Am I alone in feeling that the survival aspect is slowly being phased out of survival horror?
I am old enough to remember the earliest entries in the genre, and the effects it had on a person playing in a dark room. Precious little ammo. Even less health pickups. Weak melee. Traps. Enclosed or visually obscured areas (claustrophobia is a powerful tool.) Powerful enemies, or large gangs of lesser foes, all slowly hunting for you. All of these things made the game feel more like a desperate struggle to survive, let alone escape or discover the causes. I remember the first time I finished RE2 I was (litteraly) limping away from the last boss with no health items, and the only ammo I had left was 3 handgun rounds. That left a great thrill of accomplishment mixed with the adrenaline of "close call".
Lately, games being cast in this genre really have significantly more in common with action style games, only maintaining the horror aspect (sometimes overfocusing on it). I'm not tagging them as bad games, indeed I like many of them. But RE4 and 5 are absolutely NOTHING like 1, 2, or 3. While some features definately stand as improvements, the sense of fear is quickly bled out by the "action hero" qualities the player is given, the generous ammo supplies, more open areas, and less challenging foes. They're great at filling a sense of unexpected power, but lack the true desperate feel. Instead of being backed into a corner by a massive demon, or mutation, the final areas often now end with shootouts, or large open battlefields. It just lacks the narrow escape, and the impression that the main characters are "just human"
I’m 99.9% sure that the survival horror genre died a while ago. Did you miss the funeral?
I honestly don’t see the horror in most of these so-called action-horror video games. I don't think I have anything against video games such as Dead Space and FEAR 3 but if I want an actual survival horror video game then I will seek one out and play these video games another time when I’m looking for action video games or shooter titles. A shooter video game is a shooter video game as far as I’m concerned. If a video game is placing emphasis on shooter elements then I’m going to have difficulty calling it a survival horror video game.
I was at the funeral... and helped in the following zombification ritual ... Too bad the industry took a shotgun too it right away
I guess my main point is, we need to stop using the name, or resurrect it as what it should be.
People should definitely stop using the name altogether if they are just going to develop action/adventure, third-person shooter, or first-person shooter video games. What will eventually happen is that people will walk into the survival horror genre expecting all of the video games in it to be like Dead Space, FEAR 3, or even Dead Rising 2. I think one of the main problems is that people expect all survival horror video games to be gory, violent, and filled with jump-out-at-you scares. None of these elements are genre-defining characteristics as far as I’m concerned and I wouldn’t place any of the video games that I mentioned previously into the survival horror genre (certainly not after having played some genuine and traditional survival horror video games).
Agreed. Although blood and gore can add to the atmosphere, the real definitive traits were about the lack of items, being weaker than anything you were fighting, and the sensation of being trapped and trying to desperately escape. Those things make it SURVIVAL not just action.
That is a good point, GreenWolf. I love the Dead Space series. Quite a bit in fact. Dead Space on Impossible Mode was quite nerve wracking. I always seemed to be running out of ammo, and I made sure to get the heck away from enemies because I knew they would tear me apart if I got too close. With that said, I do long for the old horrors of the like of Silent Hill and the original Resident Evil games. I'll be buying the remastered versions of Silent Hill 2 and 3, that is for sure.