I was but a tender wee thing when my then-boyfriend (now-husband) bought me a Gamecube copy of the remastered Resident Evil game. He knew of my love for all things spooky and told me “You’ll love this! It’s a classic horror game, really scary.” As much as I did enjoy scary things, I’d never played any horror video games.
As he played some shiny computer game on his PC behind me, I sat at his old-fashioned tube TV and started my adventure in Spencer Mansion.
I remember that summer as being full of jump scares, zombie dogs, and the horror that is Lisa Trevor. I remember that summer as being the one where I fell in love with Resident Evil.
I didn’t have the systems capable of playing Resident Evil 2 or 3 at the time, so I skipped straight to Resident Evil Zero, also for Gamecube. Yeah, it was… fun! I mean, the dynamic was a little trickier, but the story was still pretty solid and the combat seemed more fluid. So far, so good.
Then came Resident Evil 4. Oh, my sweet baby. This game got me through some of the toughest years of college. I played it once and fell in love. Played it again, just to find more treasures. Played it again when I found out that I could get an infinite rocket launcher. Again, again, again, and it never got tiring — well, of course, except for Ashley. She sucks. (“LEON!!!”)
After that, well… things sort of went downhill.
I waited four long years for Resident Evil 5. Four long, patient years. I DID MY WAITING! And then when it came out…
Fart noise. That’s the only thing I can use to describe it.
I mean, the update to a secondary character not being a complete burden was nice. Sheva was cool and could take care of herself. But there was just something… lacking. I mean, wow, another exotic locale infected by a parasite. Another village I have to mow down. More big bosses. A few extremely frustrating vehicle chase scenes. While I can recall El Gigante from RE4 and Lisa Trevor from RE1, I can’t recall a single memorable moment from RE5 other than gross-jelly-monster-Wesker. And at that point it’s like, okay. I don’t care.
Truth: I didn’t even finish playing this one for almost two full years. I only picked it up again because I heard Resident Evil 6 was coming out and thought, well, I guess I should.
So I finished it. Weeeeeeee.
Surely, I thought. Surely Resident Evil 6 will soothe my aching heart, hold me close to its spooky bosom and tell me everything’s going to be all right, then scare the shit out of me.
Nope. Between the jittery story shifts and the lackluster story I was just… not impressed. To this day I haven’t finished it, and RE6 came out in 2012.
So. Four more years of waiting in Azkaban and now here we are. I sort of suspected maybe Capcom was done with Resident Evil. In my opinion, their issue was that the games started to mimic the horrendous film series far more than its original eerie ancestor. Now, to be fair, it’s not that the film series itself is terrible. Not great, no, but not terrible. It’s just… not in the spirit of the original Resident Evil. It’s far more “ACTION SHOOT GUNS GUNS FLIP BULLET TIME WOOOOO” than “creeping alone through a dark mansion, trying to find clues, unraveling a mystery.” And for the box office, I get it. But not for my console.
That being said, when my husband played the Resident Evil 7 trailer for me yesterday, I was cautiously guarded, like a shelter dog who’s been adopted and returned one too many times. I can no longer give you my heart, Capcom. You have stomped on it again and again.
And then, well, god dammit.
That ambiance. That song. EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. OH GOD I WANT TO LOVE IT, CAPCOM, I WANT TO, BUT HOW DO I KNOW YOU WON’T HURT ME AGAIN?!
So I downloaded the 17-minute playable teaser today, which is apparently not actually part of the gameplay — but meant to give you an idea of the upcoming game, due for release in January 2017.
And god dammit.
It’s good. Like, really really good. Much less “The Matrix” and far more “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” While some may cry “WALKING SIMULATOR!” that’s far from the case. There are clearly inventory items, things to pick up and investigate, and action happening. Not to mention the utter genius of the VHS tape you pick up.
I won’t spoil much, but when I figured out that the VHS tape I had slid into the VCR wasn’t just something I was watching, but something I was now PARTICIPATING in “Ghost Adventures” style? Well, from that point, I was hooked.
The end of the teaser only cemented what I had begun to suspect from the start: Resident Evil 7 has returned to its horror roots. I actually felt my heart pound as I hurried for the back door. I was terrified as I scrambled through my virtual inventory for the key. I was relieved when the door opened and I saw the sunlight — but as you might have guessed, it’s just not that easy.
The final thing we are left with, for now, is this cryptic message:
The Family is expecting you early 2017
Open the door to the “Resident Evil Ambassador Program” #re7
You better believe I have already applied for said program and can’t wait to hear back. I’m also very excited to see Capcom actively reaching out to its audience, looking for feedback, getting us involved. I have so much to say. I don’t want to give up on you. I want this to be as good as it looks and not a total bummer, like so many games of the past.
I have hope for you, Resident Evil 7. Don’t let me down.