Reflecting on Resident Evil Franchise As a Survivor Horror Genre

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I don’t know what happened, but gradually over the few years, I begin to lose interest in Resident Evil franchise despite the fact,  I enjoy playing all of  the RE games, but I think I’m getting tired of playing them and I’m losing faith that it will ever return to its roots as a survivor horror genre.

It all started  with RE4, RE5 and RE6 on how the games are broken into chapters/campaigns. At the end of each chapter, I was given a”report card” on how well I did:  hit ratio, number of time killed, enemies routed etc. Because I am forced to acknowledge my performance, I spent more time focusing on how well I played and not so much about the survival aspect of the game.  This report card sort of destroyed the survivor horror experience  I had with RE1, RE2 and RE3.

I remember the earlier Resident Evil games were more story-driven and suspenseful. For example, in RE1, the characters are chased into the mansion. The mansion seems like a haven in the middle of the woods. They thought they are safe, but they are wrong. As they venture deeper into the mansion, they uncover its secret. Then with the realization that they might end up as zombies, they attempt to escape, knowing what they uncover is epidemic. To escape from something horrific is survivor horror.

I didn’t feel this way about RE4, RE5 and RE6.  There is too much action going on in these games which make it difficult for me to follow Resident Evil’s timeline. Both RE4 and RE5 are very similar, in terms of structure. The environment did not feel claustrophobic. It didn’t make me feel as if I need to escape since I am already out in the open. In RE4,  the appearance of the Merchant acknowledges that this is a shooting game. It allows me to tune up my weapons right before when there is a serious zombie action event.  RE5 is even worse, in terms of survivor horror,  Chris and Sheva are given handguns right after they walk pass the villagers.  The way how the handgun is given RE5 is not subtle compared to RE1, when Chris finds a handgun on the floor in the lobby and wonders where Jill and Wesker disappear to. Lastly, RE6 starts out dramatically with explosion. This is just a pure action-based game.

My argument is that the way how RE4 , RE5 and RE6 were introduced and narrated, made it less suspenseful, which in turn, made it less about survivor horror. So I can’t say whether I am too excited about RE7. RE games have always been cinematic but how well it is executed will determine whether it falls into the survivor horror category or not. I wish I could enjoy the demo, but sadly the first person-view  made me sick. I think I am going to wait for this one to go on sale instead of playing on launch day.

15 thoughts on “Reflecting on Resident Evil Franchise As a Survivor Horror Genre

  1. I agree that the more enclosed environments of the early games were as much a part of the experience as the charters and the enemies. Even RE3 managed to stick to the tight alleys and backstreets when roaming racoon city.

    I can’t comment on 5 or 6, but like you, some of the magic of the series was lost for me with the checkpoints and reports that were introduced in 4. I guess it’s not necessarily bad, just not the same type of game that I was originally so attracted to. Nice post as always! ☺️

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 This has been on my mind for awhile. I think one of your posts, you mentioned about how RE4 is so brown. That in fact made me giggle because when I was playing Evil Within, I felt that it was brownish green. I think atmosphere is very important in survivor horror games.

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  2. The last game i played was RE4 and i wasn’t too impressed with it.. When i played Devil May Cry i was fine with the ‘report card’ at the end but it felt kinda wrong in the RE franchise. I agree that the earlier games had a better survival feel.

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  3. I think I felt there were still some scary stuff in RE4 even though it was clear that it was the point at which the series turned into action. I still think the lab at the end and the regenerator enemies were really scary. But the series just got worse from there. RE6 in particular just went completely off the rails with the “bang-bang we’re in an action movie” stuff. Ugh, such a painful game, I have no idea what they were thinking.

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      1. You’re welcome ^-^

        Just curious, but do you share your posts on any other websites? I work over at Creators .Co (we’re part of Movie Pilot and Now Loading) and this is the sort of content that makes for an interesting read. If you were open to the idea of posting your work on our Creators site in addition to also having your blog/site here, I’d be more than happy to help you get started. My e-mail and more info can be found on my page. (o^.^)b

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      2. I created this blog for personal reasons. If people enjoy it, I am happy, if not, oh well 🙂 But Glad you enjoy it.

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  4. My series favourites are Resident Evil 1,2 and 4. You are right, something important to the series was clearly lost along the way. Especially with the fifth and sixth instalments.

    Despite this though I am cautiously optimistic for Resident Evil 7.

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  5. Yeah, RE7 also failed to capture my interest due to the first-person aspect. Like how RE4 seems like it changed to appeal to fans of the too popular war/action games of that time period, RE7 seems like it changed to appeal to fans of the “first-person, jump-scare” horror games that are trending now. I guess that bothers me because RE defined survival horror, and it seems like the definer is now just a follower. But in all fairness, I haven’t played it, and I keep hearing nothing but good things about it. I’m still skeptical, though. I’ll wait until it goes down in price (greatly) to give it a go.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂 Currently I tried not to pay attention to anything related to Resident Evil 7 because I still want to play but I will wait for the price to go down. I’m glad I’m not the only person who is bit turn off by the first person view. 🙂

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  6. Resident Evil 4 is my fave game from the series, but I will admit that five and six could have been better. The franchise has moved away from survival to shooter in recent times. Since writing this post have you checked out RE7? I hear it is more horror focused.

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    1. Resident Evil 4 is great! I didn’t think I’d like it when I first played it, but I had fun. No, I haven’t checked out RE7, although many people have said that it was good. Oh boy, I guess I have to put this on my list of games to play. My biggest concern is, I hope the game doesn’t make me sick. Oh well. I will play it anyway! 😀

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