PandaSennin's Blog

Resident Evil VII: Yay or Nay?

November 01, 2016 @ 9:45 pm

Hello guys! My name is Panda and I wanna talk about Resident Evil VII and why I'm both excited yet skeptical about this ''reboot''.

Let's be honest here, Resident Evil IS in need of a much needed of a restart, just like it was at the time of Resident Evil 4. Now I know that some fans consider RE 4 to be the ''death'' of the series (which I disagree with as RE 5 to me was the actual downward spiral of the series) but at the time it was exactly what the series needed. A fresh perspective, new enemies and locations that had almost little do with what came before, a new story that had no tradition zombies or anything Umbrella related and gameplay that was more modern. And both fans and critics LOVED it.

Now RE 4 wasn't without it's problems though. It wasn't scary anymore, which to be fair the older games also weren't anymore except for the RE remake, Zero, Code Veronica and the Nemesis in RE 3 and it lacked challenging puzzles. These were things that a sequel could have solved easily. Even making you be able to shoot and run at the same time. But instead we got Resident Evil 5 and the less I talk about that game the happier I am.

But that's exactly the problem with this first ''reboot''. It went downhill after 4 (though I did hear good things about the Revelation games) so fast and so hard that the series became a joke again. So that's why Capcom choose to go in a new direction and pull another RE 4…but can they though? Without the original creator, Shinji Mikami, behind it? That's where it gets difficult.

RE 7 is going for a first person perspective, very reminiscent of both P.T. and Outlast. Now it's easy to say that it's ''ripping off'' those games but I prefer to use the term inspired. Plus according to the creators they had the idea of making RE 7 first person before those 2 other games. Whatever is true, I don't mind this change in perspective if the gameplay is the same as always and if the game is truly scary…and well… it's at least one of those things so far?

The game, from what I've been told and seen, is scary. Or at least scarier then RE 4 through 6 were. No, the biggest problem for me is that we haven't seen much traditional RE gameplay so far. Capcom is releasing these 1 minute videos where they show small bits of gameplay they haven't shown us before. They showed that you will be using a knife to open and break things, they showed herb mixing and even a small bit where you use a gun to shoot an enemy, confirming that you will be shooting things.

My question with that though is HOW MUCH will you be shooting things in the game? The only enemies they've shown so far are the Baker Family that's hunting throughout the mansion. I'm not saying they should go all RE 5 and 6 and become another third person shooter but unless they introduce other enemies like the B.O.W's we all know and love I don't think there will be a lot of shooting. That doesn't mean we won't be surviving in some other ways, just that combat will be even less of a focus then it was in the classic series.

While I don't mind the change I can't help but feel just a little bit sad as blowing off enemies' heads was always a fun thing to do. Combat in general was pretty fun if a little bit clunky in the old games. It made you feel like every bullet counted as you were fighting off zombies and mutants. But if this means the game will be even more intense then it's something I can live with.

I do wish they would show us some puzzle solving as that is the one remaining gameplay element I wanna see brought back.

Another thing we haven't seen much of, though this one is more understandable, is the story. We know that it takes place after RE 6 and that we play as Ethan, who's in search of his missing wife, which leads him to an old plantation mansion. How Silent Hill 2. There we will be hunted by the aforementioned Baker Family, who are obviously inspired by the crazy family from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Capcom did say that the game's story will be tied in to the major RE story but how is not clear yet.

All of this tells me that, just like with RE 4, Capcom wants to go back to basics, taking even more drastic measures then before to ensure that Resident Evil will once again be scary again. While the crazy and campy RE 5 and 6 have their fans, and I'm not gonna lie that I do want RE to remain a little campy as that is just part of what it is, it's a bold move on Capcom's side to not simply adapt the classic RE style but try something new while still trying to hold on to the elements that made the Resident Evil series into the beloved classic that is.

