clessaileron: (Lobelia)
[personal profile] clessaileron
Since a remastering of the Gamecube remake of Resident Evil is coming out soon (and I am getting the Steam version), it's once again reviving some of my thoughts in regards to the horror genre, or more like some cynical feelings about it.

Back then, I was a teenager when I first played Resident Evil. Yeah, I did get scared by those games back then. As more sequels were released & Konami's Silent Hill came into the picture, there were other things I remember about it. Silent Hill got hyped up as being scarier than the Resident Evil series with its psychological horror & disturbing imagery while Resident Evil was scoffed at for its cheap jump scares. For some reason, I wasn't really all that scared of Silent Hill while still feeling scared of Resident Evil. I'll even go as far as admitting my older sister & her friends have made fun of me for that. By the time I got to Resident Evil Zero when it was originally released for the Gamecube, my interest in the series was dying since I was finding the formula getting as rotten as the zombie corpses in the series only for my interest in the series to be revived thanks to Resident Evil 4.

The thing is, even when Resident Evil 4 was released 10 years ago on the Gamecube, even then there was complaining about the shift in the formula and that it's not scary anymore. Didn't feel like it, I feared the chainsaw wielding enemies (and they aren't even bosses) since if I wasn't careful, they would kill in one hit since they'll make Leon Kennedy literally lose his head. That, and the cultists' chanting. The chainsaw wielding enemies alone made it hard for me. Every time I heard one go off during my initial Gamecube playthrough, I tend to freeze up & find myself hitting the power button on the system, too fearful to continue. A lot of that came with the first time one of those enemy came up, I was having to deal with a crowd, distracting me that said enemy managed to catch me off guard & off with Leon's head.

Those complains about Resident Evil not being scary anymore due to the formula shift continues onward with Resident Evil 5, which I wasn't scared of it but I feel like I'm done with being scared by the series at this point (I wasn't even scared of the chainsaw enemies in 5 like I was with 4). I revisited the remake of Resident Evil via buying the Wii port in 2010. It was still a great game, but I'm not all that scared by it despite it being before RE4. I also bought the Wii port of Resident Evil Zero the same year but only played through it the following year while having a long stay at my sister's place. It wasn't all that bad but it's not an installment I think highly of (to the point of knowing there's some hinting that RE0 will get the remastering treatment & wondering if I'll go for its Steam version). Again, not scared of RE0.

Now, considering the mixed reception Resident Evil 6 got (though with the way people act over it, it sound more like it was a piece of crap but I sense it was more of a mixed reception), this is where the complaints about it not being scary & all that ended up the most vocal. I did feel Resident Evil: Revelations was a good step in mixing the old & the new but to be honest, I did like Resident Evil 6. Even after saying that about RE6, I still get pretty vocal with stating, "I'm not oblivious to its problems." It even took me a long time to accept it as a guilty pleasure* (It was when I decided to buy the Steam version of RE6 two years later...and the PC exclusive Mercenaries No Mercy mode played a good part in that).

Even when people go on about how Resident Evil should return to its roots, I still have some cynicism about it being scary. Some have argued that it was the limitations that made them so great. Fixed camera angles, tank controls, & even the jump scares. I actually have come to some ideas about why I feel so cynical about this particular genre & even the idea about how the horror genre is the genre.

Age & the cliches/tropes. I did make the transparency of mentioning I was a teenager when I first played Resident Evil and it was age 14 to be exact. It's a fine case to say, "I probably shouldn't be playing it." I would still be too young to handle the scares (or more like the violent horror stuff that Resident Evil falls under). I certainly felt more like I would stop playing because of it. I actually had a hard time picking Resident Evil 3 back up because Nemesis could pop out of nowhere & was difficult to kill that it was better just to run. Of course, going into another room wasn't enough since it'll come into the room and continue the chase. It'll take more effort in escaping in order for the monster to give up chasing for the time being. That was the most fear a Resident Evil ever gave me and I think it might have made me realize that stalking or being constantly watched might be the fear that gets to me. Even then, getting older, the cliches/tropes will have a hard time affecting me since I've seen them before.

