysterious occurrences located therein. Hopefully we can survive to the end, however unlikely.
Survival Horror Returns
Resident Evil 7: biohazard is coming to shelves this January 24, and we can’t wait to rediscover the spirit of the old games in the new. Here’s hoping we’ll be raving about it as much after we start playing as we do right now. Judging from the promotional material, I don’t think we’ll have an unsatisfying time.