Thoughts on Resident Evil 7 and the Genre of Horror
Posted: Posted May 10th
Edited May 10th by Laxan
I've been playing Resident Evil 7 on PS4 with my best friend and we're about to reach the end, I believe. It's been an enjoyable time, but also frustrating. We can tell that Capcom is really trying to capture the essence of horror. It's miles of tension and scares above its predecessors, even against the almighty yet cartoon-like Resident Evil 4. And that's why it's a tad disappointing; an exercise in frustration.
Some glaring issues are the enemies. Many have been too much of a hassle to kill. When you do attempt to kill a plethora of enemies and end up dying repeatedly because you're running low on ammo or just cannot get a grasp on how to properly finish off an enemy due to their constant contorted movements of the body (not to mention apparent invincibility frames after taking a shot), it seems optimal to run. Unfortunately, many enemies seem to block your path forward and so cannot be bypassed by running. We have discovered that enemies will vanish and sometimes not reappear when you run back and then return a moment later. This, however, isn't scary enemy design. It is frustrating. That you can neither kill the enemies reasonably without dying or at least run away from them to continue forward is telling of their flawed designs. Dying repeatedly on boss battles is much the same in creating frustration rather than scares.
The redneck atmosphere just doesn't do it for me. Now, I'm sure the Japanese are frightened by low-intelligence over here in the States as much as the next educated fella. But for someone like myself who lives close enough to these white trash hicks to smell the unchanged diapers and beer accompanied by KFC, it just isn't a scary tone to go for. It kind of reminds me of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But it's not quite creepy or disturbed enough. This may be a personal nitpick, though.
The art direction seems lacking. I commend Capcom for taking a stab at true horror instead of cheap action thrills that RE had become known for, but something seems missing. It could be the first person perspective, but I'm not so sure. P.T. was amazing and probably the scariest thing I ever played while retaining a first person gameplay setting. Speaking of P.T....
I got to thinking about the state of horror games. Is this truly the highlight of the genre today? I've seen a lot of praised horror games released today, but none seem to come close to a sincerely terrifying experience. What happened to the incredible atmosphere of the days of Silent Hill? Why have developers failed to follow the standard set by Silent Hill 3, the greatest horror game ever made (from my playing experience), for great horror in video games?
I know I'm gushing over the Silent Hill games, but that franchise should be the blueprint for great psychological horror, which RE7 seems to be attempting to go for (or at least a cash in on P.T., the precursor to the cancelled Silent Hills game to be directed by Hideo Kojima....therefore most likely would have been the greatest horror game ever made). I mean, even save points are scarier in Silent Hill 3! You gotta make even save points filled with horrifying tension somehow!
Anyway, RE7 isn't an unpolished or even bad game. It just isn't hitting the psychological horror nerves that I crave and felt with SH, SH3 and P.T.
Perhaps my best friend and I will become successful enough in the gaming industry to create our own horror title someday....
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