A BRIEF HISTORY OF HORROR GAMING - PART 2
THE FALL OF TRADITIONAL SURVIVAL HORROR AND THE RISE OF ACTION BASED HORROR
For many, Survival Horror's descent from prominence was the equal of its rise. After the tidal wave of hits that pushed gaming in such exciting new directions, came the inevitable calm. The purity of intent that led developers to embrace the influence of Horror remained, yet like in its cinematic counterparts, Horror gaming was to become a much less cerebral affair and take on a more action oriented guise. RESIDENT EVIL 4 (2005), ditched many of the elements that made its predecessors so powerful. Gone were the pre rendered back grounds and the sparse encounters with lurching zombies and while the game retained plenty of what fans cherished about the originals, (limited inventory, strong gore), its focus was moving more towards action rather than suspense. The game featured more weapons, a far more precise aiming system and, whereas the original saw the player take on one or two enemies at a time, RE4 featured large crowds of death dealing enemies at any given time. The game was praised for its visual design and its massive crossover appeal, yet remained divisive among the core Survival Horror fans. Today, RE4 represents, for many, the point where traditional Survival Horror morphed into some new, and just as SILENT HILL followed suite with the original RE's template, so would SILENT HILL : HOMECOMING follow in this new direction. It’s argued that the more action Horror based games featured, the more compromised the emphasis on terror and dread became. And although this is often a very easily defendable stance, there are games that have challenged this thought line.
Another game of note that appeared the next year was Capcom's DEAD RISING, a title that raised a lot of eyebrows on release. For many it was a heaven sent work of art, and for many, it was symbolic of the direction Horror gaming was taking, and not in a good way. The game was set in a huge shopping mall during a zombie apocalypse, (sound familiar?) and placed the gamer amidst literally hundreds of our flesh eating pals at any one time. It looked beautiful, and there was never a game that featured more zombie slaughter and carnage. Almost every object in the mall could be used as a weapon to disembowel, behead and even ridicule your undead chums. Weapons ranged from the very effective, (chainsaws, mallets and lawnmowers), to completely useless, (bags of potato chips, magazines and plastic light sabers). It was a helluva lot of fun. Yet the games comic tone and lack of suspense was bemoaned by many. Fears abounded that the Survival Horror was becoming a parody of its once formidable self, but all fears that the genre was in freefall were soon cast aside, as the second golden age was soon to follow.
|LEFT 4 DEAD|
The genre was alive and well, and not even RESIDENT EVIL 5 (2009), could dampen the enthusiasm for fear. It was a critical success, but its action based game play was a huge let down for the fans of its forebears. That same year, we were gifted with two sequels in FEAR 2 and CONDEMNED 2 : BLOODSHOT, both maintaining the high level of tension that were the trademark of their predecessors, while pushing the envelope to include more in depth game play, upgraded graphics and a furthering of their original concepts. LEFT4DEAD 2, while basically the same game as the original, offered more death dealing weaponry and new maps to keep us gore hounds smiling until the next great title came along to blow our minds.
WHAT THE FUTURE MAY HOLD
|THE DARKNESS 2|
For Part 1 Click Here...