Horror Games Suck

Ok, maybe they don’t.  That was clickbait.

I just wrapped up my first normal-mode playthrough of the newly released remake of Resident Evil 2, and I’m having a lot of trouble telling myself I enjoyed myself while playing.

Yet, there’s no shortage of people gushing about how great this game is.  Fantastic.  Tremendous.  Outstanding.  It’s these sort of words I’m seeing quite a lot of.

I just want to register my contrary thoughts, for not much reason other than to have them down concretely.

Horror games generally sacrifice interesting game play in exchange for fear inducing environments, situations, and characters.  Typical horror game protagonists are incapable of doing more than a jog at a rather un-labored pace.  The name of the game in horror games is puzzles.  So, we have to learn to not expect too much gameplay wise when playing horror games.  I’ve certainly come to be familiar with that aspect of the genre.

That being said, the other aspects of the game had better not be ass.  Two games that I enjoyed a lot were SOMA and RE6.  SOMA’s core conundrum, what constitutes being human and at what point can we not call things human, manifested itself throughout the game, and had an interesting relationship develop between Simon and Catherine.  It also had an environment that isn’t usually used in horror games, and gave it a sci-fi element.  RE6, while possibly not qualifying as horror, threw me in a wide number of settings and play styles, kept character relationships in focus, and because of its format, maintained a higher level of tension than usual in horror games.  Honestly, it’s closer to a third person shooter.

For these reasons, those two games get a pass from me when it comes to bad-gameplay-expectations.

RE2 doesn’t, though.  In RE2, the focus is the gameplay.  Story is sparing, and your concerns are limited to how to solve a variety of puzzles that lie in the area, while not dying, obviously.  The people that enjoy the game seem to be in love with having no ammunition or health, and barely scraping by.  That… appears to be the only merit to the game, as far as I’ve read when it comes to opinions of the game.

I found the environment droll (which is a criticism of the original and by extension the remake).  The story is very dry for the first half of the game, and the situation very slightly becomes more interesting after that.  The entire police station section, as far as I’m concerned, is just a huge filler episode.  There’s almost no development in the story, apart from wondering why some big guy is chasing you everywhere, aside from some very minor bits of info doled out in notes.  Your goal doesn’t even make sense, either.  You want to get out of the station.  I’m pretty sure you could just jog out the front gate, as easily as you came in.  The characters have certainly gone through worse.  Noting this made my motivation to play evaporate during the police station section.

We spend some fleeting moments with Ada; this part and the parts afterward being the highlight of the game for me (apart from actually playing as Ada; that was not so great).  Apart from that, I don’t think I enjoyed anything about this game.

The fact that zombies took so many bullets to the head was a weird troll.  Headshots were the name of the game for every other game in the series (on normal modes at least), and to have the game punish you for that felt kind of weird.  Instead, we just settle for legshots.

This turned into rambling, it’s 3am and I think I’m done.

I don’t get how people find it fun to dance around zombies with no ammo, hoping they don’t grapple you.  That appears to be core game play and it’s just dogshit.