With Resident Evil: Revelations (Console Port) just being released not too long ago, I thought it would be relevant to go over the evolution of two key elements of the series from RE4 and after.

As always, I would appriciate any type of feedback.

*I know it has been about a month since it came out and about three weeks since I announced that I would do this but I suck with deadlines and other excuses*

Resident Evil 4

Ah, RE4. A turning point in third-person shooters. After its release the gaming world was changed drastically with its new camera system. Placed to right of Leon at shoulder height, it kept Leon away from the center of the screen preventing him from obstructing what you are aiming at. Previously, video games got around this by placing the camera high and angled down at the character and landscape limiting the depth of view. With this new camera you could see the horizon and have a decent line of sight at your enemies. As if that was not good enough the camera also adjusted to the current environment and situation. If the area is cramped and claustrophobic, then the camera is pulled close and Leon is positioned farther away from the center of the screen and vice versa. Also, the camera is generally farther away when Ashley is present so she can be on screen to watch over. This way you always have the appropriate field of view and it also prevents the camera bouncing around when it collides with walls.

Thankfully someone is watching over my shoulder for me.

Oh crap. I did not know that someone was you.

But you all know about this camera system as some variant of it is implemented in most third-person games. Now to talk about its unique, offset, laser sighted aiming system. With this new aiming system, just like with the camera, Leon is placed to the left of the screen and he cannot move. He is rooted to the ground so to speak. A laser sight is emitted from his gun towards the center of the screen. However, when moving the sight it does not stay in the center of the screen like a crosshair. Instead it can travel around the whole screen until it reaches a border and that is when the screen finally moves. Alongside the ability for enemies and objects having the ability to obstruct the laser at various distances, this system adds a layer of depth to aiming. With this the player must think in three dimensions when aiming and adds another element of strategy when fighting with enemies.

I know I am not suppose to shine this in anyone's eyes but I am sensing some hostility from you guys.

Resident Evil 5

Then RE5 brought a new control style to the series as the player can now strafe thus eliminating the tank-like controls with the movement of characters (although you can choose to bring them back). However, this did not transition to the aiming. You are still rooted to the ground and the aiming is identical to RE4. But the additions to the movement in the game allowed you to set up an appropriate position much easier.

The camera in RE5 is also very identical to RE4. However, the camera is much more general in this game. Although there are a couple moments where the camera changes to fit the situation that situation is often to create some cinematic view of the environment and does not persist for combat.

Of course she is empty...

Resident Evil: Revelations

RE5's controls and general camera persisted to RE:R. The camera still was basically in one position unless it is drawn out to show off the environment. The big change that came with this game is that you can finally move and shoot at the same time. The series finally caught up to this standard. The aiming system changed slightly to accommodate this and became more like Dead Space's interpretation of the laser sighted aiming system. The sights try to stay aimed toward the center of the screen even when moving and looking around. The element of depth still applies as enemies and objects can cut the laser off at short range before it reaches the center of the screen. There is also an option for a new aiming mode where the aforementioned still applies however it is now in first-person. I personally did not care much for it and decided to stick with third-person aiming but I can see the merits of it. It seems to make close quarters encounters more manageable but I did not have too much a problem with the other system.

OK. Which waste disposal pipe did you crawl out of?

Even in another perspective you are still ugly as hell.

Resident Evil 6

However, RE6 came along. While the camera was still for the most part similar to the previous games, it was placed too close and brought down closer to the feet of the character (pre-patch). The character could end up taking up to roughly about a third of the screen when aiming. While what you are aiming at is not obstructed too much, everything to your left, or right of you switch shoulders, is obstructed. This sort of defeats what the RE4 camera system fixed. Thankfully, later on a patch was released that I believe was a brilliant move on Capcom's part. It gave the players the ability to customize their camera in three ways: distance for the default placement, distance when aiming, and how far off to the left of the screen the character is placed when aiming. I honestly believe that this should be more popular much like being able to customize your field-of-view in some first-person games.



And then there is the new aiming system. I guess it tried to be a hybrid of the laser sighted system and the crosshair system. In my opinion it just did not work out. You are given a typical crosshair but the twist to it is that the center where your bullet goes keeps moving about the diameter of the crosshair. I assume this was to simulate the shakiness of the laser in RE4 but applied to crosshairs. This came off as unreliable to me as the center could be hard to determine at points and moved around a fairly large radius. Thankfully you could switch to the system RE:R brought to the series and weirdly enough there is no shaking to it. I do not know why they would make one shake and not the other.

Thankfully you are the size of a barn because with these sights it would be hard to hit you otherwise.

Resident Evil: Revelations (Console Port)

Then the console ports of RE:R went even further away from their iconic aiming system and unlike RE6 you do not have the choice of choosing your aiming system (at the time of writing this blog). It confuses me that when the 3DS version has the laser sights already built into the game that they would take it away in these versions. The laser sights are replaced with the standard crosshair system found in most third-person games, not even the ones introduced in RE6 (although I am kind of happy about that). One of my favorite things about this series is gone. Even though this game is, in my opinion, more faithful to the RE series than RE6 a bit of its personality has disappeared for me with this decision for the console versions. What is weird is that the guns sometimes still behave like they still have the laser sights but it is very hard to tell when something is about to obstruct them with this system. You can only know if something is currently obstructing the guns by whether or not the crosshairs are dull or colored. Even then you do not know where the bullet will land.

I can still see the laser emitters on my guns. Why can I not use them?


RE seems to be dealing with an identity crisis lately and it is certainly showing in not only the mood and the story but also the gameplay. I just hope that Capcom can come up with some concrete vision soon. Personally, I hope is more toward RE:R but that is just my opinion.

Note: This blog has not been edited to address how horrible I am with deadlines or that my captions for the pictures are horrible.

The above note has been edited to address a typo and is a great example of irony.