Being a Nintendo Kid, my first experience with Resident Evil was the re-made version of the original game on the Game Cube. I admit, I was excited when I found it used at a local game store. I had never played it, and had only heard about it from friends. I knew it involved killing zombies, and was supposed to be scary, so I was set to enjoy something new. That romance was short lived however. Resident Evil sucked so bad I returned the game within a week or two of buying it. But being the avid gamer that I am, I decided to give it another go, and got Resident Evil Zero, also on the Game Cube. My thoughts were that maybe it would be different....wrong. It was the same crappy game. So why do I hate Resident Evil? Simple, the controls suck.
So what is it about the controls that suck? Well Capcom went with a configuration known in the gaming world as tank controls. Tank control can be defined as follows:
Tank controls refers to a control style for third person perspective games where manual turning is required instead of the more common method of facing in the direction that the analog stick is tilted and moving forward.
On the surface that doesn't sound bad, and a lot of games have been made using this control scheme. However, when applied to a game like Resident Evil, it did nothing but ruin the gaming experience for me. I understand that the complexity of the tank control configuration, at least to some people, added to the game's horror theme. My biggest problem was that "UP" on the game controller was always forward, no matter what direction your character was facing on the screen. This led to moments of getting attacked by a zombie from behind, and then having to navigate the controls so that your character could turn around and face the attacker, usually resulting in death. The constant struggles to survive due to the use of the frustrating nature of tank controls makes this game lose that element of fun really quickly. Hence my hatred for this game.
The biggest issue I have is that there were so many other games that got the survival-horror genre right. If Resident Evil would have been designed differently I think it would have been much better. I look at games like Doom, and wonder what Resident Evil would have been like if they had used those same controls. I know Doom is a first person game, and Resident Evil is a third person, so apples and oranges. But still...Doom was a lot funner to play through, and often kept me on the edge of my seat as I would round a blind corner, not knowing what enemies lay just beyond. It worked.
Lately I have been playing Fallout 3 on my PS3 system, and then it hit me. Here is a game that has you sneaking around fighting zombies (mutants), in a dark and horrific setting. A true survival-horror game. This is a game that remains fun, and doesn't use the annoying tank control configuration. This is what Resident Evil should have been.