I know when the debate topic about violence in the media comes up, desensitization is bound to come up. Thinking how violence plays a part in some horror, I can't help but think desensitization can play a part in feeling cynical about horror, whenever or not it is the violence. I'm even recalling Wes Craven's Scream movies, since they had a tongue-in-cheek approach to the slasher genre of horror. Slasher movie rules would be brought up (To survive a scary movie: don't drink, don't have sex, & don't say, "I'll be right back") as well as comment on some of the cliches ("What's the point? They're all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can't act who's always running up the stairs when she should be going out the front door. It's insulting."). You see the cliches, it's hard to feel scared. It's like you see an eaten up corpse, it's hard to feel scared over that attempt of setting the uncomfortable mood. You see windows, you have this suspicion that you just know there's bound to be a jump scare out there. You pick up an important item needed to complete a puzzle, it triggers a jump scare with creatures out to kill you. You want to feel scared, however, it's hard to feel scare when you know what to except & the cliches are being used again, and you don't fear having to see your character killed in a gruesome way. If the tank controls are supposed to hinder my experience on making me feel helpless, it's hard for it to affect me because I'm too used to it to care.

If there's one cliche of horror I'm bound to rag on (as if it wasn't hinted enough at this point), it's the jump scare. I know there's a horror game out there that I would have a, "I can't lie about it" categorization of, "Youtube Let's Play Fodder". I'm not having a guessing game with this one because the game I'm referring to is Five Nights at Freddy's. The most prominent thing I know about the game despite not playing it is...the jump scares. I saw SMOSH's Honest Trailer video for it saying how jump scare is a highly overused cliche yet you still fall for it & that it's scarier than the last three Resident Evil game. Hearing that, I still can't but scoff at that because of the jump scare cliche & thinking, "Resident Evil was never legitimately scary to begin with" due to the previous experience hearing how Silent Hill was scarier than Resident Evil & that Resident Evil was a bunch of cheap jump scares. I can't lie, it's a cliche I have the most cynical view over. When I replayed Code Veronica some time ago, I fell for a jump scare despite the fact that I was using a guide book & said guide just happened to warn me that giant spiders are going to pop out after picking up this particular key item. I remember the cynical remark I said to myself ("I thought I was above jump scares!"). Of course, it didn't stop me from playing. Man, it's no wonder I'm having such serious hype aversion to these horror games like that Five Nights at Freddy's I mentioned.

I'd end it with this. I know with something like Tales, it can be pretty easy to criticize the series (or even JRPGs) for its cliches like I'm currently doing with the horror genre (I know I'm guilty of just that with the Tales series). The difference with criticism towards the Tales series compared to criticizing the horror genre is that with Tales, it's bound to be easier to find something worthwhile despite the criticism. I could say I'm enjoying the story despite the cliche or I'm here for the battles. With horror, it's hard to escape that you're going into the horror genre because you want to be scared (like all the complaints that Resident Evil isn't scary anymore thanks to 4, 5, & 6). However, you know what to expect, you know what cliches there are, the jump scares make you feel insulted, and it's not going to give that feeling of, "I don't want to play this game anymore!" or go to sleep with a stuffed animal. If Capcom really does go back to its roots for Resident Evil, I really feel like it's not going to be scary regardless of that, so I'm still going to lose. If I say I don't want to play this horror game anymore, I don't want my reason to be it being boring, depression is kicking in, or it's actually not scary. I want the reason to be that, "I'm too scared to continue playing!"

Maybe I refused to wear nostalgia goggles a lot of times like with regards to horror these days (and I could write about my nostalgia problems but that's for another day) that I know what I'm going to expect that I'm not buying into their hype of something being so scary. I guess that is the case...

Or maybe I should just cave to the Youtube Let's Play Fodder that is Five Nights at Freddy's.

*I know there's going to be people that will tell me to screw the idea of a guilty pleasure. Let's not get into that, please!
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