The Fall of Survival Horror


My Deepest Condolences

When I was 12 years old I played my first actual “scary” game. That game was Resident Evil Director’s Cut. Now coming from games like Crash Bandicoot, and Tony Hawk, Resident Evil was definitely a change of pace for this adolescent. Resident Evil was terribly written, terribly voiced, and had fixed camera angles coupled with tank controls…. And I loved every bit of it! I never experienced something so mature and morbid. The title screen alone was enough inflect terror, but pressing the X button and hearing the infamous “RESIDENT EVIL” sent chills down my spine as the controller shook with emphasis. But something happened when I first played Director’s cut. All the halls I ran down, all the zombies I ran from, all the ink ribbons I used and all the doors I opened while patiently waiting to see what lie on the other side. Something happened. I was experiencing my first “survival horror” game, and I would never play games the same again. Survival horror is somewhat of an archaic term these days; as most developers have leaned two one side, either complete horror or total action.

The Resident Evil games of yore were the perfect balance of both, and I know I sound like the old guy at the barbershop droning on about the ”good ol’ days” but hear me out. To me “survival horror” is more than just a name you give scary games with low ammo and puzzles. It’s a certain feel. The Resident Evil trilogy (among many other great titles like Dino Crisis, Silent Hill and Parasite Eve) ruled the psone era, but I feel there were a few notable PS2 era titles that people may have forgotten about such as The Suffering, and Manhunt. The latter being a game I feel was great at depicting what a snuff film might look like as a video game, being gory, disturbing and absolutely unsettling, it’s definitely worth a play through.

The troubles began with the PS3 era with questionable titles like Resident 5 & 6. We had games that fell on either side but not in the middle, games like Dead Space being on the scary side, and The last Of Us falling on the survival side. With the industry moving ever more closer to all multiplayer the market for traditional survival horror games is dying. This generation does have some promising titles like The Evil Within, Until Dawn, and SOMA, and with the hopes of a Walking Dead season 3 all hope isn’t lost especially with talk of a Resident Evil 2 remake. My all time favorite survival horror game will always be Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and the feeling I got when Nemesis impaled “chicken heart” Brad Vickers outside the Police Station WILL NOT be forgotten. I guess it’s better to have loved and lost than too… well you know the rest. Peace.

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