All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

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Mechner
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Re: 307: Resident Evil 2 (Biohazard 2)

Post by Mechner » January 30th, 2018, 8:14 pm

Rather than give a play by play into why I think Resident Evil 2 is one of the best in the series and all the reason I love it and Leon S Kennedy, I’d rather regale the strange and intricate 3 part history I’ve had with “one” copy of this game.

before I begin…. that “game.com” version is utterly bizzare

Part 1

Resi 2 is the first of the series I ever saw or heard about, and one of my earliest memories of “zombies”. At the time I was a PC only gamer as I had yet to receive my PSone which wouldn’t make its way into my life till Christmas 00’.

Though as luck would have it, A friend of mine had two older brothers and a PSX. On one of the many evenings I stayed over at his house, we were deeply entrenched in Fighting Force it was late Autumn, late evening and the sun had long set. As we obliviously beat up polygonal street thugs, the two of his older brothers suddenly came bursting in to kick us off the PSX, touting a brand new copy of Resident Evil 2, I caught a glimpse of its harrowing PAL black box art, with a frighting outline of a face whose gritty features were hard to make out, but it held me enthralled in its empty dark stare. I vaguely remember hearing my friends mother shout from the next room, something like “don’t let the boys play that” (referring to us being too young: we were 7 and 8 years old respectivley)

My interest was piqued but I was unaware of what I was about to witness. The two brothers made no attempt to make us leave the room, and I remember the older of the two saying “Are you sure you want to stay?”... We stayed. The Leon disc was popped into the tray and the power button was hit. Cue the familiar Sony boot sound and shortly after the title screen showed and once the new game was selected, I witnessed my first experience (and not the last) of the announcer saying “Resident Evil 2” I was beginning to feel worried, the opening cutscene began, the grim narrator retreading the story of Resi 1 over those sepia toned images. I don’t know what it is, but that guys monotone delievery of the voiceover, never fails to instill fear into my mind, he sounds like he is almost happy it all happened, his hollow bleak voice rings in my ears as I type this “A bizarre incident occurred in the outskirts of an American suburb called Racoon city”. I could feel the fear rising as I sat and watched this cutscene, images burning into my minds eye forever. Leon S Kennedy heads into the city in his Jeep, he comes across a person lying in the road presumably dead, getting out to investigate, he wonders what could have done such a thing to the mangled corpse, apon hearing empty moans behind him, Leon turns around to zombies baring down on his position, we were shocked into place, but inside we were screaming, until the body on the floor grabbed Leons foot.. Myself and my Friend leaped up and ran screaming out of the room in terror.

I had never witnessed anything so unbelievably terrifying, it haunted my dreams for weeks on end. It effected my mind so much that I even began conjuring up nightmares of what a hypothetical first game in the series would look like. Any time after that, when I came to my friends house, that cover would gaze at me, filling me with dread.

Awhile after the first incident we decided to brave the game on our own one day, this time during the broad daylight, for what good it would do. We put it on and this time skipped all the cutscenes, suddenly though we were trust into the game, fires blazing, and Leon standing defenseless as a hoard of zombies clambered towards him I was handed the controller as my friend bolted out of the room too frightened to play, my heart was pounding, I tried move Leon in absolute terror but at the time I didn’t understand the tank controls. I was soon over run by the hoard and as the dual shock shook in my hands I soon dropped it and ran out of the room to join my friend, leaving Leon to his fate. Similar things like this happened as time went on, I recall one time myself and my friend were watching the older brothers play the game from outside the bedroom window as we were too terrified to even be in the same room as the game whilst in play. I also recall picking up a copy of the game in Tesco to look at the back of the box one day whilst out shopping with my parents, of course I’d never be allowed buy it, but everytime it was seen or mentioned I couldnt help but be drawn to it. All of this built up in me to leave a lasting impression on my young mind, somehow I still wanted to play this curiously terrifying experience and find out what happened to Leon and Claire..

Part 2

Years passed and I would from time to time think about the game, the horror it had made me feel, and I still went to my friends house every so often, at this stage we were late into the PS2 lifecycle, and as with most things when your a kid, your old toys get thrown aside.

One day as we were out in one of the sheds looking at a new bike of his. I spotted, crushed under a huge pile of junk, a number of his PS1 games from his old collection. They were in very poor condition and most of the boxes, manuals and inlays were badly water damaged, but that unmistakable face gazed at me from the depts of the pile, albeit due to the water damage somehow looked even more hideous. I asked my friend why his PS1 games were being left out here to a sad fate, part of me wanted to claim them and give them all a safe home. He simply replied “storage”.

I asked would I be able to borrow some, he replied “you can, but not my brothers games”. A shot of sadness came over me as I picked through the games, Resident Evil 2 was of course his brothers game. He left the shed to head inside and I picked through the junk getting hold of Fighting Force (Disc only) and Die Hard Trilogy (suprisingly Complete in Box) the rest were games I had no interest in or were in too poor of a condition to be salvagable.. all except Resident Evil 2, do I dare break my friends trust for the allure of Leons horrofying adventure with Claire?

I thought for a moment, surley no one would notice this game missing from a collection whos fate, was simply to be claimed by water damage and mold?… I admit I gave in to my desire to play it on my own terms and took the game, hiding the discs in the Die Hard Trilogy Manual (its a feircly thick manual) I thought about also taking the manual or inlays for Resi 2, but honestly I was too frightened to have that horrible cover face in my room at night, and they were too damaged anyway. When showed my friend the “2 games” I was taking he barley looked up and gave me an approving nod, I threw them in my bag guilty, though elated, as we settled into a long night of Red Faction splitscreen Multiplayer.

After, when I returned home I began the game one evening, would I survive the terror? Pangs of fear crossed over me as I relived the opening cutscene on my own, though older, so whilst I still was scared, I was capable of braving it out, launching into the game again, Leon was surrounded, I had no idea how to use the gun, but had since mastered tank controls from the many hours spent playing Grim Fandango on my PC. So I ran in terror from the hoard through the ghastly infested streets of Racoon City. My blood rate pulsed heavy in my ears as I felt a cold sweat pass over me. Over a few weeks I slowly played through some of the game often with a few different friends of mine by my side, it was quite hard all told. I had never experienced the feeling of low ammo and a tight inventory. One night I was introduced to the licker, another night to the crows… those bloody crows.. and I became intamitley attached the warm fuzzy feeling of safe rooms. I found myself enjoying it, though still feeling scared at all the right moments. It was where I first met the spiders in the sewers, a friend of mine whom played bass in my school band was with me, we decided it was time to power through the game, so he pulled out a cheat book walkthrough for some of the tougher parts and we played Leon A to completion. As the internet was not yet available in our home, save for some expensive dial up, I wasnt aware of the canon way to play the game “Claire A/Leon B” or what the Zapping system was or anything really passed my own experience of the game. Only once did I pop in the Claire Disc thinking, “oh its just the same game with Claire, no need to play that”. So I counted it that I had completed the game, and was satisfied with the outcome. Though more was yet to come…

Part 3


Sometime around 2013 well into the PS3 lifesycle, myself and a long time friend whom was also in the school band were reliving the majesty of early PS1 games, spurred on by a Playstation nostalgia binge I was going through at the time. I had since learned all about Resident Evil 2’s zapping system and all its different storyline playthroughs you could achieve depending on the order you play in.

Any time I would make my way over to his house, we would spend hours watching each other playing through various PS1 games, offering commentary and moral support for each other as we beat each game. One evening he had begun the mountainious task of completing Crash 2 100%. I was just fresh off the back of completing Medievil and I decided it was high time to complete Resident Evil 2 with all the storylines, using that orignal pair of discs which I still had. (I still feel slightly guilty about keeping them)

Beggining on the non canon Leon A again, this time the game was an enjoyable romp through my nostalgia soaked mind, it had nearly at this stage become an old friend of mine, there were still many shocks and surprises I had never realised were in the game such as MR. X hunting you through the Police station and playing for a short stint as Sherry Birkin. I regailed the stories of playing it for the first time to my friend, as he ran commentary over me playing… Also strangley, as we often do, we will put on different music whilst we watch each other play games, the person in the metaphorical passanger seat is in charge of the music. So for some reason my friend was on a curious Chris De Burgh binge… and now forever more Resident Evil 2 and Chris DeBurgh will be linked in my mind, as Leon runs down Police HQ corridors mowing down Zombies to the tune of “Don’t Pay the Ferryman”, it strangley suits the game in a way.

It was finally complete as I finished up Leon B, I was satified with the twists and turns, the ending, and I was satified that Resident Evil 2 was a complete story and finally a closed chapter of my life.

Well that is until I heard about all the extra modes since then… HUNK mode and Tofu mode (with just the knife)…. but thats a story for another time… maybe I will return to those when I hit my 30’s… or when the remake gets released… maybe I could return those original discs now to my old friend… now that I have a complete in box copy of my own.

One thing is certainly for sure though Resident Evil 2 will stay with me forever.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » January 30th, 2018, 9:06 pm

Oh, absolutely. Very nice game to look at, despite the oddly persistent green filter.

Btw Alex, how does your frog phobia deal with the Lickers in RE2 and RE5? Do you have the same issue with them as you do with the Hunters?

Edit: And now that I think about it, you might want to tread carefully if you plan on playing RE0 along with the podcast...

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » February 1st, 2018, 3:47 pm

I thought it best to move this discussion to a more appropriate place.
Todinho wrote:
February 1st, 2018, 1:19 pm
...What? So by this you`re saying that the game is very linear and scripted and there`s no change in the experience, that to me is crazy especially since you brought up Youtube because I played the beginning of that game and then went to youtube to see a playthrough and it was pretty different from what I had.
You know what I do in the first 30 minutes of REmake?

I get lost. Despite having played this game 20+ times, this is what happens every single time. Whenever I get back to the main hall after the first zombie, I am unsure of where to go next. I carefully check every door, memorizing the specific emblems on the locked ones. I tentatively push forward, paying close attention to my surroundings, hoping to find some supplies along the way. I only eliminate the necessary minimum number of enemies in order to conserve as much ammo as possible. 20 minutes in, and that's when it hits me: "Oh shit, the crimson heads." I frantically try to locate some kerosene to deal with the problem as soon as possible. But oh, wait. I need a lighter. Where is the lighter? I can't go this way, the dogs will feast on my bones. Should I kill this zombie? Hm... I only have 7 bullets left and I don't know if there are more behind him or not. I think it's more prudent to go back out the way I came from. Should I push this statue? I should, and then I'll have to remember to pick up the gemstone the next time I'm back in the dining hall. Time is a factor. What is the gemstone for, again? Nevermind, I'll figure it out later. If I can live that long...

Barry, help... I don't want to die. :cry:


You know what I do in the first 30 minutes of RE4?

Okay, single enemy: check. Enemy group: check. Hidden crow grenade: check. Saving the dog: check.
Pueblo, here we go.

First, rush to the hidden Salvador guarding the top left exit to secure the bonus loot. Bait his swing and exploit the stun vulnerability of his recovery phase. Time the following melee to catch at least one more goon and create space. Knife them on the ground while paying attention to audio cues so as to not get surrounded. Repeat until he's dead and the others spawn. Collect the Ruby and sprint towards the house. Trigger the second Salvador, collect the shotgun and jump out. Crowd control until you get them all in a spot and use the aforementioned grenade. Get to a safe distance of the blast and use the invulnerability frames of the following animation to tech reload. Go to work on the remaining homes with a pair of pliers and a blowt- Wait, what's this?

"Where's everyone going...? Bingo?"


You know what I did in the first 30 minutes of RE7?

I pushed forward in an empty forest, I pushed forward in an empty swamp, I pushed forward in an empty house, I pushed forward in the same empty house again (this time in a tape feat. unskippable cutscenes), I pushed forward in an empty wet basement, I got an unskippable first-person cutscene, I pushed forward some more until the token damsel-in-distress went "peekaboo!" and threw me across the room. But then the real fun began! Time for some in-depth combat complete with elaborate frame dat-oh wait, no, you'll get a 15-second Condemned-style whack-a-mole with garbage collision feedback and you'll like it. And then it's the old fart who went "peekaboo!" and threw me across the room. One unskippable cutscene later, and I could almost taste freedom at the end of the corridor, until... the script came back? Gasp! Immersion! Surprise! Does it mean it's time to push BACK?! GG, 10/10, meet you in the garage for the shitty bossfight!

I started this game with the renewed hope in a modern classic after the dumpster fire that was RE6, quickly came to realize that the game was striking back against that notion at every turn, and got hit with the return of the script as soon as I thought the bullshit was over. I went through the entire thematic arc of the original Star Wars trilogy in less time than it took me to write this post.

Resident Evil games have always been gameplay kings, even the classic titles. They know when to cutscene, and they know when to gameplay. They're tense and scary without relying on sudden close-ups of random characters going "BLARGH" in front of your face. RE7 is "go from A to B featuring Trader Joe's and his weird nondescript inconsistent vulnerability phases and Vegemite bullet-sponge spastics who begin dancing to 'O sole mio as soon as they see you". Even the map can't help but spoil your destinations. It has horror elements, but they're purely cinematic horror elements. The survival mechanics of the classic games aren't there. Nor is the exciting combat from RE4. It's insultingly shallow and superficial. What a fucking joke.

