[WARNING: EXTREME Resident Evil 6 spoilers ahead! This is your ONLY warning!]
Anything good can be made better. There is no such thing as perfect, and this is definitely true of video games, although Super Metroid comes awfully close, as far as I’m concerned. After having played Resident Evil 6 thoroughly, and enjoying it quite a bit, despite a lot of questionable design and plot decisions, I’ve thought a lot about what I want to see out of the next iteration, so I decided to put together a little list.
Capcom, don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of things I liked about Resident Evil 6, like FINALLY being able to move and fire at the same time, the melee system is sweet, and the music is probably my favorite soundtrack of the series. But feel free to take notes. Use as many of these ideas as you like, I don’t require anything in return, just make Resident Evil 7 an absolutely awesome game, that’s all I really want.
8. VULNERABLE CHARACTERS
Resident Evil 6 was going for some kind of record with how much damage it could do to its main characters without killing them off or even injuring them. Jake and Sherry kind of have an excuse, both being somewhat superhuman and all, and Chris and Piers are wearing full tactical gear, which I guess might explain how they survived everything without so much as breaking a bone.
But Leon and Helena are both ordinary humans wearing hardly any gear at all, and they spend most of their campaign getting slammed against things, falling long distances (once inside a bus), being near explosions, getting thrown onto cars – and nowhere does it say that the parts of Leon and Helena are being played by Wolverine and Super Girl.
It would be easier to identify with these characters – not to mention upping the fear factor – if we knew they could get hurt. Yes, I know they can die if I screw up. More than a few frustrating quick-time events have taught me this lesson. But the main characters all being damage-soaking superhumans with reinforced steel skeletons isn’t engaging or realistic, and I think Resident Evil could benefit from some breakable zombie fodder.
7. GIVE CHRIS A REST
Don’t get me wrong, I like Chris, I do. I even thought, briefly, that Resident Evil was about to tread previously unexplored territory; the psychological damage caused by extreme trauma and survivor’s guilt. Of course that got thrown out the window rather quickly, and I was extremely disappointed by Chris’ ending – after everything he’d been through, mentally speaking, he should be gibbering in an insane asylum. Lord knows I would’ve found it a lot more believable if he’d at least broken down and cried like a little girl while he sat in that sphere, bobbing on the ocean.
But the reason Capcom wouldn’t do that is the same reason Chris needs to take a vacation from Resident Evil games for a while – Chris Redfield is an over-the-top superhero. Since maybe even Code Veronica, Chris has been an unstoppable force in every Resident Evil game he’s in. Even the things that faze him don’t really faze him – car crashes, bullets, explosions, you name it. Like I said, Finn’s death, along with the rest of his team, led to him blacking it out and running away. When Piers sacrificed himself to save Chris, instead of getting crushed by survivor’s guilt all over again, Chris just shrugs it off. “Well, with a name like Piers, he pretty much had to be a douchebag anyway.”
6. NIX THE CO-OP
I enjoy playing co-op games with my friends, and I do enjoy playing Resident Evil 5 or 6 with my best friends, so it feels really weird to say this, but yeah, co-op play should either go entirely or be cut down.
The only moments in Resident Evil 6 where I felt fear were the stealth sections in the beginning of Ada’s campaign. I was alone and underpowered against an army of monsters. And being spotted meant instant death unless I somehow managed to get away.
Being alone is such a key component of fear that it seems like it would be impossible to reproduce in a co-operative game, but I can’t help but think it should be doable somehow. All the same, the primary focus of the game should be solo play if they actually want Resident Evil 7 to be scary – they clearly wanted 6 to be scary, judging by all the work they put into the first ten minutes of Leon’s campaign trying to set the mood.
5. A NEW ENEMY
Nothing against zombies, but they don’t seem to cut it anymore. Part of the appeal of Resident Evil 4, one of the main reasons it was genuinely frightening, was that the Ganados weren’t your typical zombies – they could talk, use weapons, and even dodge attacks. They could mutate in strange, freaky ways. And they had the capacity (thanks to increased console power) to attack in large swarms. It was very easy to feel overwhelmed in Resident Evil 4, and I frequently had no choice but to run away.
And then Resident Evil 5’s Majini were pretty much carbon copies of the Ganados, but I rarely had to run, thanks to a co-op partner. And Resident Evil 6’s J’avo are hardly anything to be feared at all.
So I figure it’s time for another reinvention. Just as we upgraded from zombies to Ganados, I think it’s time to upgrade to a new level of enemy. I don’t know how you’ll make them fiercer, so perhaps it’s time to take things in a different, more disconcerting direction. What if someone gets hold of the original T-virus and tweaks it so that its victims still become the living dead and hunger for flesh, but like Jill in Resident Evil 5, they are still aware and able to talk? They’d be completely unable to control their actions, attacking you while simultaneously crying, begging you for help or to put them out of their misery. That would freak the hell out of me.