I just have one other request Capcom. Keep the Resident Evil 2 Remake the same as the Resident Evil 1 remake. Just update the graphics, tweak the gameplay and even throw in some new areas or enemies. That's all we want from that one. This way Capcom can try something new for the series yet at the same hold on to something that worked before and that the fans also still love very much, as indicated by the sales of the remastered versions of RE 1 and Zero.

And those are my closing thoughts on Resident Evil 7 and the direction the series is going. I'll be here again next week with my thoughts on the Nintendo Switch and what I want from Nintendo in the near future. Catch ya later


Why I Dislike Resident Evil 5 Even More Now

November 01, 2016 @ 9:43 pm

I think I've harped more then enough about my distaste for this game but since I'm currently replaying it for achievements I wanna get off my chest the things that bother me the most about this game (and probably a lot of nitpicks too). Be prepared to hear stuff that has been repeated A LOT since the game came out 7 years ago…jesus I'm old…

Evil-ution keeps things going

I'll always stick by that Resident Evil 4 was the evolution that this series desperately needed at that point. People had gotten sick of the tank controls, the pre-rendered backgrounds (though they changed this starting Code Veronica), the fixed camera angles and the limited inventory space. The Resident Evil Remake might have shown what a beautiful next-gen RE game might look like but it was still ''outdated''. People wanted something new and fresh and RE 4 delivered that. Sure the game wasn't scary like previous entries (though at this point only the REmake and Zero are still kinda scary) and it barely had any puzzles but both fans and critics liked the more fluent controls. You felt like you had full control of your character as you maneuvered through the 3D environments, dealing with new and slightly more intelligent enemies, aiming at specific body parts to make them flinch which gave you the opportunity to melee them. Instead of having 6 to 8 item slots you had a briefcase (which you could upgrade) in which to store all your items. You could change their position so that instead of throwing an item away you turned it 180 degrees to make it fit next to the other items. Perfect!

But as I mentioned earlier RE 4 dropped the horror (it was still a proper survival game), the puzzles and you couldn't aim and run at the same time but these were all things Resident Evil 5 could easily solve. RE 5 however didn't do that. EA's Dead Space did. It's kinda funny to think about but at the time Dead Space was the true successor of RE 4. It had puzzles, it had both horror and survival elements and you could aim and run at the same time. Yes it's enemies weren't smart but the game did use RE 4's mechanics of aiming at specific limbs to cut them off. You could tell that Dead Space was inspired by RE 4. RE 5 on the other hand seemed more inspired by games like Gears of War. It tried to emulate them (quite poorly) to entice the more action oriented crowd yet it also tried to stay true to it's horror roots and they clash so horribly in different ways.

To shoot or to scare?

For example, the game throws WAY more enemies at you then before (or at least it does feel that way) and while you do get enough ammo to deal with them, it misses the point of a survival horror game. Yes the odds are suppose to be stacked against you but if you give me enough ammo to fight the horde then it just feels like your average third person shooter. The game doesn't force you to think clever, to use your knife or surroundings that much to run away and pick them off one by one (save for the first chapter). It kills whatever dread is suppose to be there. Yet the game also wants to have it's more quite and atmospheric moments like previous games which don't work during the day time and because I'm usually efficiently supplied to deal with most threats. RE 4 did this just right. It gave you the ability take enemies out more efficiently and with just enough ammo but the threat of being overwhelmed was still there and the environments were dripping with tension.

This conflicting nature can also be seen in the controls. It sticks to the RE 4 controls and normally those would work fine, if a bit outdated, but because RE 5 requires you to play it more like an action game you feel like you don't have full control of your character (ironic I know). Especially because when it came to third person shooters Gears of War 1 and 2 had come who did it much better. Speaking of which, they introduced a cover mechanic similar to the one in GoW. Imagine, a RE game where you have to take cover from enemies. They even wield machine-guns! Yes RE 4 had a few enemies with rocket launchers and that reoccurring mini boss with a gatling gun in it's third act but those were rare. About half way through RE 5 those enemies become standard and it was the true jumping the shark moment. Even if with this ''betrayal'' I wouldn't have that much of a problem with it if the cover mechanic actually functioned like it's suppose to do. When you take cover you can't move, you can't get over obstacles and the camera doesn't work properly either. You're as stiff as a board and that's the last thing you wanna feel in a game like this.