Can't remember the last time a game has made me so mad. Good job, Capcom. Get rid of Mikami and Kamiya in one fell swoop and put the Revelations guy in charge of your flagship franchise. No way this could go wrong.

Todinho wrote:
February 1st, 2018, 1:19 pm
This might a hard sell since you seem to be disliking the game enough already but I would advise to play on Madhouse if you`re playing it on normal, to me that`s the dificulty RE veterans should all be playing from the get go, I liked the game well enough on normal but it was Madhouse that really made me appreciatte it, maybe for you it will save the game from being a complete disaster I dont know.
Sure, why not. I'll give it a go on my second playthrough if I haven't imploded by then.


PS: I am well aware that we have a lot of hardcore RE7 fans around here. I hope you guys won't take this the wrong way. For the record, I can totally see why people are enjoying this. The game is very polished and looks fantastic. Sound design is superb. It's probably a sensory overload in VR. It's just that it's the exact opposite of what I want in a Resident Evil game.


Edit: Okay so, out of curiosity, I went to check on the Crimson Head wiki page. What caught my eye was the lower section titled "List of Creatures by Game". I scrolled down, and... huh, there is no RE7 section. Now, why could that be?

...
...I seriously hope it's only because the website hasn't been updated since the release of this game. Because if this means that the fucking Vegemites are the only standard enemy type in the game I'll-

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by Todinho » February 1st, 2018, 6:39 pm

So I want to start rebutting this immediately but I think we'll have a more productive conversation after you finnish the game, I just have to point out that like you Im a huge RE fan and this game gave me exactly what I've been wanting outta Resident Evil in forever. What you say doesnt exist here, as in the feel and gameplay of RE, are the entire reason as to why I like this game so much. Regardless its sure to make interesting conversation,

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » February 5th, 2018, 11:18 pm

Alright, let's do this. I finished the game yesterday, so here are my thoughts on RE7, including spoilers, images and embedded videos. I'll also use a truckload of footage from REmake, RE4, Far Cry 3, MGS3, MGS Ground Zeroes, Half-Life 2 & BioShock. Rant incoming.
Spoiler: show
  • Perspective and Visual Characterization
I'll get straight to the point: I have an aversion to first-person perspective in general. Instead of pulling me into the action, all it does is create a disconnect between myself and the protagonist. That's because I appreciate good character design, and even in the absence of great writing, a strong visual design does help with making characters memorable.

For example, if I see this:

Image
...I think to myself "Oh no, Jill is trapped in a mansion!".

Whereas if I see this:

Image
...I think to myself "Oh no, Dude X is trapped in a mansion!".

It's not like Jill is better written or more fleshed out or anything. But at least I have a visual reference to absorb. Without it, I find it hard to empathise with the protagonist. I much prefer seeing Claire limp down a corridor in RE2 than seeing blood spatter on the screen in RE7. The former clearly indicates that the character is in a state of distress, the latter looks like an artificial special effect. Because it is.

There's also the tangentially related issue of the Audience Surrogate or Player-Insert character. Personally, I think that designing protagonists with the intention of making them as relatable as possible only ends up making them bland and forgettable. I don't have the urge to see myself in fictional characters, or to turn every story into my story. I much prefer to have fleshed-out protagonists with firmly established personality traits, even if I end up actively disliking them. This issue is not limited to video games, btw. My favorite fictional characters are people that I get to know and understand, they're not empty vessels that need the audience to be complete.

The problem only gets worse when the two issues are combined, and a game has both a first-person camera as well as a bland and forgettable protagonist. I don't find that combination to be "immersive" in the slightest. What it does instead is make me lose interest. RE7 runs into this issue head-first.

Of course, I'm perfectly ready and willing to tolerate the use of a first-person camera in certain action games. But interestingly enough, my favorite first-person games usually find a way to circumvent the aforementioned issues. Neither Master Chief nor Samus are the loquacious type, but they have very memorable visual designs and the games always make sure that the player keeps them in mind through the use of third-person cutscenes, occasional third-person gameplay sections (vehicles / morph ball), and even small visual clues like the visor reflection in Prime. It's always crystal clear who you're playing as. On the other hand, you have games like Doom who completely commit to the non-descriptive nature of their protagonist. Doomguy is closer to a deity than to a human being, he is the symbolic embodiment of the holy war against the forces of Hell. He is the Archangel Michael, embroiled in a never-ending righteous conflict since time immemorial, he is not a guy who's going to go home and do his taxes afterwards. There's no need to show his emotions, because it's not like he's gonna get scared, now is it?

  • Cutscene Direction and Camera Design
There is this general trend within the industry to just forego traditional cutscene direction entirely and just lock the player character within a room while various NPCs are following their scripted routines. I completely abhor this trend. It's not because I dislike storytelling in games, far from it, it's because my preferred philosophy is always "Commit to your cutscenes, Commit to your gameplay". If you need to use exposition, then go ahead and use exposition with the help of the tried-and-true cinematic techniques of frame composition, editing, perspective play, etc... Not to mention that it'll give the player a direct reference of what the protagonist is thinking / doing instead of have them just sit or stand around and stare at the other characters the entire time.

Time for a few examples.
Let's say you want to introduce your villain in the beginning of your game by having him visit his captives in a cage:




Never mind the differences in graphical fidelity, writing, voice acting, production values or anything like that and let's focus on the cinematography alone. The second, to me at least, is trite and boring to look at in comparison. It's a waste of perfectly decent material that would have greatly benefited from a more elaborate presentation. There are only so many first-person scenes of characters holding monologues in the camera I can watch before they all start to blend together. No matter how interesting the writing may be, it's boring to look at.

Image

Image

If there's no point in giving the player control of the main character, then don't. Giving the player the option to jump on people's heads when they tell their life story is not going to be beneficial for anyone. And if you don't give the player any control, like in the above BioShock example, why not just do a conventional cutscene instead, with all the advantages it provides? Especially since these scripted sequences tend to be unskippable.

I'd rather sit through a 20-minute MGS cutscene than a 30-second exposition scene in Half-Life. Much more visually appealing, and at least I know that I'll have something mechanically engaging to do as soon as I reattain control over the character. These half-baked sequences and forced walking sections are the worst of both worlds and a complete turn-off for me. Give me skippable but substantial cutscenes in-between sections of substantial gameplay, instead of this awkward and highly frustrating mix of both.

Now, all of this is not to say that you can't have non-intrusive interactive elements during cutscenes or cinematic elements during gameplay. But they should always enrich the experience instead of diluting it. Metal Gear Solid 3 understands this perfectly: Whenever it gives the player the option to switch to a first-person view during a cutscene, it's to emphasize a particularly important moment. But if all of its cutscenes were presented in this way, they would lose out on a lot of their appeal. Which brings me to the subject of the fixed camera angles of the classic Resident Evil titles. They are one of the best tools to incorporate interesting elements of photography during gameplay sections without taking control away from the player. The specific design of the camera angles helps to give every room a very distinct visual identity. And like I mentioned at the beginning, the fact that the protagonists are always visible reinforces the notion of their physical presence within the environment.

Let's compare two screenshots taken in the wooden house section during the mid-game in both REmake and RE7:

Image
This frame tells me Who and Where, in a unique way that differs from the frames before and after it.

Image
This shot just tells me Where, and through the exact same perspective that 99% of the game is shown in. The look of the environment is interesting and I can tell that a lot of work went into designing it, but the way it is presented is just boring in comparison.

Camera design in 3D action games is a lost art. God of War will apparently be the next fortress to fall, and yes I'm salty about that as well.

Also, it's not like you can't have subtle traces of camera design even in games with 3D backgrounds and controllable cameras. Imagine how less effective the ladder scene in MGS3 would be without the top-down view and the increasing sense of vertigo it provides in order to underline the no-turning-back thematic of the entr'acte:

Image

Now look at the way RE4 emulates a dolly zoom trick to emphasize some of the melee moves, for example:

Image

As well as the imagery it uses to represent its villains:

Image
This shot implies how much of a sheer physical threat Mendez is through perspective and juxtaposition.

Image
This shot indicates that while Salazar is more of a condescending prick than a physical presence, he is the undisputed lord of the castle (especially since this scene takes place with him on a balcony set one storey above Leon), and that you will have to deal with his subordinates first before you can get to him.

Image
"OH SHIT SON YOU'RE IN TROUBLE NOW".

I mean, none of this is Roger Deakins-level material, but at least there's some interesting imagery going on.

Now, let's look at the way RE7 portrays its villains in comparison:

Image
Close-up of Mia going "Boo!" in front of your face.

Image
Close-up of Jack doing god-knows-what to your face.

Image
Close-up of Marguerite slamming a door in your face.

This is completely boring, but let me make one thing clear: I don't think any of this is the fault of whoever was in charge of these particular scenes. This is a fundamental core visual design flaw. If you insist on having your entire game in first-person, this is the best result you are going to get. Everything of interest will need to happen right in front of the protagonist's face in a way that doesn't rely on his or her reaction or body language. Of course it's gonna get boring after a while.

Not to mention that action scenes suffer as well. Just look at the first 20 seconds of this clip:



Forget proper choreography or exciting editing techniques, getting thrown around in shaky cam followed by vague grunting and close-ups of hands is, again, the best result you are going to get.

Close-ups and POV shots are powerful techniques that should be used sparingly. There is nothing inherently wrong with video games adopting some of the language of photography and/or cinema into their own medium. But at least read the fucking instruction manual first.

In short, stubbornly deciding to present an entire game in first person will automatically reduce the creative potential of its imagery and visual language. And what really pisses me off is that the actual graphics of this game are absolutely gorgeous to look at. The light and shadow effects, the textures... all great. But there is no visual direction that showcases any of this. All the pixels in the world won't do much good if there is no creative direction involved. What a complete and utter waste.

  • Sound Design
It's great. The wood creaking sounds exactly the way you would expect wood to creak if you started smacking old cupboards around. Everything sounds very authentic. But what is not so great is the borderline complete absence of music. The save room music is insanely bland in comparison with the others. The few moments that do have background music are some of the best in the entire game because of it.

RE7 ticks all the wrong boxes for me in terms of presentation. It substitutes the insanely charismatic and memorable protagonists of the series for a complete walking snooze-fest. It insists on introducing a restrictive camera perspective that forces the overuse of scripted walking/crawling sequences and hampers both its visual language and its gameplay diversity. RE2 manages to create a better atmosphere with a static background, a piece of music and a limping hero(ine) than RE7 does with its high-end graphics, the Vegemites barfing around in Dolby Pro Logic IIz 9.1 and its idiotic CoD-style blood spatter effect. In short, it's severely lacking in the directional department. It's all Technology and no Technique.

Perhaps I should clarify that I'm not much of a horror fan in general. I don't particularly care for horror literature or movies, in fact I tend to find them gross and off-putting. Seeing close-ups or reading intricate descriptions of repulsive stuff is not enough to keep me interested. Same goes for most horror games. The only two horror franchises I like are Silent Hill (thanks to its fascinating use of symbolism and sound design), and Resident Evil (thanks to its fantastic core gameplay loop, and the impeccable combat systems of the action titles). I appreciate the classic RE titles as tense and atmospheric action adventure games with cool characters and cheesy but endearing stories. Their horror aesthetics and jump scares are the cherry on top, but they've never been the main appeal for me.

  • Story Events and Characters
The first 30 minutes of mandatory stick-pushing weren't exactly keeping me on the edge of my seat. Neither were the numerous other "tension-building" scripted sequences. The basic premise of a husband searching for his missing wife is a tired cliché, but if Silent Hill can pull it off, it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. Unfortunately, Resident Evil 7 never does anything particularly interesting with it.

If I interpret it correctly, the subtext of Ethan's hand being magically healed through the Redneck Stapler Surgery (because he had in fact been infected by Eveline's weird fungus which had boosted his regenerative capabilities) is pretty smooth. I'd like to think that was intentional, just to give the game the benefit of the doubt.

The Bakers are fairly tragic and interesting characters in their own right. What a shame that the last cutscene with Jack showing regret for his actions with his actual personality shining through is just a moronic dream sequence that might or might not be accurate or representative of anything.

The "choice" at the boat pier is another joke straight out of a David Cage story. I thought the game was expecting me to pick Mia, but I actually chose to cure Zoe instead. Partly because I was beginning to suspect that Mia was involved in the events (which she was), and partly because Zoe had been nothing but helpful and supportive to Ethan since the beginning. I was also curious to see how the game would handle the less obvious choice. Imagine my surprise when Zoe got killed off 2 minutes later (which apparently isn't even canon), and to then see Mia wake up near the location of the crash as if she had been on the boat all along! What a completely botched and useless sequence. The game would have been significantly better off with a proper cutscene instead of this contrived setup that it doesn't even commit to.

The race to save Ethan at the end of the boat level is a nice little touch, especially when the music kicks in.

Eveline is more of a catch-all plot device than an actual character. From the creepy kid trope from F.E.A.R and the illusory jump scares to the entire backstory revolving around her, she's everywhere and is responsible for everything. And while we're on the subject, I don't like seeing something like mind control being given such prominence in the context of the RE lore. I know it's not technically supernatural, but the way it is presented is just too close for comfort. For me at least, RE should be grounded in pseudo-science and physical threats, not cheap Alessa rip-offs who puke mushrooms and cause hallucinations.

