I have a confession to make. I think Iíve got a little, mild, baby-case of OCD, at least when it comes to my gaming habits. Iím Juuu, and Iíve got Survival Horror Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and that is the source of my own personal bias. For some reason, I am crippled by this compulsion to play every survival horror game I come across, no matter how crappy they look. I just canít help it. This on its own wouldnít be such a big deal, however, TEH BIAS really comes pouring on in when I admit, both to myself and others, that out of blind love for the genre, I just canít call a lot of these games crappy.
The combat isn't broken, it's just...touchy.
Letís take the above game for example, Rule of Rose
. Part of me wonders why I adore t his game so much, while another part of me just wants to like it more than I do and forgive any wrong it has ever committed. Though the battle mechanics, as one of only many things, are pretty much universally despised by all who dare to play it, for some reason I give it a pass. ďWell, itís not all bad,Ē I say. ďI mean, thereís not too many boss fights, are there? And the story more than makes up for it! Itís a good game! Maybe even great! It can stay!Ē This is just one of the many, many examples of the things Iím willing to forgive for my favorite genre. Iíve let everything from bad voice acting (ďYou, the master of unlocking..Ē) to ugly, ugly graphics (many early PS1 titles come too mind), to bad control (Who here remembers tank controls? I sure do!) slide simply because, well, to some extent, the problems plague the genre as a whole. For example, early titles such as the original Resident Evil
set a sort of bar for future survival horror titles, and if this game contained hammy voice work and writing and those unwieldy tank controls, why wouldnít the others that followed? However, clearly, most of these grievances are things of the past. Weíve learned how to cast compelling voice actors who actually sound like theyíve heard the spoken English language or, I donít know, have actually read the script before recording. Weíve learned how to polish up our games and use all the advanced tech to make them nice Ďn purdy. Even Resident Evil
, the game that gave birth to tank controls, has switched to a more user-friendly over the shoulder perspective. However, if a game occaisionally falls back into one of those traps, I will forgive. If it is survival horror.
Aw, c'mon guys, it had its moments! I liked it!
And thatís where the bias comes in full force. Now, Iím not exactly a picky gamer per say-quite the opposite really, Iíll try anything and everything once. However, I am rather selective on which games hold my attention long enough to finish, and what games I will continually put my limited free time into. Iíve also noticed Iím becoming more and more selective these days; I think I can count on one hand the number of games Iíve finished in the past few months. I could get in a serious accident with a saw and still be able to count the number of NON-survival horror games Iíve finished in that time period on one hand. See, this saintly forgiveness of mine doesnít extend to any other genre. What Iím willing to let other games, such as Rule of Rose
or Deadly Premonition
or even Ju-On
, for christís sake slide for, I will pick apart at for any other genre. Give me a shooter with a strange story, one convoluted to the point of being nearly unable to understand, and Iíll rip it apart and mourn our current gaming climate for hailing the almighty FPS as ďTHE BEST GENRE EVARRRĒ. However, show me a survival horror game with the same issue, and Iíll spin that poorly-written story into something else. ďItís adding to the confusion!Ē Iíll cry, ďItís adding to that human fear of having no control! Maybe itís evenÖSYMBOLIC!Ē Okay, so maybe Iím not that crazy, but Iím close. Iíll admit it, Iíve knocked on many, many a game for repetitive gameplay (ďAll you do is just shoot people in the face, lather, rinse, repeatÖĒ) when, and I will admit it, many survival horror games are guilty of the same repetition. I mean, many can boil down simply to ďFind key/solve puzzle, open new door, repeat.Ē However, to me, this is simply justÖA staple of the genre. Itís how itís always been, so why fix it?
However, as Iíve grown older, I can admit that my favorite genre has a lot of issues it has to deal with if it wants to survive on. ďNew schoolĒ horror games such as Resident Evil 4
have made bold steps in the right direction, fixing things such as control issues, for instance, but while the ďaction-horrorĒ titles seem to take hold, new issues come in to play. For example, how much ďhorrorĒ is really left in some of these newer titles? I know the scary in Dead Space
, for example, started to wear off a few chapters in, while games such as those in the Fatal Frame
series keep me tense right up until the final credits roll. Personally, I didnít really get frightened at all during Resident Evil 5,
and I know a lot of others who feel the same. Dtoider Stevil
just posted a fantastic blog on the decline of solitary antagonists in the genre. Iím not sure if I like all the new directions survival horror is taking; Iím a creature of habit, you see, and change spooks me. Thus, my bias for more ďclassicĒ survival horror games runs a little stronger. However, my relentless OCD forces me to buy every title I can get my hands on, old or new school, if it looks like it has even a hint of survival horror flair to it. I mean, come on, people were just comparing the atmosphere of Fragile Dreams
to that of a survival horror game, even if it didnít necessarily fit the genre, and I had it preordered on that and a Japanese trailer alone!
Let's see, it's got a flash light, there's ghosts in it, you're all alone, GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!
Iím still not all that sure why survival horror grabbed me so much in particular. My best guess is that I just love the thrill. I mean, come on, surrounded by 5 zombies with only 3 5 bullets left in your handgun and no first aid spray or herbs? It gives you a rush, certainly. Maybe Iím just an average girl, raised in the suburbs, looking for that thrill that she doesnít get in her safe and comfy day-to-day life. Maybe itís the stories; I always love a good ghost story, or a dark, creepy tale of a ritual gone horribly, terribly wrong. Nevertheless, survival horror is the one genre that I will always go out on a limb for, will always forgive whenever it wrongs me, and will always stand up for no matter how many people think a game is simply the crappiest of crap.
Now, if youíll excuse me, I need to see if I can find a cheap copy of Calling
. What, it canít really be that bad
, can it?