For most individuals, Resident Evil was the first survival horror game they were exposed to. The struggles in that creepy old mansion in the Arklay Mountains set the standard for so many games to come. But over the years, the feeling of helplessness at the threat of an unstoppable evil force has been replaced with the sort of scenes you get in an over-the-top action film. The darkened hallways and abandoned labs have been replaced with brightly lit villages and fiendish pharmaceutical facilities (yay, alliteration!).
Many of these changes could have come with the shift in what people are afraid of in society at large. The old days of mad scientists toiling away in their lab to perfect Godless abominations is long gone. Now, there are real fears of biological weapons on a large scale, and the madmen who were once solitary in their crimes now come with entire countries and selfish organizations to back them.
While such changes in atmosphere have been accompanied by drastic improvements in gameplay, I often reminisce to earlier days when I was frightened to drag poor Chris Redfield down that long hallway, knowing that something would jump out at any moment. In fact, Chris Redfield can serve to show just how much of a change has occurred in survival horror over the last 10 years.
Observe the old Chris Redfield of the Racoon City Police. Fit to help citizens in need, but ill-prepared for an entire zombie onslaught. Now take a look at Mr. Redfield from Resident Evil 5: member of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance. Right at home in a modern war film, this man is ready to get to da’ chopper.
Through the passage of time, Chris Redfield has gone from unassuming hero cop to hulking steroid freak, ready to fight ANYTHING that would stand in his way. For example, a boulder as big as a freaking SUV:
No wonder he had to fight The Hulk in Marvel vs Capcom 3.