Lastly, the Redfield "revelation" at the end didn't exactly surprise me given how Capcom had had no qualms about spoiling it with all the promotion they did for Not A Hero. I don't particularly mind his inclusion, but I have no idea why Capcom doesn't just hard-reboot the series if they're going to take such a drastic new direction. I'm struggling to wrap my head around the notion that this is supposed to take place within the same continuity as the rest of the series.

  • Gameplay
What gameplay?

  • Conclusion
...Just kidding. I'll give the game credit for trying to emulate the basic gameplay loop of the classic titles. But it never commits to it rigorously enough to make it worthwhile. I never got lost, thanks to the map screen proudly displaying your destination and/or various objectives at all times. It's always crystal clear where to go and where to use the last key items you just picked up. And because the map is so small, I always felt like I was a 30-second sprint away from the nearest item chest, which severely diminished the pressure of item management. I was never forced to make any tough decisions about what to take and what to leave behind. It's not like I would need all that ammo for anything, is it? The one and only time I had to run back and forth to manage inventory space was for the shotgun statue "puzzle" and that took me under a minute.

The core loop of key item > locked door > chest > enemy > key item is there, but it's completely dumbed down in a way that takes away a lot of the precious tension. Unlike in the classic titles, I killed the majority of the enemies I encountered, and I still had enough ammo to overthrow a small government at the end. "Return to the series' roots"? Pffff.

With that being said, the layered crafting system is probably the mechanical highlight of the entire game. The various ingredients are rare enough to constantly make you feel like you're about to run out of something. That's pretty cool.

Now onto the combat. Oh boy, the combat. The Vegemites are some of the blandest, most boring enemies the series has ever seen. I don't see any interesting mechanical interaction possible with them. They're even worse than the Revenants in Revelations 2. Pure bullet sponges who stagger in your direction until they hit the ground. They're a complete and utter chore to fight. The fact that there are only three variations of them in the entire game and no other standard enemy types otherwise (except for a few insects) is a complete joke. The Mines section that tries so hard to be all combat-driven all of a sudden is ridiculous.

The basic zombies in REmake are more mechanically engaging than these walking punchlines. And that game has about a dozen of other enemy types, too. To go from some of the industry's most rewarding combat systems and impressive enemy variety in RE4-6 to this nonsense makes this pill especially hard to swallow. What a laugh.

..Let's not even start with the "bossfights". Or why the designers thought that the last ingredient that was missing in the RE formula was a block button of all things. First the dodge button in Rev2 and now this. What the hell am I even playing.

My two favorite segment / locations were the old house in the middle and the boat with Mia towards the end. The former because it finally introduced a different enemy type and a new weapon type (burner) that served as an impromptu light source. It also gave me one of the only "Aha!" moments when I discovered the crawlspace behind the nest. The latter because I thought the level design / layout of the boat was the most interesting. The puzzles were solving themselves and the Vegemites were still tedious as hell, but eh.


NB: I refuse to call the Vegemites by any other name. If only because we have a few Australians on this board and they should appreciate the joke. Hi Joshi, how's it going? Thanks for reading my dumb rant, mate.

  • Conclusion (for real this time)
Resident Evil 7 is not a bad game per se. It looks great, it sounds great, it has a few nice jump scares and other small moments. But it is all Style and no Substance. It's a game made for people who want to play TLoU the week before and Battlefield the week after. It's tailor-suited for YouTube and twitch personalities who end up doing half the marketing for Capcom with their dumbass thumbnails and over-acting. It's a game for people who like the idea of playing a classic Resident Evil game more than actually sitting down and taking the effort to play one. It's a game for people who can't wrap their brain around the notion of pushing up to move forward. It's a one-trick-pony contemptuously standing on the shoulders of giants. It's Revelations 3: The Louisiana Chronicles with a marketing budget behind it. It takes the "Horror" in "Survival Horror" completely literally and dismisses the "Survival" aspect almost completely.

I would really like to know how many of the people praising this game to high heaven have actually done any proper run of any classic title in the past couple of years, and how many are just going by what they remember them feeling like.

The Resident Evil games have always been defined by their exceptional polish and replay value. RE6 disappointed most (myself included) by being a broken unpolished mess and victim of its own ambition. What a shame that Capcom's idea of rectifying this was to make a game with impeccable polish but no replay value whatsoever. In an age when most people laugh at the idea of replaying games and prefer to juggle 200+ hours open world and multiplayer titles during their allocated gaming time, perhaps it's a wise business decision. Apparently, it's what people want. But it's definitely not what I want, and I'll certainly think twice before buying any future titles if this is in any way indicative of the direction that Capcom wants to take the series in moving forward.

The more I think about this game, the less I like it. Which is never a good sign in my experience. I wanted to like this game. I tried to stay away from spoilers all year long. I played it alone, at night, while wearing headphones and without any external distractions. And all I can say right now is "meh".

I can't believe I'm typing this, but I honestly feel more motivated to go play RE6 Mercs than to sit through another playthrough of RE7 any time soon. What the hell is wrong with the world.

I'll have a look at the handful of extra modes one of these days, but I would be very surprised if any one of them had the long-term arcade appeal of The 4th Survivor, let alone Mercs. But we'll see.
PS: Todinho, I'm starting to realize that every time we end up disagreeing about a game, be it MGSV, FE: Awakening, TLoU, and now this, I'm the grumpy old fart who's raining on everyone's parade. But I'm really not that negative of a person otherwise. I'd much rather be waxing lyrical about stuff I enjoy than criticizing stuff that others like. But the problem is that these games are all either inspired by or direct sequels to stuff that I adore, and I hate to see them squander the stuff that makes the originals so great. That's why I can't look away from their shortcomings.

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by Stanshall » February 6th, 2018, 6:27 am

Fascinating post and obviously very heartfelt. I haven't played RE7 and I don't see anything that appeals to me, either from gameplay footage or what I've read. I totally agree with you about the distancing limitations of first person, with a few exceptions as noted (I also prefer it for Skyrim where much of the characterisation comes from my imagination and levelling up perks, etc.). That said, I am still curious about it and will play it in time for the episode. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by Chopper » February 6th, 2018, 9:02 am

A very interesting read, especially the perspective on first vs third person.

From my own point of view, as someone who played the game in VR, first person was not an issue obviously, but was a core element that elevated the game. Anything I would have to say would be coloured by not only the VR experience, but also how the game compares to other VR experiences (ie the first big budget game that was co-developed for VR from the ground up, the quality of that experience (eg the shooting section in the mines is fluid and polished in the context of other VR games - and also massively empowering in VR as it's the first time you have a surfeit of ammo), and the fact it is a 'full length' triple A game). So the limitations you mention there are a positive in VR. This doesn't affect the debate though as we are talking about the standard version.

Outside of the VR aspect, I found it to be reasonably standard over-the-top grand-guignol fare that was very well executed (again in the sense of the game I played) and would agree along broad lines with your criticisms (though I'm not comparing it to other RE games as I have only played one). The main issue I had with the game was the lack of player agency at times, especially in the first half of the game, but I don't know where the boundary is between 'enjoyable guided experience' and 'this is an issue'.

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by Todinho » February 6th, 2018, 9:25 pm

KSubzero1000 wrote:
February 5th, 2018, 11:18 pm
Alright, let's do this. I finished the game yesterday, so here are my thoughts on RE7, including spoilers, images and embedded videos. I'll also use a truckload of footage from REmake, RE4, Far Cry 3, MGS3, MGS Ground Zeroes, Half-Life 2 & BioShock. Rant incoming.
Spoiler: show
  • Perspective and Visual Characterization
I'll get straight to the point: I have an aversion to first-person perspective in general. Instead of pulling me into the action, all it does is create a disconnect between myself and the protagonist. That's because I appreciate good character design, and even in the absence of great writing, a strong visual design does help with making characters memorable.

For example, if I see this:

Image
...I think to myself "Oh no, Jill is trapped in a mansion!".

Whereas if I see this:

Image
...I think to myself "Oh no, Dude X is trapped in a mansion!".

It's not like Jill is better written or more fleshed out or anything. But at least I have a visual reference to absorb. Without it, I find it hard to empathise with the protagonist. I much prefer seeing Claire limp down a corridor in RE2 than seeing blood spatter on the screen in RE7. The former clearly indicates that the character is in a state of distress, the latter looks like an artificial special effect. Because it is.

There's also the tangentially related issue of the Audience Surrogate or Player-Insert character. Personally, I think that designing protagonists with the intention of making them as relatable as possible only ends up making them bland and forgettable. I don't have the urge to see myself in fictional characters, or to turn every story into my story. I much prefer to have fleshed-out protagonists with firmly established personality traits, even if I end up actively disliking them. This issue is not limited to video games, btw. My favorite fictional characters are people that I get to know and understand, they're not empty vessels that need the audience to be complete.

The problem only gets worse when the two issues are combined, and a game has both a first-person camera as well as a bland and forgettable protagonist. I don't find that combination to be "immersive" in the slightest. What it does instead is make me lose interest. RE7 runs into this issue head-first.

Of course, I'm perfectly ready and willing to tolerate the use of a first-person camera in certain action games. But interestingly enough, my favorite first-person games usually find a way to circumvent the aforementioned issues. Neither Master Chief nor Samus are the loquacious type, but they have very memorable visual designs and the games always make sure that the player keeps them in mind through the use of third-person cutscenes, occasional third-person gameplay sections (vehicles / morph ball), and even small visual clues like the visor reflection in Prime. It's always crystal clear who you're playing as. On the other hand, you have games like Doom who completely commit to the non-descriptive nature of their protagonist. Doomguy is closer to a deity than to a human being, he is the symbolic embodiment of the holy war against the forces of Hell. He is the Archangel Michael, embroiled in a never-ending righteous conflict since time immemorial, he is not a guy who's going to go home and do his taxes afterwards. There's no need to show his emotions, because it's not like he's gonna get scared, now is it?

  • Cutscene Direction and Camera Design
There is this general trend within the industry to just forego traditional cutscene direction entirely and just lock the player character within a room while various NPCs are following their scripted routines. I completely abhor this trend. It's not because I dislike storytelling in games, far from it, it's because my preferred philosophy is always "Commit to your cutscenes, Commit to your gameplay". If you need to use exposition, then go ahead and use exposition with the help of the tried-and-true cinematic techniques of frame composition, editing, perspective play, etc... Not to mention that it'll give the player a direct reference of what the protagonist is thinking / doing instead of have them just sit or stand around and stare at the other characters the entire time.

Time for a few examples.
Let's say you want to introduce your villain in the beginning of your game by having him visit his captives in a cage:




Never mind the differences in graphical fidelity, writing, voice acting, production values or anything like that and let's focus on the cinematography alone. The second, to me at least, is trite and boring to look at in comparison. It's a waste of perfectly decent material that would have greatly benefited from a more elaborate presentation. There are only so many first-person scenes of characters holding monologues in the camera I can watch before they all start to blend together. No matter how interesting the writing may be, it's boring to look at.

Image

Image

If there's no point in giving the player control of the main character, then don't. Giving the player the option to jump on people's heads when they tell their life story is not going to be beneficial for anyone. And if you don't give the player any control, like in the above BioShock example, why not just do a conventional cutscene instead, with all the advantages it provides? Especially since these scripted sequences tend to be unskippable.

I'd rather sit through a 20-minute MGS cutscene than a 30-second exposition scene in Half-Life. Much more visually appealing, and at least I know that I'll have something mechanically engaging to do as soon as I reattain control over the character. These half-baked sequences and forced walking sections are the worst of both worlds and a complete turn-off for me. Give me skippable but substantial cutscenes in-between sections of substantial gameplay, instead of this awkward and highly frustrating mix of both.

Now, all of this is not to say that you can't have non-intrusive interactive elements during cutscenes or cinematic elements during gameplay. But they should always enrich the experience instead of diluting it. Metal Gear Solid 3 understands this perfectly: Whenever it gives the player the option to switch to a first-person view during a cutscene, it's to emphasize a particularly important moment. But if all of its cutscenes were presented in this way, they would lose out on a lot of their appeal. Which brings me to the subject of the fixed camera angles of the classic Resident Evil titles. They are one of the best tools to incorporate interesting elements of photography during gameplay sections without taking control away from the player. The specific design of the camera angles helps to give every room a very distinct visual identity. And like I mentioned at the beginning, the fact that the protagonists are always visible reinforces the notion of their physical presence within the environment.

Let's compare two screenshots taken in the wooden house section during the mid-game in both REmake and RE7:

Image
This frame tells me Who and Where, in a unique way that differs from the frames before and after it.

Image
This shot just tells me Where, and through the exact same perspective that 99% of the game is shown in. The look of the environment is interesting and I can tell that a lot of work went into designing it, but the way it is presented is just boring in comparison.

Camera design in 3D action games is a lost art. God of War will apparently be the next fortress to fall, and yes I'm salty about that as well.

