Staff Editorials

Where Have All the Zombies Gone
Posted: 04.10.2008 21:03 by Comments: 14
I find it incredibly hard to look at the current incarnations of the Resident Evil franchise and think them a part of the same series that defined survival-horror in the 1990s. It isn't that I dislike Resident Evil 4, or that I won't enjoy Resident Evil 5 when it comes out. I'm just hard-pressed to look at these games and see even the slightest trace of what the series once was. To some people this is great. It would be hard to ever argue that the tank controls that marred the series were in any way superior to the brilliant control scheme of Resident Evil 4. Nor would it be easy to discount the graphical leap the series took with its fourth iteration. Even so, a lot of potential was wasted in Resident Evil 4.


That Resident Evil 4 was different from the games that came before is evident from the second you take control of the game. The problem with the game is that it is too different from the chapters that preceded it. While Capcom's desire to reinvent the franchise can be understood, they did so in such a thorough manner that it resembles its predecessors in only a few barely noticeable ways. Removed were the zombies, the familiar locales and for the most part any recognizable characters. In honesty, Resident Evil 4 could have easily have been a new IP simply by changing a few names. It is more different than it is alike the other Resident Evil games, and not always in a good way.

While the game play is easily much better, RE4 completely ditches all the other elements the other games in the series did well. While the fear in RE4 tends to be more genuine than in earlier games, relying more on an overall situation, rather than the cheap scares that permeated the series prior, those scenes in which the player is actually made tense tend to be few and far between. Most of RE4 is spent in the thick of intense action, and feels more like a shooter than a survival horror game. Elements that perhaps should not have been taken out, such as limiting the player's ammunition, were removed. And while the novelty of having unexpected foes bursting through windows certainly got old over time, the button press sequences that permeated RE4 were hardly much better. For all the criticism games like God of War received for their use, I found those in Resident Evil 4 to be much more annoying.

The biggest and most frustrating changes for me when it came to the new direction of Resident Evil however were the thematic ones. One of the things I loved the most about the RE games was the way they centered around zombies. From the first time one appeared in RE1 they were a defining characteristic of the game. Resident Evil was once as synonymous with the undead as it was survival-horror, and honestly there didn't seem much reason for removing them. Furthermore, removing Umbrella as the main antagonists of Resident Evil 4 felt almost like Capcom spitting in the face of the games that came before it. Everything in the series thus far, had built up to finally confronting and bringing down the enigmatic corporation.


Before you've even played a moment of the game, RE4 informs you that the jobs already done and in the most boring fashion imaginable. Umbrella is brought down by falling stocks and government intervention; whoopty-freaking-doo. We do learn Umbrella is still around, but it isn't the same. The worst thing you can do in most any form of entertainment is leave the player with a feeling of anti-climax, and that is exactly what RE4 does. On some level, I can understand it; the scenarios for the Resident Evil games were becoming less than satisfactory with time. The constant presence of zombies was becoming harder to explain away; in Code Veronica I was left constantly wondering how Umbrella could be such a powerful corporation if its employees weren't so blatantly incompetent to be always accidentally exposing themselves to a deadly virus. Other elements, such as making Leon Kennedy into a practical super man, killed much of the mood for me.

The direction RE4 took was definitely different, but in some ways not better, and from the looks of things Resident Evil 5 looks like it will continue down that road. It's fine I suppose; Resident Evil 4 was a brilliant game, but it just didn't feel at all like a proper, or even refined entry into the series. It was a new game, parading itself as part of a popular series to help pad its success. As far as I'm concerned the franchise peaked in 1998 with the release of Resident Evil 2 and ended with Code Veronica. Any relations between that series and the Resident Evil of the present are an unfortunate matter of circumstance.
Game advertisements by <a href="http://www.game-advertising-online.com" target="_blank">Game Advertising Online</a> require iframes.

Comments

By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Oct 06, 2008
Wowerine
Things have gone even more hot with the last RE movie. And I think that this game is just about to rise up, and become even more popular. This game sure will find new fans... like me. I did play the first RE games, but they were to hard for me then, so I'm going to try again...

