It’s always a tricky matter of bringing an old franchise up to date but it can be done. Two high profile series have done so recently.
There are many franchises in gaming that stray too far from what made them special in the first place. They may have forsaken their original vision instead focusing on certain aspects too much or got too swept up in modern trends. No matter the reason many franchises simply fall in the face of this.
Recently, however, a couple of notable series have not only reclaimed their roots but have brought them right up to date. These two shining examples are Doom and Resident Evil 7.
Doom’s Reboot Approach
If you’d have said Doom would be one of the best games of 2016 at the start of that year many people would have laughed at you. The innovator of the FPS genre had strayed far away from it’s roots in 3. Ditching the fast pace tactics heavy style for more of a slow survival horror vibe. It’s clear that something drastic needed to be done to recapture what made Doom special.
Indeed it took Id Software to scrap an almost complete version of a COD-like Doom before they realised this.
Then they created the game we know and love. The one that’s fast paced and packed with enemies each boasting their own little tactics just like old Doom. Though thoroughly modern aspects like upgrade paths for weapons and a devastating melee that gives health were incorporated. This allowed a perfect fusion of a love-letter to the past as well as making the game seem bang up to date.
The Doom reboot proved you don’t need to be stuck in the past to recapture what makes a game series so special.
Resident Evil’s trial and error
Resident Evil however had an arguably tougher task on it’s hands. Unlike Doom, Resident Evil never went away. Instead it’s ugly trial and error approach was public and visible for all to see.
The well received 4 started the series in a more action heavy direction away from it’s roots which finally went too far in 6. Not only was it critically panned but didn’t even live up to Capcom‘s predictions. With 6‘s notable failure it became increasing clear that something bold had to be done. The Revelations titles showed signs of going back to the survival horror approach, but these were very much spinoff titles. It was down to 7 to really show everyone that Resident Evil still had it.
Oh and it certainly did.
The game opens with a more modern guided horror game approach. Though as soon as you get into the mansion after an hour or so it starts feeling like good old Resi. You have your puzzles, your keys, your limited space inventory and even some Nemesis style threats to look out for. It’s what everyone wanted. Though crucially Capcom did it on it’s own terms. It didn’t have the old 1 or 4 camera style instead using a striking first person viewpoint. This change to first person really makes all the difference and thrusts you right in the thick of the action making every shot of the limited ammo all the more meaningful. VR was even incorporated on the PS4. It wasn’t simply a rehash of the earlier titles but a bold seventh entry in the series.
Doom and Resident Evil 7 show that regardless of how or when a series lost it’s way you can always come back. Living up to what made the series special in the first place is taking that old appeal but making meaningful modern choices.