Also, it's not like you can't have subtle traces of camera design even in games with 3D backgrounds and controllable cameras. Imagine how less effective the ladder scene in MGS3 would be without the top-down view and the increasing sense of vertigo it provides in order to underline the no-turning-back thematic of the entr'acte:

Image

Now look at the way RE4 emulates a dolly zoom trick to emphasize some of the melee moves, for example:

Image

As well as the imagery it uses to represent its villains:

Image
This shot implies how much of a sheer physical threat Mendez is through perspective and juxtaposition.

Image
This shot indicates that while Salazar is more of a condescending prick than a physical presence, he is the undisputed lord of the castle (especially since this scene takes place with him on a balcony set one storey above Leon), and that you will have to deal with his subordinates first before you can get to him.

Image
"OH SHIT SON YOU'RE IN TROUBLE NOW".

I mean, none of this is Roger Deakins-level material, but at least there's some interesting imagery going on.

Now, let's look at the way RE7 portrays its villains in comparison:

Image
Close-up of Mia going "Boo!" in front of your face.

Image
Close-up of Jack doing god-knows-what to your face.

Image
Close-up of Marguerite slamming a door in your face.

This is completely boring, but let me make one thing clear: I don't think any of this is the fault of whoever was in charge of these particular scenes. This is a fundamental core visual design flaw. If you insist on having your entire game in first-person, this is the best result you are going to get. Everything of interest will need to happen right in front of the protagonist's face in a way that doesn't rely on his or her reaction or body language. Of course it's gonna get boring after a while.

Not to mention that action scenes suffer as well. Just look at the first 20 seconds of this clip:



Forget proper choreography or exciting editing techniques, getting thrown around in shaky cam followed by vague grunting and close-ups of hands is, again, the best result you are going to get.

Close-ups and POV shots are powerful techniques that should be used sparingly. There is nothing inherently wrong with video games adopting some of the language of photography and/or cinema into their own medium. But at least read the fucking instruction manual first.

In short, stubbornly deciding to present an entire game in first person will automatically reduce the creative potential of its imagery and visual language. And what really pisses me off is that the actual graphics of this game are absolutely gorgeous to look at. The light and shadow effects, the textures... all great. But there is no visual direction that showcases any of this. All the pixels in the world won't do much good if there is no creative direction involved. What a complete and utter waste.

  • Sound Design
It's great. The wood creaking sounds exactly the way you would expect wood to creak if you started smacking old cupboards around. Everything sounds very authentic. But what is not so great is the borderline complete absence of music. The save room music is insanely bland in comparison with the others. The few moments that do have background music are some of the best in the entire game because of it.

RE7 ticks all the wrong boxes for me in terms of presentation. It substitutes the insanely charismatic and memorable protagonists of the series for a complete walking snooze-fest. It insists on introducing a restrictive camera perspective that forces the overuse of scripted walking/crawling sequences and hampers both its visual language and its gameplay diversity. RE2 manages to create a better atmosphere with a static background, a piece of music and a limping hero(ine) than RE7 does with its high-end graphics, the Vegemites barfing around in Dolby Pro Logic IIz 9.1 and its idiotic CoD-style blood spatter effect. In short, it's severely lacking in the directional department. It's all Technology and no Technique.

Perhaps I should clarify that I'm not much of a horror fan in general. I don't particularly care for horror literature or movies, in fact I tend to find them gross and off-putting. Seeing close-ups or reading intricate descriptions of repulsive stuff is not enough to keep me interested. Same goes for most horror games. The only two horror franchises I like are Silent Hill (thanks to its fascinating use of symbolism and sound design), and Resident Evil (thanks to its fantastic core gameplay loop, and the impeccable combat systems of the action titles). I appreciate the classic RE titles as tense and atmospheric action adventure games with cool characters and cheesy but endearing stories. Their horror aesthetics and jump scares are the cherry on top, but they've never been the main appeal for me.

  • Story Events and Characters
The first 30 minutes of mandatory stick-pushing weren't exactly keeping me on the edge of my seat. Neither were the numerous other "tension-building" scripted sequences. The basic premise of a husband searching for his missing wife is a tired cliché, but if Silent Hill can pull it off, it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. Unfortunately, Resident Evil 7 never does anything particularly interesting with it.

If I interpret it correctly, the subtext of Ethan's hand being magically healed through the Redneck Stapler Surgery (because he had in fact been infected by Eveline's weird fungus which had boosted his regenerative capabilities) is pretty smooth. I'd like to think that was intentional, just to give the game the benefit of the doubt.

The Bakers are fairly tragic and interesting characters in their own right. What a shame that the last cutscene with Jack showing regret for his actions with his actual personality shining through is just a moronic dream sequence that might or might not be accurate or representative of anything.

The "choice" at the boat pier is another joke straight out of a David Cage story. I thought the game was expecting me to pick Mia, but I actually chose to cure Zoe instead. Partly because I was beginning to suspect that Mia was involved in the events (which she was), and partly because Zoe had been nothing but helpful and supportive to Ethan since the beginning. I was also curious to see how the game would handle the less obvious choice. Imagine my surprise when Zoe got killed off 2 minutes later (which apparently isn't even canon), and to then see Mia wake up near the location of the crash as if she had been on the boat all along! What a completely botched and useless sequence. The game would have been significantly better off with a proper cutscene instead of this contrived setup that it doesn't even commit to.

The race to save Ethan at the end of the boat level is a nice little touch, especially when the music kicks in.

Eveline is more of a catch-all plot device than an actual character. From the creepy kid trope from F.E.A.R and the illusory jump scares to the entire backstory revolving around her, she's everywhere and is responsible for everything. And while we're on the subject, I don't like seeing something like mind control being given such prominence in the context of the RE lore. I know it's not technically supernatural, but the way it is presented is just too close for comfort. For me at least, RE should be grounded in pseudo-science and physical threats, not cheap Alessa rip-offs who puke mushrooms and cause hallucinations.

Lastly, the Redfield "revelation" at the end didn't exactly surprise me given how Capcom had had no qualms about spoiling it with all the promotion they did for Not A Hero. I don't particularly mind his inclusion, but I have no idea why Capcom doesn't just hard-reboot the series if they're going to take such a drastic new direction. I'm struggling to wrap my head around the notion that this is supposed to take place within the same continuity as the rest of the series.

  • Gameplay
What gameplay?

  • Conclusion
...Just kidding. I'll give the game credit for trying to emulate the basic gameplay loop of the classic titles. But it never commits to it rigorously enough to make it worthwhile. I never got lost, thanks to the map screen proudly displaying your destination and/or various objectives at all times. It's always crystal clear where to go and where to use the last key items you just picked up. And because the map is so small, I always felt like I was a 30-second sprint away from the nearest item chest, which severely diminished the pressure of item management. I was never forced to make any tough decisions about what to take and what to leave behind. It's not like I would need all that ammo for anything, is it? The one and only time I had to run back and forth to manage inventory space was for the shotgun statue "puzzle" and that took me under a minute.

The core loop of key item > locked door > chest > enemy > key item is there, but it's completely dumbed down in a way that takes away a lot of the precious tension. Unlike in the classic titles, I killed the majority of the enemies I encountered, and I still had enough ammo to overthrow a small government at the end. "Return to the series' roots"? Pffff.

With that being said, the layered crafting system is probably the mechanical highlight of the entire game. The various ingredients are rare enough to constantly make you feel like you're about to run out of something. That's pretty cool.

Now onto the combat. Oh boy, the combat. The Vegemites are some of the blandest, most boring enemies the series has ever seen. I don't see any interesting mechanical interaction possible with them. They're even worse than the Revenants in Revelations 2. Pure bullet sponges who stagger in your direction until they hit the ground. They're a complete and utter chore to fight. The fact that there are only three variations of them in the entire game and no other standard enemy types otherwise (except for a few insects) is a complete joke. The Mines section that tries so hard to be all combat-driven all of a sudden is ridiculous.

The basic zombies in REmake are more mechanically engaging than these walking punchlines. And that game has about a dozen of other enemy types, too. To go from some of the industry's most rewarding combat systems and impressive enemy variety in RE4-6 to this nonsense makes this pill especially hard to swallow. What a laugh.

..Let's not even start with the "bossfights". Or why the designers thought that the last ingredient that was missing in the RE formula was a block button of all things. First the dodge button in Rev2 and now this. What the hell am I even playing.

My two favorite segment / locations were the old house in the middle and the boat with Mia towards the end. The former because it finally introduced a different enemy type and a new weapon type (burner) that served as an impromptu light source. It also gave me one of the only "Aha!" moments when I discovered the crawlspace behind the nest. The latter because I thought the level design / layout of the boat was the most interesting. The puzzles were solving themselves and the Vegemites were still tedious as hell, but eh.


NB: I refuse to call the Vegemites by any other name. If only because we have a few Australians on this board and they should appreciate the joke. Hi Joshi, how's it going? Thanks for reading my dumb rant, mate.

  • Conclusion (for real this time)
Resident Evil 7 is not a bad game per se. It looks great, it sounds great, it has a few nice jump scares and other small moments. But it is all Style and no Substance. It's a game made for people who want to play TLoU the week before and Battlefield the week after. It's tailor-suited for YouTube and twitch personalities who end up doing half the marketing for Capcom with their dumbass thumbnails and over-acting. It's a game for people who like the idea of playing a classic Resident Evil game more than actually sitting down and taking the effort to play one. It's a game for people who can't wrap their brain around the notion of pushing up to move forward. It's a one-trick-pony contemptuously standing on the shoulders of giants. It's Revelations 3: The Louisiana Chronicles with a marketing budget behind it. It takes the "Horror" in "Survival Horror" completely literally and dismisses the "Survival" aspect almost completely.

I would really like to know how many of the people praising this game to high heaven have actually done any proper run of any classic title in the past couple of years, and how many are just going by what they remember them feeling like.

The Resident Evil games have always been defined by their exceptional polish and replay value. RE6 disappointed most (myself included) by being a broken unpolished mess and victim of its own ambition. What a shame that Capcom's idea of rectifying this was to make a game with impeccable polish but no replay value whatsoever. In an age when most people laugh at the idea of replaying games and prefer to juggle 200+ hours open world and multiplayer titles during their allocated gaming time, perhaps it's a wise business decision. Apparently, it's what people want. But it's definitely not what I want, and I'll certainly think twice before buying any future titles if this is in any way indicative of the direction that Capcom wants to take the series in moving forward.

The more I think about this game, the less I like it. Which is never a good sign in my experience. I wanted to like this game. I tried to stay away from spoilers all year long. I played it alone, at night, while wearing headphones and without any external distractions. And all I can say right now is "meh".

I can't believe I'm typing this, but I honestly feel more motivated to go play RE6 Mercs than to sit through another playthrough of RE7 any time soon. What the hell is wrong with the world.

I'll have a look at the handful of extra modes one of these days, but I would be very surprised if any one of them had the long-term arcade appeal of The 4th Survivor, let alone Mercs. But we'll see.
PS: Todinho, I'm starting to realize that every time we end up disagreeing about a game, be it MGSV, FE: Awakening, TLoU, and now this, I'm the grumpy old fart who's raining on everyone's parade. But I'm really not that negative of a person otherwise. I'd much rather be waxing lyrical about stuff I enjoy than criticizing stuff that others like. But the problem is that these games are all either inspired by or direct sequels to stuff that I adore, and I hate to see them squander the stuff that makes the originals so great. That's why I can't look away from their shortcomings.
Ok this is gonna take a little bit for me to unpack but I'll try to respond sooner rather then later, and dont worry it`s Like Leon says every 10/10 game has people who hate it and every 0/10 has people who love it, I dont think anybody would be on this forum if they didnt like hearing and arguing about opinions on videogames XD. Besides I think out only real disagreements are on MGSV(which to be fair Im in the clear minority) and now RE7.

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » February 7th, 2018, 4:15 am

Thanks for the kind words, guys. It's nice to know all that research wasn't in vain. :)

Stanshall wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 6:27 am
I am still curious about it and will play it in time for the episode.
Let me be perfectly clear: None of what I wrote was intended to push people away from RE7. In fact, I would encourage you to play it and to form your own opinion in the process. I don't know if you've played any of the classic titles, and I know you didn't ask for any advice, but I were to give one it'd be this: Forget anything you may know about the rest of the series and think of its core design philosophy as Gone Home with a horror aesthetic superimposed on top of it. Perhaps you'll enjoy it more than I did by approaching it in this manner!

Todinho wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 9:25 pm
Ok this is gonna take a little bit for me to unpack but I'll try to respond sooner rather then later
Take your time, man. I'm looking forward to reading your response at some point, be it tomorrow or next month. :)


I've had some more time to crystallize my thoughts today, and I think the core issue boils down to this: RE7 is a horror simulator. Believe it not, I don't mean this in disparaging way. What I mean is that the core design philosophy of this game (and others in the same vein) is to emulate the sensory experience of the protagonist. The actual experience of a human being who's trapped in a spooky mansion would me much closer to RE7 than REmake. Real life is obviously in first-person, there is no such thing as ambient music or fixed camera perspectives, etc... In that sense, I can understand why people like this "realistic" style of presentation. It's just that I much prefer Direction over Simulation, which in many ways are complete opposites from one another.