But this time i pick number 5!
By Stew (SI Member) on Oct 08, 2008
Stew
I know how you feel. Especially after playing the new games, the old RE games can take some getting used to. That said, they are still nice games, especially for their time and the series in its prime was really good. I would suggest -if you have the hardware- picking up the GC versions of RE1 and 2. Those are the best in the series. Code Veronica was good as well, but by then things had gotten pretty stale as far as I was concerned.
By Deeno0 (SI Member) on Oct 09, 2008
Deeno0
For those who like this type of game, you must buuy it because the characteristics of the zombies are done to the max, this used something familiar to RE4's game engine, the movies own as well, i think as a game, this could be the best survival horror game to ever hit the shelves.
The movie Extinction, i wonder, what'll happen to Umbrella now!
By exxodus (I just got here) on Oct 09, 2008
exxodus
I completly agree with this article. The game is heading in the wrong direction and its starting to become a complete downer to the game series.When i first played RE for the sony PS, it was the best game i played. It was soo hard and challenging that i couldnt stop playing it. Even thou it was pretty much impossible , the way it was created and the charactures it played , was soo grasping that it made you wanna play more and more.
When resident evil 2 was released , I couldn't believe how great the game was.The whole story line was awsome and all the other "side games" (like survivor) and the books filled in all the spots and made the story that much better.But when they released resident evil 4, it was quite the disappointment.
I have to tell you , i was quite exited when it first came out. I went to walmart and got it right away , thinking it was gonna be AWSOME but i was completely wrong..
first of all this is NOTHING like the other games except for Leon and ada... WOW it is a completly new storyline all together.The first mistake they made was not having zombies, but some mind controllong fossil from the dinosaurs.. umbrella is gone (dont know how that happened) and the game itself sucks big time. The first part , the village is great (even for no zombies) great environments and the play is awsome . To bad the button pushing is complete B.S. i played that part about 30 times just to see something and i could never do it without dieing at least once.
The village it great untill u get to the dam , the u gotta find the "Head burster".... WTF is that? i couldnt believe how rediculous that was, but the rest was ok. Then you find ASHLEY the most annoying part about this whole game. its about 1/3 escort B.S. thats completly stupid cause shes dies 2 hits from anything and she has no weapon , kinda like swimming with an anchor.then the CASTLE OMG how boring and stupid. Everyone head bursts into a creature and u have those guys with the claws that own you completly + escorty ashley = FUN ... not realy.
then we got the ISLAND OMFG the worst part of any resident evil game ever.this part sucks soo bad that i would rather jump on a knife then do this. also we cant forget the 15 TIMES,GOT KILLED BUY KRAUSER KNIFE BATTLE thats fun part too gotta love repeated FAIL. plus the game has a mearchant which makes the game kinda rediculous. ALTHOUGH he sells every gun he , for some reason has NO ammo wow funny too bad a rocket launcher 1 hits bosses , so not cool and you dont even have the storage chest.
OVERALL this game looks like it belongs in an arcade, on a machine that takes penneys( cause thats all that its worth) and it should move buy itself (not dissin unbrella chronicals cause it rocked). the game was a dissapointment and resident evil 5 is the same game only retextured with a diff , but more rediculous storyline. Plus we cant forget chris, who is now on steroids and is trying out for MR universe. He now has a new ability , punch the ground , sending a shock wave , killing everything around him HA .
this will be a rediculous game too , so dont forget , RESIDENT EVIL IS DEAD. The movies were a discrace too wow they sucked. I wouldnt even use them for toilet paper , as i would be scared of a massive RASH of epic perportion. the new CGI movie is comming out soon check it out . Well thats all for my Cussing
Peace and dont mind the spelling >:D
By Stew (SI Member) on Oct 09, 2008
Stew
Yeah, the quick time events in RE4 were by far the most annoying I've ever seen in a game. At least in God of War you can usually kill things without them and even then, you usually only lose a little heatlh rather than suffering an instant death.
By HELLKNIGHT13 (SI Elite) on Oct 18, 2008
