Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Resident Evil's Change to First Persion - It's not as strange as you might think.

One of the biggest announcements last E3 was that Resident Evil 7 is on it's way, and that it would also support PlayStation VR. This is something that was somewhat of a shock to many of those watching, and it wasn't long before people took online to express their concern for the "brand new" first person style. Up until now Resident Evil has only either used fixed camera angles or a 3rd person action style camera, so it's really no surprise that people would be skeptical of the new change. From a first glance it's not the Resident Evil they know and love, but rather a game that's copying other first person titles on the market. Well, I'm here to tell you that that isn't true. Resident Evil is a game that can work in first person if done right, and that this actually isn't the first time a Resident Evil game could be played mostly in first person. In fact, one of the best Resident Evil games out there (at least in many's opinion) can be played almost entirely from a first person point of view, and it's easily some of the most fun I personally have had in the series.

So, first of all, what is it that actually makes RE7 different from the past? Yes, it is different from Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6, that's for sure, but these games were action games. They featured some dark creepy settings, they had a few jump scares, and we would often see disturbing monsters along the way, but that's about it. These games were not what Resident Evil was originally intended to be. Now don't get me wrong, each game is great in it's own way (yes, even 6 had it's moments), and they did tell some interesting stories, but they are not "classic" Resident Evil. Sure, it's easy to understand why fans of 4-6 would like 7 to follow in it's path, but it's also not that shocking that someone would want Resident Evil 7 to finally go back to the style seen in 1-3, 0, and Code Veronica as well. That's exactly why Resident Evil 7 is what it is. Although we haven't seen the full game, Capcom has confirmed quite a few things about it, and even the playable demo shines some light on things as well. Basically, Resident Evil 7 is a game where you will explore a single location (rather than going on a world adventure), you'll solve puzzles, gather resources, and slowly learn about what is going on around you by interacting with it's world. The game will in fact feature combat, but with limited ammo (as mentioned in an interview), and the story is set within the Resident Evil universe. So again, I go back to my question. What is it that actually makes RE7 different?

Now many might think that the first person camera is completely unfitting for Resident Evil, or that it's what makes the game different, but it's really not. As mentioned before, this actually isn't the first RE game to be in first person. Sure this is the first mainline game to take this approach, but the game that did it last might as well have been numbered as it is actually one of the most well received titles in the series in recent years. What game is this? It's none other than Resident Evil Revelations of course.

Resident Evil Revelations was originally a Nintendo 3DS exclusive, and it was the first Resident Evil to move back towards it's horror survival roots. Rather than being a pure action game like RE5, the game put our beloved Jill Valentine on a ship of horrors out in the middle of the ocean, and asked us to do whatever it took to survive it. Using a gameplay style similar to Resident Evil 4, players got to explore the ship, solve puzzles, collect resources, and fight off enemies with weapons they found and upgraded throughout their adventure. Sure there was also side chapters that were more action focused, but the main game itself was all about atmosphere, and surviving -- just as Resident Evil used to be. It almost flawlessly blended the 3rd person style of the action games with the gameplay classic fans had been craving, and it even made use of the brand new 3D effect and new circle pad pro add on (right analog stick) to help pull players deeper into the experience, and to fix the "tank control" issue many have been complaining about since the initial jump to full on 3rd person. Although this isn't the only thing the circle pad pro did. It also made it possible to play Revelations from a first person point of view, and the 3D effect only helped enhance that experience.

Even though those who played the console HD version of Revelations may not have noticed, the game actually had two aiming options. The first option was your standard Resident Evil 3rd person shooter style of camera. With this mode you would hold the aim button, your character would bring up his/her gun, and you would then be able to shoot or defend yourself in general. There was nothing special about this mode, and it's what we've come to expect form these 3rd person RE games; however, the second mode was not. Using the same default aiming mode as Resident Evil Mercenaries 3D on the 3DS, the original version of Revelations defaulted you to a first person aiming mode instead. With this mode, combine with the 3D effect, you really felt as if you were inside the Resident Evil world, and you were given complete control over where you could look -- often allowing you to see things you would otherwise miss from a 3rd person point of view. Mixed with the circle pad pro, players could then actually stay in the first person view for nearly the entire game, and move about the world as if it were meant to be explored this way. Although movement while aiming is a bit slower than when running in 3rd person, using the first person point of view could actually be used to your advantage in a lot of ways, and it was also a lot of fun. Rather than sprinting through the world moving from point A to B, the first person view allowed you to take your time, look at the finer details, and even spot incoming dangers that may have originally been too high or too low for you to see. Often there were times I'd just slowly walk down each corridor, always on edge because I never knew what would be around the next turn, and then when I would come to a new room or large open area I'd take the time to fully look around and see what that room had to offer. Of course thanks to the game's new scanning system to find items (which was also in first person) it was basically required that you looked under every table, and behind every door, but even once I found every item in a room I couldn't help but take the time to study the room itself. The game just felt like it was meant to be played this way, and I found myself enjoying it much more than I had ever imagined. Sadly, you would often have to switch out of this view to complete specific actions, but I never really minded -- especially since I loved the 3rd person style as well. Honestly the thought of this type of gameplay being the core focus of a Resident Evil never crossed my mind, but it was something I did really like.

So, what about Resident Evil 7? How is it any different? It's a new horror survival game, with a new cast of characters, set in a new location, and at a later date (taking place sometime after 6). While many may feel the first person point of view is changing the series to match that of some of the newer horror games out there, it really isn't. It's taking the game it has always been, and expanding on features we have already seen in the past... Or rather, you could say this is Capcom finally returning to it's roots, as Resident Evil 1 was originally going to be in first person as well.

Anyway, it's far too early to tell how the game will actually turn out, but if you're interested in seeing what a RE game is like from a first person point of view, then I'd recommend checking out Revelations. At the very least it'll give you somewhat of an idea of what to expect when 7 finally comes around.

No comments :