When people see a screenshot of a classic RE game, they are often put off by the external perspective and the lack of intuitive camera-relative controls. Whereas I'm amazed at the way this perspective enables the director to subtly guide the experience through use of specific imagery. Where others see restrictions, I see ingenuity.

On the other hand, when I look at a Valve-style FPS or VR technology (which is very much the logical progression of the same basic design philosophy), all I can think is "so, does this mean that it'll be limited to first-person or a disembodied perspective?". Where others see immersion, I see restrictions.

Since you guys seem to appreciate this, here are some more of my thoughts on the subject, complete with concrete examples of camera design and so on. Oh, and there will be a nice twist later on, so don't skip ahead, please.

First of all, I recommend reading this article about the Rule of Thirds, this one about the concept of Lead Room, this one about Negative Space, and this one about Picture Composition if you have the time and are inclined to do so. Interesting stuff. If nothing else, then at least this gif displaying the Rule of Thirds should suffice:

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  • Visual Language of the classic Resident Evil fixed Camera angles
Now let's get to the fun stuff and analyse a gif from RE0 showcasing an enemy approaching the protagonist. RIP your browsers:

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Please note how it makes use of the steadily decreasing negative space between the two characters to convey danger. This grants this specific scene / frame its own distinct visual identity.

(I couldn't find a comparable RE7 gif to save my life, sorry. My point is that while the first person perspective viewpoint of a monster marching towards you is obviously more life-like, it loses out on this kind of subtle underlying visual elements.)

Let's look at some other examples of fixed camera perspective conveying specific pieces of information in the classic RE titles:

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This frame instantly tells me that the two elements worthy of further attention are the corpse and the device by the door, without the need to frantically look around.

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This frame very subtly draws attention to the windows in the background through its framing, which will come in handy later on. The eye is instantly drawn towards them, isn't it? This is deliberate, and not a random occurrence.

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Magnificent use of contrast. Also, the pillar on the left is a borderline pixel-perfect implementation of the aforementioned Rule of Thirds.

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This one conveys detailed information about all three dimensional axes through composition alone. Keep in mind this is a static image and not an actual polygonal 3D background.

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This one shows an enemy in the foreground, the two protagonists in the middleground, and another enemy in the background, as well as the healing herbs at the bottom of the central cupboard. You could hardly ask for a more complete picture. ...Or could you?

Now, if you have a nagging feeling that there's something wrong with these pictures but you can't quite put your finger on what it might be, then I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that you're not imagining things. The bad news is... Well, I promised you a twist, didn't I? Click at your own peril.
Spoiler: show
...The bad news is that all of the shots I just showed you are the heavily cropped, forced widescreen versions from the recent HD "remastered" edition of the games.

Here, see for yourselves. This is the 2015 Mountain Dew Game Fuel "lol finally normal controls amirite" cropped 16:9-version of the upper main hall in the REmake:

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And here is the 2002 original 4:3 version of the exact same:

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Look at how much the overall picture benefits from the extra details at the top and the bottom. Look at how much height is being implied through the extra headroom and the design of the upper alcoves. Look at how the lower handrail was carefully drawn to perfectly coincide with the bottom right corner of the frame.

No two ways about it, the cropped version feels cramped and incomplete in comparison. Probably because it is.
Screw Capcom with a rusty pipe for making this the default option.

What's especially sad is that I didn't initially set out to show you the cropped versions. But this is what google is spitting out. Because apparently, nobody has bothered to upload most of the proper versions instead. See what I meant when I said this was a lost art?

Thankfully, I still found some!

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“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“’Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”


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"Hm, I wonder what's over there..."

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This is one of the most visually interesting backgrounds in the series. The chandelier is an immediate eye-catcher and both the partial reflection on the hanging picture frames as well as the varying shadows of the handrail completely sell the sense of perspective and verticality of the room. Marvelous.

For a quick laugh, get a load of this distorted monstrosity I found on an article hilariously mis-titled Getting It Right: Resident Evil:

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It's quite the positive article, too, which makes it even more tragic. If even the paid professionals trying to sell you on this stuff don't understand the value and fragility of the material they're dealing with, what chance is Joe Sixpack going to have? And since the article is from 2012, you can't even blame the HD remaster this time around. :lol:

I think that my affection for this type of presentation should be quite apparent by now. But I'm not saying that every game would benefit from pre-rendered backgrounds. What I'm saying is that there is a lot of work that went into this stuff. This is the result of some very talented artists with solid understandings of photography and graphic design spending months trying to come up with the most visually interesting (and most of all, suggestive) way to frame each and every scene. Considering that the REmake's development period was only a little over one year (if Wikipedia is to be believed), I find that to be a pretty impressive achievement. And keep in mind that it is not uncommon for a single room to have 10+ different backgrounds to cycle through.

  • Other Examples of Camera Design
Obviously, the combination of fixed camera angles and pre-rendered backgrounds will be a particularly fertile ground for these kinds of advanced photography techniques. But like I mentioned in my other post, you can still have some small elements of camera design even in more conventional polygonal 3D games. Here are a few examples of how the simple notion of re-centering the camera during key moments can either give the player intuitive feedback and a mechanical advantage, like in MGS:

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...Or just provide a more complex and appealing image composition during quiet, contemplative moments:

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And now look at this shot from RDR in comparison:

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This is the kind of nuance that gets lost when graphical fidelity becomes the main priority without considering how to present things in an interesting way. Proper direction is very important. Video games should be more than just tech demos.

You can even have trace elements of this kind of stuff in fast-paced action games. Unfortunately, I can't find any decent gif of this, but the camera in Ninja Gaiden Black tilts ever so slightly whenever an offscreen enemy detects Ryu. This is not an immediately apparent visual effect, but it's enough to make you feel like something important just happened.

There's also the way in which the camera will zoom out and start panning alongside a circular rail during the FreeFlow combat sequences of the Arkham games, while still remaining adjustable:

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Last but not least, the God of War games are the absolute masters of non-controllable mobile camera design within 3D environments. I strongly recommend watching the last section of this video to hear it directly from the horse's mouth. Every scene / location has its own pre-programmed fluid camera perspectives:

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From wide establishing shots that draw attention to the scale of the background...

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...To the instantly recognizable 2D perspective of fighting games when emphasizing a duel.


What I find so cool about all this is that none of these images have been taken from cutscenes. These are the viewpoints from which the gameplay is being presented without ever restricting the player's use of the game's basic mechanics. Camera Design is one of, if not the best way to adopt visually appealing elements from the languages of cinema and /or photography without sacrificing interactivity in the process. That's why I'm sad to see it slowly but surely being abandoned. Now that Resident Evil is in first-person and God of War uses an over-the-shoulder camera, what else is there?

In case that wasn't clear, this has nothing to do with graphics or art design. I look at a game like Horizon for example, and I can definitely tell that there were some very talented artists working on it. But how much of their work will I simply never get to experience under ideal conditions because of the freely controllable third-person camera that has become the standard? I find this idea of developers leaving their directional duties to the player very off-putting. Making cool or beautiful stuff is not enough if you make so little effort in presenting it.

The term "cinematic elements" in video games has nowadays become synonymous with either cutscenes or scripted set-pieces, both of which tend to dilute the mechanical aspect(s) of the game instead of enriching it. I just think there's a lot of wasted potential in that regard. I find God of War or MGS3 to be cinematic in a good way, but Heavy Rain and Uncharted to be cinematic in a bad way. I hope this makes sense.

I don't know, food for thought I suppose.


PS: To make a very long story short, my initial idea was to illustrate and explain the differences in replay value between the classic Resident Evil titles and RE7. Whenever I finish playing through REmake, I've seen hundreds of these beautiful backgrounds but I always feel like I could have done it faster, or while taking less damage. The game takes care of the visual aspect and entrusts me with the mechanical one. Whereas a game like RE7 who commits so rigorously to its simulation design leaves me feeling like I've missed out on a lot of cool visual elements that it didn't bother to show me. I feel like I've done everything but am left unsatisfied in the visual department. It's hard to explain, but the two reactions are basically the exact opposite.

PPS: Oh god it's 5 in the morning what the fuck am I doing?!

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by kintaris » February 7th, 2018, 12:00 pm

I'm glad you stayed up until dawn to write that, interesting stuff! And it explains to me why I find "horror simulators", as you call them, scary (because any threat running directly at you is inherently scary) but not entirely satisfying. I studied photography at school and I think I'm somewhat hard wired to find satisfaction in elements like the rule of thirds and carefully crafted visual perspective.

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by Todinho » February 7th, 2018, 2:36 pm

KSubzero1000 wrote:
February 7th, 2018, 4:15 am
Stanshall wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 6:27 am
I am still curious about it and will play it in time for the episode.
Let me be perfectly clear: None of what I wrote was intended to push people away from RE7. In fact, I would encourage you to play it and to form your own opinion in the process. I don't know if you've played any of the classic titles, and I know you didn't ask for any advice, but I were to give one it'd be this: Forget anything you may know about the rest of the series and think of its core design philosophy as Gone Home with a horror aesthetic superimposed on top of it. Perhaps you'll enjoy it more than I did by approaching it in this manner!
Just to give you a difference of perspective Stan, you absolutelly should play RE7 with the classic RE games in mind, 7 is very much a streamlined version of it, taking the style of game from 1996 and taking it to 2017.

Im still reading through but if you havent already and can bare a second playthrough you absolutelly should play the game on Madhouse, I dont think it will suddenlly make you like the game but I think you'd enjoy a playthrough on that mode way more.

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » February 7th, 2018, 5:06 pm

kintaris wrote:
February 7th, 2018, 12:00 pm
And it explains to me why I find "horror simulators", as you call them, scary (because any threat running directly at you is inherently scary) but not entirely satisfying.
Exactly! Glad to hear it. :P
Also, it should be said that visual techniques such as the Rule of Thirds are rooted in basic (and universal) human responses and sensory processing. I don't think you need to know or understand the exact technical details of how this stuff works in order to appreciate its effects, even subconsciously. Specific images will just instinctively "feel" either right or wrong to the vast majority of people.

Todinho wrote:
February 7th, 2018, 2:36 pm
7 is very much a streamlined version of it, taking the style of game from 1996 and taking it to 2017.
...This point of view is so foreign to me I find it hard to find the necessary words to address it. Streamlining is the process of reducing a system's complexity in order to display its core qualities more prominently. Not trying to emulate the sensations it creates through the use of a diametrically opposed formula. RE7 is streamlined RE in the same way that artificial sweeteners are streamlined sugar.

Let's just say I am eagerly anticipating your upcoming analysis, buddy. :)

Todinho wrote:
February 7th, 2018, 2:36 pm
if you havent already and can bare a second playthrough you absolutelly should play the game on Madhouse, I dont think it will suddenlly make you like the game but I think you'd enjoy a playthrough on that mode way more.
I have taken your recommendation under advisement and will probably give it a go at some point. But I really don't think it's going to make such a big difference, considering that the issues I have with this game are of a much more fundamental nature than the technicalities of the save system or the exact number and/or locations of bullets lying around. Presentation is my main issue here.

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by kintaris » February 7th, 2018, 8:44 pm

KSubzero1000 wrote:
February 7th, 2018, 5:06 pm
kintaris wrote:
February 7th, 2018, 12:00 pm
And it explains to me why I find "horror simulators", as you call them, scary (because any threat running directly at you is inherently scary) but not entirely satisfying.
Exactly! Glad to hear it. :P
Also, it should be said that visual techniques such as the Rule of Thirds are rooted in basic (and universal) human responses and sensory processing.
Oh, absolutely. I suppose a better way to have made my point is that I actively enjoy recognising those structures, and maybe because of that I feel even more lost and oddly frustrated by alternative approaches than the average person. Probably inhibiting my own enjoyment of things by getting too academic about it, but the horror sim is just never going to cut it for me.

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by Todinho » February 8th, 2018, 12:42 am

Ok so I think I got it, I tried to do it in a way as to address your points and kinda of extrapolated from there, I didnt talk too much about the camera shift but I found fascinating read all the stuff you pointed out in the 2 posts, now I think it`s fair to say you never really "got past" the First person perspective, also you make alot of comparisons to Remake and yeah RE7 isnt as good as Remake that game isnt only the best Resident Evil game but the best Survival Horror game ever made when it comes gameplay. I dont think anything I said will change your mind but food for thought as they say:
Spoiler: show
1- Perspective

Your first point is a very subjective thing but I do empathize with and I prefer third-person games over first person ones and I also dislke the whole bland/ silent protagonist type most of the time,but I think it`s fair to say a lot of people have to opposite feeling, just looking at the Cane and Rinse crew I think Leon and Josh much prefer a silent protagonist then a talking one if Im not mistaken.
As for me while I prefer more defined protagonists overall, if the lead they give me is too annoying I`ll often prefer the more bland protagonist every time, it`s the reason I prefer Vaan from FFXII over Tidus from FFX, one is a non-character in his own story and utterly forgetable while the other is an insuferable brat for 50 hours, you might argue that one is more memorable but I dont think that`s a good thing, to me it`s like saying that having that drunk guy that annoys everyone in a party is better then having that quiet guy that people dont pay attention(a bit of a weird analogy but just go with it) around.

