“Stop the presses!” That’s still a term, right? Well regardless of arcane idioms Resident Evil has got my attention. Now I know the series past couple of canonical entries have been more “Residential fracas” rather than Resident Evil and have been about as scary as a slightly inflated phone bill, but despite it’s deficiencies, it’s convoluted resources, dramatic contrivances and *sigh* dinosaurs I’ve remained an optimistic fan. The reveal of Resident Evil VII at E3–the VII rather cleverly assimilated into the title–seems to have recovered from its amnesia and remembered that it is in fact a horror franchise. The trailer featured all the dramatic clichés you’d could hope for; spooky house, dank illumination, random mannequins, a video tape that reveals the fate of a previous occupant, unwashed dishes and first person perspectives? Yeah, that? Resi 7 will be a first person shooter/survival. Though brief coverage is a predominantly gimmicky affair, certainly a pandering endorsement for the PlayStation’s rather dubious VR auxiliary (I’m sorry but I’m still not sold on that), the short clip does a good job of convincing us that it could be scary, presumably extolling the virtues of its predecessors. It even features the traditional and iconic animations of yore such as when objects are recovered. Hopefully doors too.
“Spooky room featured in Resident Evil 7 or a typical students room?”
Now there’s little to go on at this point but I’m hopeful that it will still feature genetic mutations and bacterial experimentations. Perhaps expand on existing laws and ideologies rather than utilising frankly overused characters such as Chris Redfield, whose intense volatility and overtly flamboyant masculinity were irritations rather than empathetic characteristics. Resident Evil 6 was such a poorly conceived miscellany of ideas anyway, one that just couldn’t quite settle into a coherent rhythm. It’s a horror, it’s an action game. It just kind shrugs at you like a drunken uncle as if to say “I have no idea what I’m doing!”. Resident Evil 5 may have lacked inspiration as well as a degree of creative restraint, I mean that final act was all a bit….huh? But it never felt boring. It’s biggest fault was relying on the utilities created in Resident Evil 4, varying the narrative and locations but not expanding on the game-play. Not that Capcom are the kind of studio to put craft above commerce! Hopefully Resident Evil VII has realised the futility of generous ammunition and applied a much more proportional means of distribution. With any luck Capcom can create a narrative totally separate from what we’ve seen before, with the same ambient tone of its heyday, considering its sequels and spin-off lacked the equanimity or tact to pull off scary effectively.
Even though you do detect the pungent stench of plagiarism with Resident Evil VII, with the atmospheric isolation of Outlast and Silent Hill a comparative influence on the tonality of the trailer. And it will probably rely on environmental anomalies such as creaking floorboards or flickering lights as much as mutated corpses to incite jump scares, which is still a cheap mechanism for initiating tension, this reveal if nothing else captures the essence of Resident Evil, even if it doesn’t quite emulate it.
Can Resident Evil regain its mojo? What has been you’re highlight of E3? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.