Countdown to Resident Evil’s 15th Anniversary (Part 2)

Today we’ll be looking at the camera angles that the franchise has been known for (pre Resident Evil 4/5). This is the first in a 2-part look at how said camera angles, in their fixed nature, improve the overall experience. This will continue our special feature celebrating Resident Evil’s 15th anniversary, and like always, be sure to leave behind your comments below.

What’s around the next corner?

Like any good horror film, the original Resident Evil games have had a solid sense of cinematography that complements the bare fear factor. While many may find these camera angles to be quite annoying, I find it to be the contrary: necessary. Picture this: Those classic Resident Evil games sans camera angles instead acquiring a behind the shoulder view seen in later entries in the series. Yeah, it’s not the same. And it will definitely make the games much easier than they really are.

Resident Evil 4 and 5’s camera perspectives rely on the game-play’s action-packed focus, whereas the classic games each inherited camera angles that served to enlighten their game-play mechanics and of course the sense of horror, something that differs vastly from the Resident Evils of today. Enemies that may be off in the distance are harder to spot, due to the camera perspective being positioned at an angle where you can’t really see what lies in front of you. This,  coupled with the lack of substantial health and ammunition, gave the classic games a more survival-horror feeling than 4 and 5 invoked.

This is why asking for a remake of say Resident Evil 2 with a Resident Evil 4/5 over the shoulder view should consist of more than just a mere difference in camera orientation (and updated visuals, of course). Capcom would have to actually re-invent the enemies’ AI and the overall game-play mechanics to accompany such a drastic change in camera perspective. Not saying that that’s a bad thing, I’m just trying to prove a point: The classic fixed camera angles were actually good for the survival-horror aspects of the games that utilized them. After all, there’s always dread in not knowing what’s around the next corner, which is made even more effective when you can’t even see said corner coming up.

Do you agree? Disagree? Discuss in the comments below. And also, shoot me an email at telling me what your most cherished memories from the Resident Evil franchise are (make sure to leave your name!). Your writing has a good chance of being included in a future installment of this Anniversary feature.

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