To your second point I absolutely agree, Im often baffled why people find exposition in games like half-life so great when you can just stare at a wall or jump up and down while characters are talking, you can say that`s the players choice to break their own immersion but even then you just present them with a boring scene instead so yeah I much prefer a cutscene instead especially in games like Bioshock infinite where you have to stay there and listen, I think dark souls while not first person does this type of exposition the best because you can kill every character in the game and you dont really need to listen to any dialogue to finnish the game but for any game that is trying to give you story I often find it better to just have a cutscene barrying if you can give that story during gameplay, like say in Bastion or Transistor.

RE7 certainlly suffers from that and it really has one too many jump at your face moment(which is clearly because of VR) I have to disagree however in saying that because the game is First person the enviroments are boring, while sure the way a camera is set in a scene can really shape the mood first person does add a level of imersion in which you can explore a single room in much more detail and freedom then the static backgrounds of old games and most rooms in RE7 if you stop and look at em are full of detail and that`s not only important visually but also gameplaywise(more on that later).

2- Story

To pick where we left of, when It comes to Ethan he`s not the most expressive of protagonists for sure but I think they did a pretty good job with him especially since the times he did vocalized something it was often what I was thinking at the time as well, he`s not annoying, he`s not stupid and like I said he reacts sensibly to the situations presented to him. Sure he may fall short in comparison to other RE main stays that have been around for years but compare him to other would be leads in recent memory like say Sheva which is fucking annoying and seems that every other word she says is “partner“ or the myriad of forgetable rejects from RE6, I for one think Ethan is a big improvement in having a new protagonist that isnt a super soldier, That`s an important point because if you remember the first games were really a journey into the unknown of people that were entering a completely new and unpredictable situation , they were all scared and didnt know what to do much like the player.

I think that`s an overlooked reason as to why the first games were much scarier and sticked to horror then the later ones, as the characters became more familiar with what they were facing the games naturally had to become more action focused, something that`s clearly shown when we go from Leon in 2 to super agent Leon in 4. That isnt unique to RE either just look at Alien and Aliens and so on and so forth. So getting a new protagonist and throwing him in this unexpected scenario was very much needed to at least try and bring the horror back after shift to action in the later titles.

On the overall story I think it`s without a doubt the best narrative a RE game ever had which isnt saying much but still I enjoyed it a lot, the performances really elevate the game and I think they were among the best of last year. Jack, Lucas and Margaritte are all a joy to watch and they manage to be intimidating but also funny at the same time which to me is the perfect tone for RE coming out of it`s B horror movie influences.
When it comes to the choice at the end, yeah it`s kinda of pointless I mean what kinda monster would choose a complete stranger over his wife XD, but it`s certainly not the first RE game to have a pointless choice near the end that gets retconned anyway.
On Eveline I really liked the twist with her, the fact that she was there all along was pretty clever I thought, as was the connection with the whole bioterrorism larger plot of the franchise, it was really well done and not knowing about anything seeing Chris show up with an Umbrella chopper blew my mind at the end.

Also I dont know why mind control is a bridge to far, I mean when talking about pseudo-science an organism mind controlling another is usual fare, hell it even happens in real life with the fungi that inspired the Last of Us and thinking about it this game as well because the entire biohazard is fungal based this time. It was a good way of misleading the audience making them think that maybe they were going supernatural with the series(like the RE4 hook man demo seemed to be)only to bring it back to the pseudo-science. As far as powers in Resident evil go it`s way better then other dumb abilities in the series like Alexia Ashford`s fire blood/Pyrokinesis or the sentient pile of leeches from 0.

3- Gameplay

Now this is where I really have to hammer you on and after reading what you brought up(which was exactly what I expected) the game really should present Madhouse straight away but alas.

First off let me concede to the 1 point I do agree which is that you never really feel lost in the game and that`s simply because you dont have 50 rooms to go through, the baker estate is a more realistic, and yes simpler, version of the Spencer Mansion there are less rooms and with a map it`s really easy to orient yourself, the stuff about the map pin pointing where you are is a non issue because that was there in the classic games as well and they putting your objective is just a quality of life stuff for people who come back to the game and dont remember where they were.

What RE7 preserves and does so with flying colors is the tension and anticipation to what`s behind every room, you clearly didnt have this experience but when I found the second save room in the house I was really relieved not only because my inventory was full but also because I wanted to save because of the progress I made exploring the rest of the house(btw the save music is great what`re you talking about) , speaking of exploring while there are less rooms to go through each room here is packed with stuff and the first person perspective actually really adds to you scrambling for itens, in the classic games you`d enter a room and there would be maybe 1 or 2 itens there and they would be glowing, here they are all over the place making you really look around each and every room while in previous you`d do a quick scan of the room and if you saw nothing you`d hug the wall pressing buttons to see if there was anything there, so yeah there are less rooms to explore but there is more in each room then ever before.

The core gameplay loop of: Explore-Gather resources-find key item-progress is intact here , the only difference is that you have less rooms to go through and less zombies, it`s more condensed but it`s not shallow, like the classic games you get familiar with the enviroment, you need to backtrack and explore for resources. All the resource judgments you made in the old RE`s of “Should I push on without saving first? Worrying about picking up itens due to inventory space, choosing to spend bullets to kill an enemy” are here and they added on top of that the crafting system which is great and a perfect evolution to the already good powder system in 3 because now you can choose to make bullets or health or even boost your item discovery not to mention the optional upgrades and guns you can get.

The same thought processes you go through while playing the classic games are here, the same type of progression,exploration, resource management, etc this is a Resident Evil game to it`s core and it has way more in common with what made this series great then something like 5 did, as an classic RE fan I cant understand why you dont see/like that, from what I read I can only assume that is because the systems didnt stress you enough to bring out the same feeling as the old games which is why any RE veteran really should play the game on Madhouse because normal is just gonna be too easy for veterans, it was too easy for me I dont think I died once while playing on Normal, hate to keep bringing this up but it really is true Normal was clearly made with the general public in mind, also I think it was a given that Capcom would make the base game easier then the classic games because they`re essentially reintroducing the classic style to a whole generation of people that have only known Resident Evil as an action shooter, on that point I think they did a great job in bringing this style of game, which we havent really seen in over 10 years , to 2017 and removing many of the barriers that kept people from it like the fixed camera and tank controls which to me and you are non issues but we are clearly in the minority.

Ok unto the combat itself, I said when I finnished the game that the first person perspective was a great way to bring back the classic RE structure of gameplay with RE4 shooting, I certainly stand by that and this is important because It`s crazy to me that you found fighting the zombies in the classic games more engaging then the Molded because the combat was certainly not a strength of those games, sure it does the job but the real game is in the resource management only in RE4 forward that went out the window and the combat came to the front.
How do you fight a regular zombie in classic RE? You shoot them a bunch, they fall maybe they get up and then you shoot then again oh yeah you can also shoot then in the head, how do you deal with a zombie if you dont want to waste bullets? You run huging the wall and hope he doesnt catch you, the most you can do with your limited moveset is bait an attack and go past him during his recovery animation.
The molded on the other hand are way more akin to the ganados of 4, first their moveset doesnt just include walking forward to bite you, sometimes they just jump at you or sucker punch you if you`re feeling cocky and turn your back on them, they also dont stand waiting to get shot, the wriggle around making it harder to aim, they shield their heads with their hands. When you fight them you can shoot them in the limbs to cripple them, including the RE4 move of making then fall by shooting then in the leg, even if you cripple then though and they are on the ground they can still jump at you from there, you can of course blow their head of and save ammo that way, also how can you avoid damage from then well you can try and quick turn and run away or try to bait the animation but more importantly you can block which you scoffed at but it`s a great way to mitigate damage and it`s a vital part of combat here, your movement,reload,firing speed of RE7 isnt like other First person games like Doom or Prey the enviroments are also way more cramped so you dont have a lot of space to maneuver even if you could so the block becomes a core part of combat, if you get cornered you dont have to take the damage you can time your block and then escape while the enemy is recovering or to shoot, this type of tool is something other RE games have given you before RE 3 has dodge and a shove that can be really usefull and RE4 has the roundhousekick you can use if you`re surrounded and hell you can even compare the defense itens in remake as a similar tool. That`s the block button is and given how limited your view is give the first person perspective a block makes way more sense then a dodge so it works really well.

Back to the Molded, are they the most interesting enemy to fight in the series?No, not by a long shot and their design is passable at best( which as I mentioned before it`s an issue with the monster designs of RE in general that have been going downhill since 5) they are however more fun and engaging to fight then a regular zombie in the classic games c`mon and they are here to fullfill that function, now it`s bad that the enemy variety doesnt improve a lot and that`s a fair criticism that pretty much everybody has levied at the game, they are vanilla for sure but are way better then later series monsters like zombies with guns and variations of bugs from RE6.

Now onto the boss fights which to me is another thing Im baffled that you disliked they were not only fun to fight for me but great setpieces in of themselfs:
The first fight with Mia is great not only from a story point because it certainly took me by surprise that the damsel in distress was not only found right away but was the first boss, she moves very erratically and can easily kill you with the chainsaw if you`re not paying attention, if you try to run away from her she destroys the entire stage with the saw, cutting through doors and even walls.

The second fight is with Jack is more of a set piece since you were completely defenseless against him before and you`re given a small arena where you have to scramble for resources to use against him, or you can get the key to the car hop in and run him over a couple of times before he gets tired of your shit, which leads to some of the best use of the first person perspective creatively in which he takes over the car and slams both of you into the wall, or if you take to long he`ll just get in the car himself and start doing sick burnouts in the garage and you have to run like crazy try to dodge him.

The third fight is a chainsaw duel, let me say it again CHAINSAW DUEL, if you cant appreciate that you`re dead inside but it doesnt have to be if you dont want to you can just fight him with guns and you can still use the enviroment and some clever blocking to expedite the fight(see AGDQ 2018 for more)

Fourth is Margeritte and she`s my favorite, the first fight in the pit is meh but when she goes full bug mode in the house it`s really fun, she`s really creepy and unnerving to fight and she moves around the whole place making you scramble for ammo to keep her at bay.

Final Jack is kinda of your standard modern RE boss of shoot the glowy bits but I like the use of elevation and how you have to time your blocks and have your aiming on point otherwise you`re fucked.

Evenline at the end is more of a climatic set piece to end the game on rather then a boss fight, ,though she can still kill you, it`s just like the final Birkin from RE2 just an final struggle to end the game on a high note.

Yeah I really like the boss fights in this game they were for the most part inventive and fun.

The last point that you bring which the game has not replay value and that`s certainly not the case, like it was said in the C&R on RE1 the first run is you learning the game and experiencing it and from then on you really start to get in game and optimize your runs, you get unlocks, get a better grasp on mechanics,etc. With RE 7 I did what I havent with a Resident evil game in ages which was play it once and then immediately play it again and keep wanting to play it, the last game I did that was Remake.

4- Conclusion

I dont think of any other way I can express that this is Resident evil to it`s bones and even if you hate this game you should be glad it did well and that it reintroduced all the classic RE elements back that had been completely lost after RE4 because thanks to the success of the game there`s a basis here they can expand, at the very least RE7 has already justified itself just by bringing horror back to the forefront of the series and survival back to Survival horror, you said RE7 is like a horror simulation which to me is crazy because that conjures up images of amnesia, Outlast,etc. Well I hate those game, because they took away the gameplay that I liked and turned survival horror into a walking/ bad hide n seek simulator and my greatest fear was that RE7 was gonna be that but I couldnt be more relieved and pleasantly surprised that what I played was just Resident Evil, the real Resident Evil that I`ve been missing for so long, after playing the unmitigated pile of garbage that is 6 that is so unrecognizable as an RE game that it could pass off any generic 3rd person shooter or Michael Bay production 7 in a light in the darkness, it`s not the best Resident Evil game but it`s far from the worst and more importantly it IS a Resident evil game which cant be said for the games in this franchise in the last 10 years.


On addition to what I said I also wanted to bring up was the feeling of disenpowerment and enpowerment that RE7 captures very well but I think this video here sums it up best, it's long and it goes over each section of the game but it does a good in getting at what I'd mean by that here:


Also just for fun here is the great AGDQ run of RE7 this year :D :

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by rob25X » February 9th, 2018, 7:58 pm

What did you guys think of Resident Evil 6?

I started the game last week and I've only played Leon's first few chapters and Ada's first chapter so far. I'm quite impressed so far though, the action cut-scenes are very cheap and annoying but the gameplay and atmosphere is top notch in my opinion. The shaky cam and camera angles during Ada's escape was incredible.

Many would probably argue the game suffers from being too much of an action game and not enough of a survival horror as was the case with Resi 5. Personally I've enjoyed all the Resi Evil games I've played through the years.

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Re: All things Resident Evil (Biohazard)

Post by KSubzero1000 » February 9th, 2018, 10:08 pm

@Todinho:
First of all, thanks for taking the time to respond to me, I really appreciate it. I love this kind of substantial back-and-forth. I also made sure to watch the two videos you posted in their entirety, but more on that later. :)

Now if you don't mind, time for round three. I'll be using selected quotes from your post this time around, to better discern our main points of contention. But I'd like to make one thing clear first: I completely respect your point of view, and I am not trying to convince you otherwise or to prove you wrong in any way. I'm just trying to better explain mine, because I feel like there are some fundamental misunderstandings at play here.
Spoiler: show
  • Various Clarifications
I think it`s fair to say you never really "got past" the First person perspective
It is absolutely fair to say, because I see a clear causative link between this presentation style and all the other issues I have with this game. It doesn't exist in a vacuum.