And it just keeps piling up…

You know what also feels stiff? Your ''new'' inventory system. RE 5 dumps the briefcase and goes back to what the first 5 games had. Now while this is a major step back, the old system did work just fine…but the developers felt the need to change it up a bit so that you can only access your inventory in real time. Why? Probably to add some much needed tension but it comes across as a cheap way for enemies to hit you if you're not fast enough with selecting your item. You can assign 4 items to your d-pad for a quick select BUT you can't change those items in-game. Only before each mission or when you die can you change them. Who looked at this and thought that this was a good idea. It's annoying and could have been solved easily.

A part of me also wants to talk about the ridiculous story but I feel that it would be redundant since RE's story overall got more ridiculous, which added to the feeling that you were in a b-movie style horror game. However, while the escalation in the game makes sense (infecting the entire world with the new Uroboros virus to create super humans) it does take away from the horror aspect yet again. All the danger in the previous games was mostly confined to 1 city/mansion/village/island and while the risk of the danger spreading to a global scale was there it was done more nuanced. RE 5 with it's big set pieces and world wild danger feels more like an action movie that happens to have ''horror'' instead of the other way around. I don't know, maybe I'm talking out of my ass with this bit but the story just feels ''too big'' and ''out there'', even for a RE game and especially for a game that's suppose to scare me. The voice acting however is pretty solid. All the voice actors give a really good performance, especially the VA for Albert Wesker. He's just oozes confidence, arrogance and hammy-ness. If only the writing was a bit better but you could do much worse.

Never trust an A.I

And then…we come to Sheva Alomar. I actually really like Sheva as a character. She's a great addition to the roster of strong women this franchise has given us and she's another good representation for black people (which I say as a totally white person). But this is almost ruined by her A.I. which is incompetent but just functions enough that it isn't broken. I can't tell you the many moments where it takes her a few seconds before she realizes I'm in danger and she needs to save me or when she wastes ammo to kill a certain enemy when it would be more sufficient to switch to another weapon or use grenades. Oh and if you get so much as a scratch on you she will heal you instead of saving it when you really need it. It's the game's way of forcing you to play in co-op and while the co-op is pretty fun it detracts from the horror game that it's still trying to be.

Global Disappointment

Is there anything left to talk about? Well really nit picky stuff really the generic weapons (aside from a few ones like the triple-barrel shotgun) that still don't really carry any oomph, the same kind of enemies RE 4 had and barely any new and scary ones (minus the Reapers aka mutant cockroaches), lackluster bosses, the addition of turret sections which isn't confusing at all right?

And that is basically the formula of RE 5. Conflicting gameplay and lack of proper atmosphere plus a forced co-op and dumb A.I equals a disappointing and confused game. Resident Evil 6 might be the actual jumping the shark moment of the series in the eyes of both fans and critics but RE 5 is the guy who hired the tank with the shark in it, set up the ramps and convinced his dumb, dumb friend to jump over it.

Look I know I'm not a game developer and there I cannot know everything that goes behind making a game. It's not an easy job and thanks to the internet it's also become an unthankful one because to these people you're never doing anything right or one mistake/glitch means that you suck and that you're trying to screw gamers over. God we're a bunch of whiny children some times. But I'm not typing this piece thinking Capcom screwed me over. No, they just made a disappointing game that, to me, took this franchise in the wrong direction while backing up WHY I think and feel that way. I hold no grudge against them and in fact they made 2 new decent/good RE games later with Revelations 1 and 2, made HD versions of the REmake and RE Zero and are even gonna completely remake RE 2. Sure it's them banking on their past games but those games are good and are selling well. And maybe, once their faith and ours is restored in this franchise we get RE 7, a new RE game that will take this series back to it's roots because I know they can. It's easy being cynical but it's more fun being optimistic.