Have you ever seen something that lost its identity? That would be Resident Evil. From what was originally a horror franchise to an action one, each installment of the franchise has spurned it further and further away from its own foundation. One time this franchise would’ve made David Cronenberg blush. Now it gives Michael Bay a raging stiffie.
So where exactly did it go wrong? From the classic Resident Evil 4 to the godawful Umbrella Corps, what made Resident Evil deteriorate so much that it needed to be revived with a reboot and a remake?
Well when you take a much-beloved horror franchise and you decide that explosions are the best way to handle things, then you can take an educated guess when fans started to lose interest. I mean, yeah. Explosions have always been how most Resident Evil installments ended. But they’ve always kept that until the finale where the main villain eats a rocket to the face. It wasn’t always in your face. Turns out loud and obnoxious isn’t the best recipe for horror. Just ask Resident Evil 6.
The series’ downfall might have started with Resident Evil 5. With its forced AI partner, the fifth installment was anything but scary. To top it all off, whoever was writing the plot somehow thought it was a good idea to make your main villain a Matrix enthusiast. If one were to read the script without any idea of the game’s existence, they might think it was fan fiction made by a hyperactive 14-year-old.
Having a partner even in the form of an AI doesn’t exactly enhance the horror experience. Unfortunately, this was a tradition that would later be picked up by Resident Evil 6. In a quest to implement multiplayer, Capcom has basically forced the majority of its player base to have to play while babysitting a computer. Because in all honesty, I don’t think it was easy to find someone else to partner up with. And this is only the beginning of what screwed the whole franchise.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, out came Operation Raccoon City. Capcom knows how much its fans love multiplayer. So instead of having to play with a single partner, they added three others for you to play with. At this point, Resident Evil just became a generic shooter experience rather than anything resembling its past self. It was almost as if Resident Evil was trying hard to look cool rather than sticking to its horror roots.
And if you think that wasn’t bad enough, don’t even get me started about the cash grab that was Umbrella Corps. The sheer repetition of levels. The lackluster gameplay. The shoe-in story. There is nothing about this game that was good. Nobody was playing this game on day one. Nobody. I honestly thought that this was the final nail in Resident Evil’s coffin. One last final disrespect from Capcom before finally letting the franchise die in peace.
But just when I thought things were hopeless for the game, Resident Evil 7 came like a messiah to revive the franchise. Re-imagining its mechanics to fit a more first-person perspective, Resident Evil 7 was a clear attempt to steer the franchise back to its roots. And a much-appreciated attempt at that. Even though it bore almost no resemblance to the previous installments and its plot didn’t really add to anything for the franchise as a whole, Resident Evil 7 was still one of the best installments for the game as a whole.
So now that the franchise seems to be coming back from the dead, I am very much looking forward to the Resident Evil 2 Remake. Since Capcom provided us the review code during launch day and I’m playing it at the moment, I can say that this seems to be a promising game. I believe that this remake is just what Capcom needs to attract back its old fans as well as garnering new ones. Expect my review this week!