When it comes to the choice at the end, yeah it`s kinda of pointless
My issue is not that it's merely pointless, it's that the game itself doesn't even commit to it. Lots of choices in The Walking Dead are pointless, but the game at least tries to maintain the illusion of consequence for a little while. When Mia magically spawns near the crashed boat after you've picked Zoe, this is the game creating a massive plot hole out of nowhere because it doesn't follow up on a sequence it introduced a mere 3 minutes earlier. This is straight up trash creative direction and the game would be better off without it.

Also I dont know why mind control is a bridge to far, I mean when talking about pseudo-science an organism mind controlling another is usual fare
My issue is not that it's unrealistic, it's that it devalues the established rules of the universe it takes place in. The Resident Evil universe has always had this tangible, physical quality to it, where every threat was meant to be direct and "real". Suddenly introducing a concept like hallucinations in the seventh entry (and giving it such prominence as part of the plot) completely flies in the face of the conventions and takes away from the established foundations of tension-building. Who's to say Ethan didn't just dream up half the monsters in the game? What's to say that the next RE game won't be a big dream sequence? There is a good reason why works who dive into the whole thematic of dreams / hallucinations / imaginary dimensions are either one-offs (like Inception), or commit to it from the very beginning as a fundamental pillar of their world-building (like Nightmare on Elm Street or Silent Hill).

The scene in which Jack expresses regrets for his actions is the worst offender in that regard. How much of it is a tangible plot element? How much of what he expresses is real, how much is imaginary? How did Jack even get in contact with Ethan after his death? What if this is just Eveline fucking around with Ethan? It means absolutely nothing in the context of the overall story.

All of this, coupled with the unimaginative first-person presentation...

Image
...just make it a complete waste of some otherwise promising material. The voice acting is the best in the entire game, but it's wasted, simply because the writers thought that hallucinations would be a cool plot device all of a sudden.

And here's a quick reminder of what a similar scene who completely commits to its own ambiguous nature can be like with proper presentation:

Image

...Which one of the two do you think people will mention or reference in 50 years? The one with the waggling stick?

As far as powers in Resident evil go it`s way better then other dumb abilities in the series like Alexia Ashford`s fire blood/Pyrokinesis
Whoa whoa whoa, time out man! Are we doing this? Are we really doing this? You wanna talk shit about CODE: Veronica now? Okay, let's go! :lol:


If Mother Nature is capable of creating insects who squirt caustic boiling liquid in self-defense that leaves them enshrouded in their own smoke, somehow I don't think that an insect-human hybrid with flammable blood is all that difficult to accept, especially since the story makes it crystal clear that she had to spend fifteen years in hibernation in order to accommodate her mutation.

Fellow RE fans badmouthing CVX? It's the end of days!

(Can I just take a minute to point out how incredibly happy it made me to have to look up some Attenborough stuff in order to debate the finer lore elements of a silly DreamCast videogame with someone on the other side of the globe in 2017? If there's a better recreational use of the internet, I've yet to see it!)

putting your objective is just a quality of life stuff for people who come back to the game and dont remember where they were
I completely disagree, because you really need to contextualize this stuff first. Showcasing your objective at all times factually devalues the thought process involved in orientation and game flow. If the game tells you "Find Key X", and you then find a key labeled "Dissection Room Key", and you then open your map to see a room called "Dissection Room", or when you find another key labeled "Crow Key", and you then open your map to see several locked doors with a big fat crow symbol slapped onto them, then please explain to me the thought process required in order to navigate the situation.

...Nope, nope, nope. It's definitely not "just" a QoL improvement if it can actively sabotage someone's enjoyment of the game through no fault of their own. It is a dumbing down of the entire experience because the designers are explicitly choosing to baby-sit the least-invested portion of their customers.

If you slapped a GPS onto Metroid Prime or Dark Souls, it'd be the same issue. Puzzles and orientation require a situational awareness and a thought process that simply disappears with this so-called "quality of life stuff". Finding your own way as well the exact method / location to use the keys you find is a huge part of what makes these games so compelling. The best puzzle in the world is completely meaningless if you tell people the answer two seconds later.

(btw the save music is great what`re you talking about)
I'm talking about personality. I'm talking about the way that the old save room tracks completely dominate the experience as soon as you enter the room. I'm talking about being in the foreground rather than in the background. Listen for yourself:


Yes, music is obviously completely subjective, but the RE7 save music simply doesn't pack the punch of the old ones for me. If you told me this was a deleted track from TLoU, I'd have absolutely no trouble believing you.

  • Gameplay Systems
there are less rooms to explore but there is more in each room then ever before
I actually think that's a very interesting point you're making here. It certainly felt to me like there were significantly less overall items than in the previous games while I was playing it, but I looked it up out of curiosity and I stand corrected. According to evilresource, there are a total of 112 different item types in RE7 (including Key Items, Consumables, Special Items & Files), which means it's lodged quite comfortably between RE0 with 104 and REmake with 116, according to my quick calculations at least. Interesting result that I didn't see coming.

boost your item discovery
Yeah, about that. I admit that I actually like the idea behind the Psychostimulants, but I found the implementation to be very frustrating. I only used about 5 in the game, 2 of which worked as intended (which was cool), 2 of which I used even though I had already collected everything in the area, and 1 directly before the Marguerite fight, which meant that the effect was long gone by the time the fight was over. It's a nice concept on paper, but it's only after you use them that it becomes apparent whether or not this was a good idea. There is very little to go on beforehand other than a blind guess.

barriers that kept people from it like the fixed camera and tank controls which to me and you are non issues but we are clearly in the minority
Yeah well, I'm sorry but that doesn't make us wrong. I refuse to believe that tank controls are a true mechanical barrier in the same sense that a specific color palette would be a true barrier to colorblind people. There is nothing that prevent people from using them if they take the 30 seconds necessary to adapt at the beginning of the game. No, the barrier is a psychological one: People are just lazy. Not to mention that most people don't even know what tank controls actually are. Tank controls simply mean character-relative movement. The camera doesn't influence the movement mechanics in any way. That's all it means. RE4 has tank controls, and people were quick to celebrate it as the "end of tank controls!". Hell, even Rocket League has tank controls. When your car faces the screen and you press left on the stick, it'll turn to the right of the screen. But since nobody ever calls them "tank controls", then people have zero issues with them all of a sudden. Pure mental laziness and a catch-all scapegoat nomenclature for "stuff I can't be bothered to take a second to adapt to".

Either that, or everyone who complains is actually a secret CRAB person who finds it more "natural" to strafe than to turn around. Either one's possible, I suppose.

Image
Now, I'm sure it makes financial sense for Capcom to pander to the CRAB market in order to get a whiff of that sweet CRAB money, but let's not pretend like there's any kind of creative integrity behind that decision, please. :P

The core gameplay loop of: Explore-Gather resources-find key item-progress is intact here , the only difference is that you have less rooms to go through and less zombies, it`s more condensed but it`s not shallow, like the classic games you get familiar with the enviroment, you need to backtrack and explore for resources. All the resource judgments you made in the old RE`s of “Should I push on without saving first? Worrying about picking up itens due to inventory space, choosing to spend bullets to kill an enemy” are here
The same thought processes you go through while playing the classic games are here, the same type of progression,exploration, resource management, etc
I think this is exactly where you and I differ, because for me, the mere presence of these features is a lot less important than how they are being contextualized. I'm not disagreeing that the same thought processes "exist" in this game, it's just that they have absolutely no meaning in my eyes.

Even with the limited save system on Madhouse, why would it matter since the game insists on having automatic checkpoints before and after every boss? Don't you see how the stakes differ between dying to Lisa Trevor in REmake and dying in the mines in RE7 if you haven't saved during the entire game? The former puts you back at the very beginning of the game, while the latter just loads the autosave after the boat. Saving in RE7 has only a fraction of the meaning and importance than it does in the older titles.

Why would you worry about picking up items if your inventory is so large and the map so small to begin with? You can just sprint to the next item chest without any issue!

Why would you not choose to spend ammo to kill the standard enemies since the game showers you with ammo at every turn, at least two bossfights (Jack 1 and 2) encourage you to use powerful non-ammo-dependent strategies, and Marguerite has burner fuel behind every corner? When are you ever in actual danger of running out of ammo for good and having to restart the entire game?

It blows my mind that you would consider the progression system to be "intact" if it is being so devalued. There is hardly any actual weight behind any of these choices. No actual consequences.
as an classic RE fan I cant understand why you dont see/like that, from what I read I can only assume that is because the systems didnt stress you enough to bring out the same feeling as the old games
Indirectly, yes. Directly, it's because the implementation of these various mechanics skips the mental effort that is necessary in the classic titles by diluting the stakes and meaning behind each choice, thus leading to my lack of interest and loss of tension.

  • Mechanical Depth
This is probably the most important issue for me, so forgive me if I go into even more detail.

First of all (and I'm really sorry if this sounds rude or anything, I assure you this is not my intention at all!), but I don't think you really understand what I mean when I talk about Depth. That's why we keep having these misunderstandings whenever we talk about TLoU, Rev2, and now RE7. I'm not trying to be a prick or saying that you have bad taste or anything like that, but I think it's important for us to be using the same terminology if we're going to be having a proper analytical discussion about this kind of stuff.

I would strongly recommend you watch at least the first 5 minutes of this video in which Mark Brown explains the difference between depth and breadth:



And perhaps even this 4-page article.

My preferred definition of Depth is fundamentally separate from Breadth (also called Variety), or Theatrics (like Animations and Input Feedback). It's also not the same as Complexity. When I say "Depth" I mean the number of meaningful choices with varying risk/reward ratios and execution barriers that a single ruleset has been built in order to accommodate. Not how many rules, or how many meaningless variables there are. Or how "fun" the system is. Just "how high is the skill ceiling that I might be able to touch through the mastery of these mechanics?".

Depth will always be the main priority for me in any kind of action game.
Breadth will always be secondary.
And Theatrics will always be tertiary.

Of course, a great game should ideally be a combination of all three, but this is, and will probably always remain, my order of priorities.

Fun is inherently subjective, and therefore not quantifiable. But Depth is. And this is where RE7 falls completely flat on its face. First, let's take a look at the kind of mechanical depth that the classic games have:





The above are perfect examples of people learning the ins and outs of the combat / movement systems and achieving borderline pixel-perfect mastery over them. But this stuff is only achievable because the mechanical structure of these games is both rigid and reliable enough to accommodate it in the first place. This is high-level play.

Keep in mind, I am not saying that the above examples are inherently "fun" to achieve. I can completely understand why you (or others) might find this type of stuff tedious and/or pointless. But this matters a lot to me. A lot of people think that depth and high skill-ceilings only matter in fast-paced input-heavy genres like character action games, sh'm'ups, fighting games, etc... I completely disagree with that notion. I don't have the physical dexterity needed in order to achieve mastery in Cave shooters or Street Fighter, and this is why I've come to appreciate well-structured slow-paced action games with proper room for mechanical improvement like every mainline RE game until 7.

I get that this must sound very strange to you.
It`s crazy to me that you found fighting the zombies in the classic games more engaging then the Molded because the combat was certainly not a strength of those games
How do you fight a regular zombie in classic RE? You shoot them a bunch, they fall maybe they get up and then you shoot then again oh yeah you can also shoot then in the head, how do you deal with a zombie if you dont want to waste bullets? You run huging the wall and hope he doesnt catch you, the most you can do with your limited moveset is bait an attack and go past him during his recovery animation.
There is a lot of nuance missing from that description. Let me give you a small example of what I mean:

Whenever a zombie falls to the ground during combat in REmake, it immediately presents the player before a choice. There is the low risk/low reward option that you've been describing, but there is also the high risk/high reward option of running towards him and knifing him a few times in order to conserve ammo. You have to very precise in calculating how much time it will take you to get there, how many times you can stab him before he gets back up, and when you should stop, turn around and run away again before he catches you. And the system will allow you that option as long as you don't mess up the execution. There is no hidden RNG that might fuck you over. The only thing standing between you and the ideal outcome is your own execution barrier. Nothing else. That's why quick decision making is important. The ruleset may be simple, but it does have depth, believe it or not. And there are a lot more subtle little touches than what I just described. Every action has a tangible reaction that you can strategize around. That stuff plays a very big part in why I find the old games to be so rewarding and replayable.


