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I couldn't help but think this while recently playing Amy on the Xbox Live Arcad. A survival horror game where you try to protect a little girl with powers, while making your way through a zombie filled city. Honestly I never got up to the part where I find the little girl. Amy's sluggish controls and camera turn me off immediately, did this game come from PS1 era of survival horror games?
Back in the day games like Resident Evil and Silent hill, had these sluggish problems as a way to set up tension while playing. "Oh I can't see what's around the corner" then boom you walk right into a monsters deadly arms. I've played survival horror games with great controls and camera work yet still got scared silly, the Condemned series achieved this brilliantly.
Played entirety through a first person and you rarely have guns, instead a great melee system helps you fight off crazy homeless people, crack heads and other weirdos. Its atmosphere gets to you, when you hear things from behind only to turn around and see a shadow run by. I definitely recommend this to any survival horror fan , please give this series a play through, and hope one day soon it gets another sequel.
Is a first person view the best way to experience true horror?
No, recent games like Alan Wake and Dead Space. Still give you the spooks from a third person view, honestly Dead Space was the last great survival horror game I played. Amazing tension through out, I never knew what kind of horror was lurking around the corner. Your thrown into crazy situations, where you either got to button smash your way through a sequence or fight of a horde of monsters while dangling upside helplessly. Inventory management with your items and weapons, lets you decide how you like to fight of these monsters. You earn credits which help buy more ammo or upgrade your equipment.
What makes a survival horror game?
Does having limited inventory, odd controls, sluggish movement and hordes of the undead, define a survival horror game to you? Even some of the franchises that defined the genre back of the day are changing there ways. Resident Evil 5 played more like Army of Two, The upcoming Resident Evil:Operation Racoon City plays like a war shooter with zombies now. I hear Dead Space 3 is going to have co-op and have more action then scares, is there something wrong with setting tension in a game? I look to Silent Hill Downpour and hope it maintains its roots but it doesn't look good when series composer Akira Yamaoka isn't involved any more. His music defined Silent Hill to me and many fans, it would be like making a Star wars movie without John Williams.
Is there a future for this genre of gaming?
I'd like to think there is, sure some franchises take it down a more action route like Resident Evil and Left 4 dead. Games like Alan Wake, Dead Space and Condemned give me hope. I really would like to see this genre evolve whether it be bigger worlds or choices, or even more online integration. Dead Island sounded promising on paper with its multiple quests, RPG elements and open world. Yet its technical problems hurt its vision, I really would like to see an open world online survival horror game. Almost MMO like, where your in a zombie apocalypse. You start off alone, with one place to call home, you need to find supplies like food, weapons and etc to survive. An interesting feature would be that other players could stumble into your world, they can help you or try to kill you for your supplies. The goals of the game could be to escape to a safe haven, find a solution to this epidemic or just build a new empire in this lawless world. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only gamer to think of this idea and I hope I'm not I would to love to see someone out there make this.
Resident Evil: Outbreak was an interesting experiment that I hope Capcom revisits again, hopefully this time communication isn't limited. As our gaming hardware gets more advance. So will our gaming genres, just play one of your favorite game genre's from the past and compare it to now. The survival horror genre isn't dead more like undead, it shambles onward looking for its next victim. As we enter a new year of gaming I am hopeful to see some new and exciting things to come from this genre and maybe one day I will get my giant open world survival horror zombie apocalypse game….well it's looking like maybe I finally will.
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