An ode to survival horror part 2

Now it’s time to talk about Resident Evil, the series that can be credited with popularizing the survival horror genre, and making “survival horror” a household term. I will just be discussing the main series (the numbered games) in my analysis today.

Though the stories of the Resident Evil games are grim, they come nowhere near the twisted stories of the Silent Hill series. Instead, Resident Evil cashes in on the “dogs jumping through windows” type of horror. The presence of more startling aspects, such as zombies appear out from behind a door, made it unnecessary to have extremely in-depth storylines that require a lot from that player’s imagination.

The original RE game was released in 1996 for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Today, the game both appears and sounds laughingly awful. The graphics are extremely primitive, and the voice acting has got to be some of the worst in gaming history. The game is not that scary to play today, either, save for a few moments that make you jump. When played today, this game resembles less of a Resident Evil game than it does a House of the Dead game. The game follows STARS (Special Tactics and Rescue Squad) members Jill Valentine and Barry Burton as they explore a mansion infested with zombies and investigate the man responsible for creating the T virus, which turned the humans into zombies.

A remake was made of the original game for GameCube a few years later, and it was a complete makeover. The graphics, soundtrack, and even the voice acting were redone to meet amazing standards, and because of this remake, the original Resident Evil adventure is able to live in a world of next-gen consoles. The gameplay was even extended, making the adventure longer and better than before.

The action in the Resident Evil series is more pervasive than the Silent Hill series. There are far more enemies in the RE games. There is a lot more “running and gunning.” Though there are puzzles to be solved in all of the games, they tend to be more straight forward and less ridiculous than those of SH.

The controls in the first couple of games are pretty horrible and are often referred to as “tank-like.” Luckily this problem was rectified, but as I said in my SH discussion, this factor should not discourage anyone from giving the original games a chance. Just have a little patience.

Resident Evil 4 and 5, the two most recent entries in the main series, completely revamped the series. The games are amazing as action titles, but the series is starting to break away from its survival horror roots. But as long as there are enemies infected by a deadly virus to be “killed,” the games will still belong to the series in every way. Who knows what’s in store for the next game, after the in-depth, epic battle with series’ long-term villain Albert Wesker in Resident Evil 5. I’m sure there are still plenty of scenarios left for Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, Leon S. Kennedy, and possibly even other members of the STARS.

As far as recommending individual games, I can’t say that there’s a game in the numbered series that I wouldn’t recommend. RE 2 and 3 should be played if you want to experience the oldschool feel of the series. RE 4 and 5 should be played if you want to experience the new direction the series is moving in, and want more action with super strong protagonists. RE Zero is good to play if you want to learn some background story from before the STARS ever entered the Spencer Estate. I would recommend the true original game only if you want a good laugh, but I would highly recommend playing the remake of the original game for GameCube or for the Wii. The remake is definitely one that should not be missed by any gamer.

Now to say which series I prefer overall: Resident Evil. As much as I truly love the amazing stories and characters in the Silent Hill series, when it comes down to it, I want to have fun when I’m playing a game. All of the Resident Evil games in the numbered series are fun to play, and I don’t have to stop and mentally prepare myself for a few minutes before advancing around a dark corner. Though the character development is not as involved in the RE series, the characters are still loveable. Bottom line: when recommending one survival horror series to a friend, or any gamer interested, I’d suggest Resident Evil every time.

If you don’t believe me about just how impressive the remake of the original RE is, check out what IGN had to say about it.

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