Resident Evil... Sevennnnnnn
Resident Evil 6 wasn't a bad game, but it definitely wasn't what we expected (or wanted) from a Resident Evil sequel and, from the sounds of it, most of you agree. Its because of this general sense of dissatisfaction that makes us think that Capcom might want to take the franchise in a different direction in the future--and we're pretty sure there's going to be a future.
What should Capcom do with Resident Evil 7? We've come up with a list of the things we want from the inevitable sequel to gaming's first big zombie franchise.
Stick with multiple campaigns, but make them more unique...
Though some had issues with Resident Evil 6's multiple campaigns, we actually loved the idea (dont forget that Resident Evil 2 had multiple campaigns, too). By breaking the plot into three or four 4-6 hour campaigns instead of one 20+ hour epic, you're giving gamers interested in bite-sized plots what they want, while still allowing those interested in longer games to get the proper, lengthy tale they want. Everybody wins!
That said, we don't want what we got in Resident Evil 6: Three extremely similar campaigns with different stories. Needing to collect X lost things in each campaign or fight the same immortal enemies over and over again got old, and we'd prefer three campaigns with distinctly unique feels throughout. Give them their own quirks, don't rely on the same formula for all of them.
And have them cross over more
Some of the coolest moments from RE6 involved the plot lines crashing together in explosive moments. If Resident Evil 7 keeps the multiple campaigns, we also want it to keep the crossovers. Actually, we want them to happen more often, even if it's just in the form of quick cutscenes. Have characters talk to each other over radio, or see each other from afar, just to keep the connection going.
Some should be full-blown co-op sections, like the boss battles, while others can essentially be set dressing to remind you that the other characters are still off doing their own thing. Either way, it makes the events feel more important, and helps them weave into one massive narrative, instead of a few small ones.
Focus on solo play, not co-op
That said, we hope that at least one or two of the campaigns in RE7 focus on the single-player experience, instead of the cooperative one. Sure, RE6 was wholly playable alone, and the AI teammate was nothing if not serviceable, but there's something about being alone in a horror game that just makes it more scary. Like, much more scary.
Maybe there can be more co-op sections in the crossovers, since that would be a nice middle ground, but we feel like we should go most of our RE7 journey solo. That way, we can worry about surviving alone, instead of praying that our teammate revives us with magical plant spray after we've been smashed into the ground by a giant. On that note
Tone down the super powers
Lickers? Cool. Zombie dogs? Awesome. Occasional super monsters? Alright, if used sparingly. A nonstop barrage of mutant monsters with machine guns and extra limbs? That's a little much. While the enemies of Resident Evil 6 made sense within the context of that story (and the way the plot has been going for a decade), we think it's time to close the door on B.O.W.s. Umbrella has been killed ten times over now, let's forget about their super serums.
And while we're at it, let's strip our heroes of super powers too. We don't need our protagonists leaping across the room and kicking monsters to death, and we certainly don't need super healing. Let's strip this puppy down to the basics.
Bring back traditional zombies
Part of getting back to the basics is in reintroducing the most basic form of enemy: the slow, shambling, stupid zombie. Resident Evil 6 saw them get a slight resurgence, but we want a full-blown zombie outbreak in Resident Evil 7, one much more in line with the Raccoon City Incident than anything we've had in the past three RE games.
That's not to say we don't want some special zombies or mutants, but they should be "special"--the exception to the rule, not the rule. The fact that it's special when we see a zombie and less so when we see a giant moth proves that something needs to change.
Scale down the story or make it a reboot
Resident Evil's story has gotten out of control. Wesker has super kids, there are giants wandering the streets, all of the heroes of the past games have been turned into national heroes--it's got to stop. If the next Resident Evil game continues to escalate things we'll be kicking planet-sized monsters into the sun by the third act. Things need to be reigned in, either via a prequel or something totally unrelated. Why not tell the Racoon City Incidents story from the perspective of someone else who we never met? Someone else is sure to have survived that--lets hear their story.
What might be even better is to just reboot the entire thing. Capcom can release Resident Evil all over again, totally revamped with everything the developer now knows and the power of the current generation. Maybe, this time, it'll be able to keep things simpler, otherwise they'll be dealing with the same problem in a few years time.
Keep the improvements to controls from RE6
Just because we want a reboot doesn't mean we want Capcom to ignore the progress it has made. The controls in Resident Evil 6 were fluid, striking a perfect balance between what was when RE first released and what is in 2012. The inclusion of the "quick shot" is a leap forward for the entire genre, and we'd be crushed if that was removed for the sake of a more "classic" experience.
But get rid of the quick-time events. Seriously. All of them. RE6 was lousy with them, and if we have to pound X to open a door or tap the trigger to shoot an enemy during a QTE we're not going to be happy. Not one bit. And fix the inventory and UI, too--that thing was a mess.
Bring in some new faces
Jake's addition to Resident Evil 6 was a good one, mainly because it actually added a new person to the Resident Evil lore. In the past few games the new characters have been intentionally disposable, with Sheva and Ashley being ignored in the sequels as though they weren't partially responsible for saving the world. We want more of that. We want new characters to connect to, even if that means outright abandoning old ones.
We wouldn't mind seeing some of our favorites come back in some way, though we'd like for it to be kept to cameos. Maybe Leon can show up on a newspaper, or Chris can be shown on TV doing whatever it is Chris is doing now. We just think it's time to shine the spotlight on someone new.
Make sure it's scary
Resident Evil 6 was an experiment for Capcom that pushed the Resident Evil franchise even further away from fear. In the end, it ended up as a fairly serviceable action game, but that's not what we want from Resident Evil. We want fear. We want shocks. We want it to be scary.
More than anything else, we want Resident Evil 7 to be a survivor horror game. There arent enough of those anymore, and Dead Space surpassed Resident Evil in just about every way when it comes to the action-horror genre. Resident Evil is in a good position to focus 100% on scaring the hell out of players, and we can't think of a single thing that would make it better.
Let Cliffy B. fix it... or not...
He saidhe wants to do it, after all!
Then again, the next Resident Evil game will likely debut on next-gen consoles, so for all we know it could be totally unrelated to anything we listed depending on the direction Sony and Microsoft take with their systems. What do you want from the next Resident Evil game?