Resident Evil 7 has been billed as a “return to its roots”. By that, they mean a more simplistic touch, one more focused on horror than action, although there is plenty of action in the game. And regardless of what people think, this change to what was done before is raising questions, mainly, “Should a series stick to what made it great?”
This is a hard question. I mean sure, when you look at what Resident Evil became in the later games like Resident Evil 5 and 6, it’s easy to say, “Yeah! You need to go back to what actually worked!” But, there have been plenty of series that have branched off from what made them great to start, and they’re still great now.
Two great examples are Mario and the Legend of Zelda series. Both games started in the 2D graphics realm, and from the side-scrolling Mario, to the top-down view of Zelda, they were both great. Yet, when the time came to make the 3D jump, not only did both jump, they landed and ran! Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are still heralded as some of the greatest games ever. And the series is so versatile, that they still have games feature the original styles, thus showing you can have the best of both worlds.
So, why doesn’t it work for Resident Evil? Well, I guess it’s all about context, and content. The first Resident Evil featured you in a house, where evil was abundant, and scares could come out of anywhere. As the games went on, the games got grander in scope, but not as chilling and refined as some of the original titles. The only one that seemed to come close was Resident Evil 4, which many consider one of the best of the franchise, so much so that Capcom ported it to numerous consoles.
Whether Resident Evil 7 sells a lot is up in the air. However, if they at least try to go back to what made the game special? They’re far ahead of where they were the last time they released a Resident Evil game.