Now obviously, even the old games pale in comparison to RE4 when it comes to mechanical depth. Have a look at this:



This is mid-to-high level gameplay footage of Yours Truly, taken two weeks ago while trying to improve my Village Mercs score. It's actually kind of a bad run and I messed up a lot of my strats during the second half of the run, but I think it serves as a good vertical slice of the kind of Depth that the game is able to provide. It contains examples of:

0:35 - Multiple animations bait and time-sensitive exploitation of enemy recovery phases.
1:20 - C-Turning.
1:28 - Aggroing through FOV shots & subsequent backing up.
1:50 - Projectile cancelling through explosion
2:13 - Exploitation of the hyper-vulnerability property during the enemy's recovery phase...
2:19 - ...Followed by another split-second animation bait on the second Bella.
3:06 - Activation of the explosion within the "Sweet spot" which harms enemies but provides i-frames to Hunk.
3:33 - Instantaneous "tech" reload activated by triggering the animation within the aforementioned sweet spot.
3:40 - Exploitation of the i-frames during melee moves to survive the chainsaw attack.
4:50 - Strategic use of the incendiary grenade in order to slow them down and to set up the following hand grenade.
7:10 - Repeated projectile cancelling in response to the specific sound cues.

And believe me, there is a lot more where that came from. I didn't even get into more obscure stuff like drop rates or spawn zones or anything like that. But this is what I mean by depth. None of these are extra mechanics, that would be Breadth. No, these are all advanced techniques that can be reliably re-enacted based on the exploitation of the basic ruleset of the game. This is Depth. This is me trying to reach the skill ceiling of a 13-year old game, and still seeing a lot of room for improvement.

Again, I am not saying that this is the "best" way to play the game or anything like that. But this type of stuff has been an integral part of the Resident Evil gameplay formula since the very beginning, and heavily expanded upon by those, like me, who appreciate this kind of things. If you don't care, that's totally fine, this may not mean much to you. But this is what I've come to expect from mainline RE titles.

The molded on the other hand are way more akin to the ganados of 4, first their moveset doesnt just include walking forward to bite you, sometimes they just jump at you or sucker punch you if you`re feeling cocky and turn your back on them, they also dont stand waiting to get shot, the wriggle around making it harder to aim, they shield their heads with their hands. When you fight them you can shoot them in the limbs to cripple them, including the RE4 move of making then fall by shooting then in the leg, even if you cripple then though and they are on the ground they can still jump at you from there, you can of course blow their head of and save ammo that way, also how can you avoid damage from then well you can try and quick turn and run away or try to bait the animation
I need to be perfectly clear: This has nothing to do with depth. You are merely listing meaningless variables that do not influence the skill factor in any tangible way. What you're describing here are mostly randomized AI factors without any room for mechanical exploitation on the part of the player. Sure, these are all choices that the player can make, but there aren't any interesting risk/reward systems behind these choices. There is no tangibility to this system, because it was never built with the goal of accommodating a high skill ceiling. The combat in RE7 was designed to feel dangerous and tense, but not to be rewarding to master. There are no meaningful choices to be made. The best example of this is when you shoot their legs and they fall on the ground. Whether you do it or not, you will have to block their next attack in the same way. If both options lead to the same result without any trade-off, it means that this is not a strategic decision-making process!

Just because you can do X instead of Y doesn't mean there is any interesting reason as to why you should.

I'm sorry to get so technical here, I get that this stuff doesn't mean anything to most players, but to me this is a significant part of what makes all the other mainline RE games such rewarding experiences. No matter your actual skill ceiling, you always have room for improvement. With all that being said...

you can block which you scoffed at but it`s a great way to mitigate damage and it`s a vital part of combat here, your movement,reload,firing speed of RE7 isnt like other First person games like Doom or Prey the enviroments are also way more cramped so you dont have a lot of space to maneuver even if you could so the block becomes a core part of combat, if you get cornered you dont have to take the damage you can time your block and then escape while the enemy is recovering or to shoot
Yes, that's a fair point. The block is indeed the most substantial part of the RE7 combat system. But I'm afraid it's also the only one. The difference between a pro RE7 player and a novice will mostly be about block-timing in terms of combat.

I shouldn't have been so dismissive of the block mechanic. It's not a bad one. But it's kind of the only one. The aiming is too floaty and the enemy movement patterns too randomized to make the shooting genuinely skill-dependent.

they are however more fun and engaging to fight then a regular zombie in the classic games c`mon
I think this perfectly encapsulates the difference between the ways you and I approach combat in RE. You want it to be fun and engaging, which is why you're having a blast with TLoU and Rev2. I want it to be fun and deep, which is why I'm so disappointed in these later titles. The fluidity of the animations is just.. an afterthought to me. I don't care how it "feels", I care how it "works".

Now... Please tell me that all this at least makes some sense to you, otherwise I will have completely wasted my evening. :P

(see AGDQ 2018 for more)
Yeah, about that... I watched the entire run, and if you compare the sheer amount of time during which the runner was either...

- Praying for good RNG
- Getting screwed over by unpredictable RNG
- Being bored out of his mind during the unskippable cutscenes or scripted sequences
(in other words, completely unsubstantial gameplay)

...with the actually interesting sequences of manipulating the various script triggers and execution-heavy strats, then you might find out that the balance will ever so slightly tip in favor of the first group. And this is exactly why I said that this game didn't have any replay value in my eyes. If even one of the best players in the world only needs to actually be at the controller for one-third of the entire runtime, then there is something very wrong with the game.

Yes, there were a few nice moments during certain bossfights and in the mines at the end. But you will witness a significantly higher ratio of interesting decisions / execution barrier per minute from watching a REmake or RE4 speedrun.

Again, it's great that you love the game, I'm not trying to take anything away from your enjoyment, but perhaps now you might better understand why I found it so disappointing.

Out of curiosity, when was the last time you did a proper speedrun / kniferun / Mercs score-chasing or any other kind of superplay from any classic RE including 4? This doesn't seem to be your thing, so I'd just like to know if you have a frame of reference for all this stuff I'm talking about.

I mean, I get why it feels like Resident Evil to so many people, but for me... it's all just smoke and mirrors.

you make alot of comparisons to Remake
Yes, because the game itself does, with its Mansion design, shotgun statue puzzle, wooden house near the water, mines section, etc... It's young and brash and sure of it's own strength, because it has all the technology that money can buy in its corner. Because it knows how to beat people over the head with its shallow bag of tricks. But in the end, it falls short of the comparison because it doesn't have the spirit of the old REmake, or the Technique, or any genuine understanding of the stakes at play here.

Image
It Talks the Talk, but it doesn't Walk the Walk.
The RagnarRox video you posted is really cool, I can see why people would find the thematic character progression interesting. All I can say is that I'm looking for very different things in my RE. Of all the video critiques I've seen, my overall opinion is probably best represented by TGB, even though he's a tiny bit more positive than I would be:





Image
Peace! :P

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Re: Our next podcast recording (17.2.18) - 307: Resident Evil 2 (Biohazard 2)

Post by Todinho » February 13th, 2018, 12:01 am

While as a child I only watched my father play through the original Resident Evil the sequel was the first game in the franchise I played it by myself and I'll never forget that intro: Out 2 leads slowly realizing something is terribly wrong in the city, the truck explosion separating them, meeting the gun shop owner only to have him die to a swarm of zombies immediatly after and that mad dash through the streets overtaken by the undead until reaching the Police Station. Sufice to say RE2 made a pretty good first impression on me from the get go, as a child I beat Scenario A but never went through Scenario B and got the true ending(for reasons I'll elaborate ) later though I replayed the game and since have beaten it multiple times.

The first thing that strikes me when it comes to RE2 is how the scenarios work, in the first game you had 2 characters each that went on their on campaigns with small variations within them but in 2 you have 2 scenarios that both characters can go through and depending how you do them you can affect the story giving you effectivelly 4 different campaigns you can playthrough. It might sound like a smal thing and it is but I always found the idea very neat and dont think I've ever seen a game try a similar system since which only make RE2 stand out more.

The second are the pre rendered backgrounds, not only do they look great at the time but especially after coming back to the game many years later it's amazing how much they help in preserving the game's atmosphere, while the 3D models and CG cutscenes have aged terribly the pre rendered backgrounds still look as good today as they did back in 1998 and are a vital part in preserving the game's horror aesthetic.

Gameplaywise the game is certainly an improvement over the first, combat overall feels alot better with some new interesting enemies thrown in but also how the guns handle and feel, while still constricted to the combat of the first game actually firing guns in this game feels way better then the Resident evil 1 to me. It's also worth to point out that Resident Evil 2 while still being a fairly open game is more linear then it's predecessor, while you can backtrack through the entire map in RE1 by the end, RE2 is sectioned off in 2 clear "phases" the Police station and the Lab, I think this is interesting to note here because much like the gradual increase in action this will be an ongoing trend of the series going foward.

If I have one issue with the game is Scenario B which is alot weaker then A in my opinion, while alot of people like Mr X and he's certainly scary the first time he shows up he never really felt much of a threat to me even the first time I played it as a child and even his design is kinda of boring to look at for me, compare him to the much more interesting William Birkin and his constant evolutions and Mr X just feels like a distraction, to me he's a concept that would only be fully realized in the next game.

Residen Evil 2 isnt my favorite game in the series but it's without a doubt one of the best survival horror games ever made doing everything a good sequel should by expanding and refining almost every aspect of the original and it sits comfortably for me as the third best entry.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (17.2.18) - 307: Resident Evil 2 (Biohazard 2)

Post by AndrewBrown » February 13th, 2018, 3:46 am

By the time I played Resident Evil 2, I was older, wiser, and more cynical than the scared little boy sitting in the dark after being abandoned by his brother. Zombies had become rote and predictable. The awkward dialog and crude character models were amusing rather than off-putting. As though aware that this may happen, Resident Evil 2 was prepared for me: When I rounded a corner in the Raccoon City Police Department and saw a creature creep by the window, I was unnerved. I was accustomed to a crash of glass and the swell of tense music when a Cerberus leapt through a window. This first sighting of a Licker deliberately subverted that expectation: A fleeting glimpse accompanied only by the faintest clicking of its claws on the side of the building, followed by a tense silence. I stood motionless, staring at that window, waiting for the jump scare that never came. It was an anti-jump scare, and scarier than anything else in the entire videogame. It took several minutes of steeling my nerves before I could walk through that door and view that iconic first appearance of a Licker on the ceiling.

If Resident Evil is the proof-of-concept, then Resident Evil 2 is the prototype. The series' ideas existed in that first incarnation, but the bones that typify the next few releases are laid down here and expanded upon to create something far more human and engaging. The limited setting of a spooky mansion is exploded to a city enveloped in viral apocalypse. Glamorous elite soldier player characters are replaced by untrained civilians caught in situations beyond their control or understanding. The greed of a single man is revealed to be symptomatic of an entire corporation and its competitors which have transcended morality to pursue profit and power for their own sake. The fixed camera angles are more claustrophobic, the puzzles more esoteric; the secrets more deviously buried. Perhaps the secret to advance from proof-of-concept to prototype, as evidenced by Resident Evil 2, is more, more, more.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (17.2.18) - 307: Resident Evil 2 (Biohazard 2)

Post by Suits » February 13th, 2018, 10:43 am

After the personal milestone that was the first one, I think that I was unusually late to the second entry, I can’t remember if I bought this one, or borrowed a copy. I do know that my current PS1 copy isn’t the original one I played through and one I picked up a few years later.

Last summer I completed a GameCube playthrough of RE:2, the first since I first played it through some time back when it first came out on the PS1. I’d grown hungry for the experience again after hearing about the possible re-make and decided I couldn’t wait any longer and reached for my copy from my shelf.

I played through as Claire this time and again, I didn’t play through the repeat game with the second character. I’m sure that if this was your new game, you’d be perhaps encouraged to play through the same game again with a different character – mind you, I didn’t when I first played it all those years ago.

I think graphically there is an improvement over the first one, the backgrounds look more detailed and the lighting looks sharper than the first one but again, this is the GameCube version which will be enhanced over the original PS1 game so is perhaps an unfair comparison. I’m a big fan of the fixed camera angles and off-screen audio clues to what is coming up, the second one feels like it leans more into this, or maybe I just notice it more.

Puzzles seem lighter to me in this one and less story based, I don’t know, the legitimacy of the puzzles felt more at home in a creepy, secluded mansion than it did in an inner town police station. Not that they really make sense in any reality but the Mansion seemed much more believable than a Police Station. It also feels like there is less of a branching path, or illusion of at very least. It’s perfectly plausible to not find out/work out that you can weaken Plant 42 in the first one with the poison, rather than using a stack of ammo to kill it. I don’t remember there being any similar scenarios in this game – or maybe I just didn’t find them.

I don’t feel as interested in the story or the characters this time around either, I remember feeling the same when I first played it and it felt the same more recently too. Maybe it’s the setting of this game, or what to me feels like lesser compelling mystery surrounding the whole affair, it’s like I’ve now seen the monster and I’m no longer wowed by it.

I feel like I want to like RE:2 more than I do, it feels shorter (maybe because I only really want to play half of the game I suppose) and more muddled than the Spencer Mansion did. The areas feel more open and less creative than the previous game also.

Reading through other peoples thoughts on the game I seem to perhaps be in the minority here, I still enjoyed the game and looing back at it in the series I feel that it’s as essential as any other entry, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as the first game.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (17.2.18) - 307: Resident Evil 2 (Biohazard 2)

Post by Simonsloth » February 13th, 2018, 10:29 pm

I just want to say I’ve really enjoyed reading all the posts in this thread. I love the nostalgia and personal anecdotes because a lot (maybe all) grew up on these games and it’s great to hear the personal experiences that everyone had!

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