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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Next 'Resident Evil' Needs to be Top-Down

While I may be thoroughly enjoying Resident Evil 6, I can't help but see its many flaws. One of the main ones being the camera, with controls following very closely.

This has been an issue for every Resident Evil however, and it doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon. So I asked myself what could be done to improve the formula. The ingredients are already there, they just need to be mixed differently.

Then there's a cut scene with a distant fixed camera and it hits me. Resident Evil needs to be a top-down, fixed camera shooter.

Before you go all crazy, hear me out. The third-person shooter genre is more or less monopolized by Uncharted and Gears of War. They are opposite games that use the camera and player movement as perfectly as possible. In Uncharted for example, the developers understand the limitations of third-person movement. Rather than throw you into a small hallway with hordes of enemies, they place them strategically, giving you ample time to hide and shoot. When you aren't fighting enemies you are treasure hunting, climbing, and solving puzzles.

The controls are rarely an issue because the action never gets too great for the game itself to handle.

In Gears of War it's high-action, big weapons, massive explosions, and non-stop movement. Add in the fact that it takes a ridiculous amount of hits to kill you and you have a control scheme that simply works.

Gears of War isn't trying to slow the game down and surprise you around every corner like Resident Evil does. The developers understand the mechanics of the heavy-hitting third-person shooter and use it to their advantage. Like Uncharted, the game understands what it is and focuses strongly on the mechanics surrounding that.

Third-person shooters work if you are either a slow-moving game like Uncharted, or a fast-action game like Gears of War.

Resident Evil doesn't seem to have an identity as of late. In the first three games the controls were the main reason you were so frightened. Capcom wants Resident Evil to be a third-person-action-shooter-thriller-horror game and it simply isn't working. The controls and overall movement of the game remind me an awful lot of the original Tomb Raider games - slow, heavy, and awkward.

That was of course until Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Suddenly we were able to play a Tomb Raider game that reacted quickly. A game that focused on what it was always meant to be - a treasure hunting, puzzle solving narrative. When there were enemies in your face the fixed camera allowed for quick, precise movements. Dark areas met you with heady anticipation, always fearful of the next trap or enemy encounter.

It was an incredible re-imagining of a series that had grown fairly dull.

This is the exact treatment that Resident Evil needs. Imagine being able to play Resident Evil 6 and never having to worry about camera issues or slow controls. Capcom could hire a team of developers that could focus solely on the story, making every turn as horrifying as it should be.

There would be no more awkward character movements or level design issues. The loudest complaints I am hearing about Resident Evil 6 involve the lackluster controls and terrible camera. A fixed camera, top-down shooter will fix both of those issues.

In my opinion it would be Resident Evil at its finest.
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