HELLKNIGHT13
Why do they kill all the good games by trying to make some thing eles :( it is made in the city RC but now they try to make it some eles sorry but I liked it in the dark of the city not in the day time keep the game what it was or your going too kill the game For us that like the real game!!!!!
By HELLKNIGHT13 (SI Elite) on Oct 18, 2008
HELLKNIGHT13
I love playing survival horror game and Resident Evil is one that I love to play but this is not Resident Evil it is so far off what we come to love about Resident Evil .Call it some thing eles ya it has one of the stars players in big del and yes it has zombies but it just not how we like to play are horror game is it just me that see this or am I just to old school about the game there is so much more to this game to me then just killing zombies .Yes I know they want to take it to a new Lv but give it a new name don't call it Resident Evil .I liked it when I was locked in a big city and had to find thing to try to get out of there .now look where they put us give me a brack that is not how this game works for me at lest as I see it .Call it the laim just to kill zombies game now be case it is not the way the game that I love is made to look and fell like Resident Evil .Don't get me wrong I still want this game becase I like survival horror game but to me it is not going to be called Resident Evil hope it is at lest a good game and fun to play or hope some one can come up with one that will be the best Survival Horror Game we have ever played ;-)
By HELLKNIGHT13 (SI Elite) on Oct 18, 2008
HELLKNIGHT13
exxodus You said it the best I fully am with the rest of you on this one:(
By exxodus (I just got here) on Oct 19, 2008
exxodus
Well, its as if they are makeing NEW school RE games to suit a newer generation of people, but they are talking it all away. Alot of people i know love RE 4 but dont like the old ones, thats because they were hard and most of those people were not up to the challenge. Resident Evil was one of the hardest console games of that time , and even thou it was great, people just didnt want to put an effort at hand and play it. All those people just hated most of the series because it was too hard.
Now with the new gen console RE, its more or less like an arcade game and its very easy so people the people who didnt like it before like it now and most of the older generation people are not impressed with the way things are going.
Also ,people did not know what resident evil was until the movies came out. 80% of all oldschool RE fans i know think the movies are tastelesss and depict a fictional-fantasy like resident evil.when the 2nd move was released the game came out (RE4) and it sold well , but too knew game players who did not fully understand the true nature of resident evil. They saw it sold well and continued with the way they are making with RE5 , but this will be another antisipated dissapointment.
The best resident evil new release is umbrella chronicals , and all thou its like an arcade game, Its more of a RE then RE4 and possible RE5.the game sticks with the story line and it unfolds a new story not some rediculous new plots.I will bet that RE5 will be the same as RE4 which is good for some new school players , but the old schools players are the one's that are suffering with a class of game that no-longer stands in the catagory of survival horror.
By Talents360 (I just got here) on Oct 29, 2008
Talents360
The games are great. The movies ane great. I cant wate
By hunter612 (SI Core) on Oct 29, 2008
hunter612
Yep the games going the wrong way.
By nobuargaoda (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 06, 2008
nobuargaoda
Every games that include zombies are great games. Except Obscure, because i think that they are mutants.
The best thing about zombie's games are the blood gore and the zombies itself. Example, RE and it's sequel are good. Scary places, Bloodprints, last man surviving, bla bla bla... they're rocks. But, in the future games, Zombie games are not scary anymore. Modern zombie games concentrate on blood-splat when we shoot them. It's barbaric, not scary......
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Dec 06, 2008
herodotus
Personally I'd like to see a zombie survival game based on the events from the trilogy of "28 Days/Weeks/Months Later" (the latter is due for release next year). Good team-based zombie slaughter to be had by all.
By nobuargaoda (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 07, 2008
nobuargaoda
Yeah, herodotus. 28 D/W/M are good films. Kiss somebody and it'll infect the kissed one!
Do they make zombie's futuristic game? I'd love to see the game!