Resident Evil 7 released this week, for those who somehow lacked working internet for the past few months. It certainly takes liberties with the series’s formula and in some ways returns to its roots while in other ways tries something different, and the latter is where the controversy stems from. Perhaps the time is right to reopen the box that no one wants to open and discuss what truly makes a proper Resident Evil game.

As a disclaimer, I won’t pretend to be unbiased as I’ve always favoured the older series and the Revelations titles and I probably won’t play the full game of 7 for quite a while so I’m not going to make a definitive judgement or rank it against the other main line titles until I’ve seen it through to the end. As it stands, my ranking is as follows:
10) 6
9) 5
8) Revelations 2
7) 0
6) CVX
5) Revelations
4) 4
3) 1
2) 3
1) 2

I remember fighting this troll and thinking to myself that I love this game, in spite of it being a huge departure from its predecessors.

I remember fighting this troll and thinking to myself that I love this game, in spite of it being a huge departure from its predecessors.

Unless otherwise prompted I will refrain from going into too much detail about why I ranked these games accordingly, but the short answer is I hate the forced partner system (and am not thrilled with Chris continuing on without even acknowledging Jill), and while I generally dislike the heavy action approach I have to admit that 4 is a solid title and is a direction I would have supported had the series actually gone that way, hence why I refuse to lump it in with 5 or 6. However, the fourth numbered title is the first time I created two different scales for judging a Resident Evil title: how it is as a game, and how it is as a Resident Evil game.

My ranking above is based purely according to how I think each title stacks up as a Resident Evil game, but that might sound ludicrous to some as games should probably be judged first and foremost as just games. However, a big concern for me has always been how well a title captures the spirit of the older games, which has only really been a concern because I can’t help but feel the previous two titles deviated too far from the roots of the series.

Now, based on first impressions after playing the demo, I can say that I still have my doubts about 7, largely because it feels like it’s cashing in on a new trend, albeit objectively closer to the older titles than the awful Michael Bay trend of 2013, but still falling short in some respects. I’m glad the focus is on puzzles rather than combat, and that ammo and saves are limited, and that scares are present, but the first person perspective and the fact that no existing Resident Evil characters are in this game just doesn’t sit well with me so far.

It's a monster! Here's hoping 7 truly captures the spirit of this title where it counts.

It’s a monster! Here’s hoping 7 truly captures the spirit of this title where it counts.

That said, the dichotomy I created with 4 has reared its ugly head yet again. This newest game appears to be a good or even downright great first person horror title, and I do embrace this style of gameplay in titles like Outlast. However, as a Resident Evil title, it doesn’t appear to stack up as well as the Revelations games. As I said before though, I can’t write it off just yet, and maybe the full game will manage to quell my doubts or at the very least sell me on its changes like 4 did many moons ago, or at least I’m hoping it will.

It occurs to me that approaching each game as a Resident Evil title and ranking it based on standards I hold this series to specifically effectively puts blinders on me and possibly causes me to unfairly judge a game, but I also feel that if Capcom wants to experiment they ought to either create a new series or make spinoffs. I’m also aware that there’s a rift between what longtime fans of the series such as myself want and what a modern gamer looking to check out a new horror game wants.

Whether it’s hypocritical or not though, I’ll stick to my guns and hold my position in what seems like an ongoing war between both old and new fans. I’ll just refrain from allowing 7 to get caught in my crosshairs until such time as I finally play it as I think that’s only fair.

What are your thoughts on the progression of the Resident Evil games? What do you think makes a good Resident Evil title? As always feel free to leave your comments below.

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