Resident Evil 7: Biohazard released to critical acclaim in January of 2017, looking and feeling like a complete breath of fresh air for the venerable series. The switch to first-person view, the inspired locale and the excellent Jack Baker combined to create a great soft reboot for the series and just a bloody good horror experience in all.
Now that the dust is settling (and whilst I twiddle my thumbs waiting for the delayed DLC), I’ve had a few thoughts about where I’d like the next main installment of the series to go and do (spoilers follow):
Introduce more varied enemies. The classic Resi zombie is now long gone, confined to some rubbish appearances in Resident Evil 6 and a few spin offs. I’m quite happy with the new Molded enemies; they provide a good middle ground between shambling undead and slithery proto-horror that felt creepy to encounter and enjoyable to fight. However; more variations are needed if the series is going to progress. I’d love to see some Licker-like monstrosities erupting through windows in RE8. Those fuckers were awful in the best possible way.
Give us an interesting protagonist. Christ, Ethan was a bore. The flattest of video game personalities since Peter Dinklage’s Ghost. I’m not asking for a superhero, boulder-punching comedian fighter pilot, just someone with a bit more about him or her. Give us a decent backstory. Allow the character the odd quip or two. Make them react in a believable way to the horrific occurances unfurling before them.
Be creative with the setting. The Louisiana bayou’s and creepy mansion in 7 were excellent; arguably the most alluring aspect of the game. However, there needs to be something new in the next installment that maintains the fresh feeling. I’m thinking there is scope for the series to return to a ruined city aesthetic, despite Resident Evil 2 Remake being an upcoming thing (give us some more damn news!). With the first-person perspective taking centre stage, running through claustrophobic alleys and apartments could be thrilling if done well.
Albert Wesker returns as main antagonist. Just kidding.
Ramp up the horror. There’s a part of Resi 7 where you are navigating an abandoned series of corridors and rooms with no enemies; just the closest, creepiest atmosphere I’ve certainly ever experienced in the series (you know the one). This section highlighted a brilliance in both horror design and mechanics by Capcom: To put it simply; they’ve still got it. In Resi 8, I’d like to see more of this talent shine through, with larger sections of exploration taking place sans-enemy, with a focus on inducing genuine panic in the player. Full disclosure – I haven’t played that bit in VR, nor do I want to. At all.
Resident Evil 7 seriously impressed me as a long-time fan of the series, and it would have been a true contender for my Game of the Year had Breath of the Wild not come along (who knows, maybe the upcoming RE7 DLC will change things…). My hype for the eighth main installment grows like a Molded’s phallic appendages. Looking forward to it, Capcom!