So Resident Evil VII goes first-person and turns into a genre classic a few hours later; now who saw that coming? Well… I did. Not only because FPP games have fueled my nightmares for quite some time now, but mostly because the guys at Capcom proved themselves fear-proof. ‘That’s Outlast 3!;’ ‘You won’t make Resident Evil great again this way!;’ ‘You’re Asian, you know nothing about traditional family dinners!;’ the hate kept flowing, and they kept pushing, and that’s how you end up with your metascore at 86.
Below, on the other hand, you can get a glimpse of what would’ve happened if every developer on Earth followed in Capcom’s intrepid footsteps:
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided would’ve gone free-to-play. Instead, only a sorry, miserable portion of it, called Breach, made it to Steam free of charge. That’s in spite of no-one ever asking for it. It has half the features, third the story, and quarter the textures of the base title, but all the unconscionable system requirements. Needless to say, I’m surprised it hasn’t been distributed as a paid DLC. Which requires that you own the original title;
- Devolver would’ve made a real-life version of STRAFE, encouraging people to participate in actual massacres, and leaving justice courts filled to the brim with filthy, mature criminals facing serious, mature charges the manly way. (That’s, of course, by obliterating everyone in sight with double-barrel shotguns.) Instead, all we’re getting is just another independent gem that’s slightly-more-gory than the Hotline Miami series. And doesn’t even feature intelligent opponents. I suppose we should praise its upgrade to DOOM-grade 3D graphics, then;
- The Banner Saga 3 devs wouldn’t have relied on Kickstarter to finish the trilogy. Instead, they would carry out a series of spectacular heists across America, having their bros from Obsidian backing them up with armored vehicles smuggled straight from the South. And then spend all the money they’d earn on a teaser. A teaser worth all the sequels;
- Francis Ford Coppola would’ve resurrected Marlon Brando, just so I could get an autograph. But no such luck, because Coppola is apparently afraid of necromancy. So instead of bringing a timeless movie star back to life, he actually thinks Apocalypse Now: The Game will by itself prove a better survival horror than Resident Evil VII. Well guess what, Mr. Beardhead, if your game’s cornerstone is fear, even $900,000 won’t help you, and I’ll still be more scared of The Godfather’s driving mechanics.
And last but not least – Resident Evil VII would have gone down in history as yet another mediocre survival horror. I mean – who on Earth would play it if necromancy were a thing!
SWAT 4 storms GOG
Surprising and shocking was the sudden emergence of SWAT 4 on GOG. Even more surprising was the discovery that after all these years, the Gold Edition is still $9.99. I immediately recalled buying it for the first time back in the day – same price, second-hand copy, with other guys I knew eager to pay even more for getting their hands on a different kind of gold. And while their investment would often leave them with a nasty taste in their mouths, I soon found out mine wouldn’t. Rather, it would greatly surpass all the expectations I then had when approaching games. And sometimes, I seriously regretted it.
‘GET DOWN!’ sounded pretty cynical when me and my squad finally got down. At that moment I felt like SWAT 4 played some sort of a morbid trick on the entire gaming population. ‘It was always ahead,’ I thought, and it was – ahead of me, ahead of other tactical shooters, ahead even of its time. It was also around that time when I started wondering what the hell I was expecting when booting this game up. A real MTV Cribs action, with 5 POVs and a real time Sierra1 coverage? Check. Friendly fire on by default? 90% check (poor Reynolds, God bless his soul). Hanging out with my bot-squad, pretending they’re my friends, and projecting a happy life as a SWAT member? Check… so much check… Immersive, atmospheric settings that seemed like they were actually something more than a few generic locations where can breach some doors? Half-check. Getting down to a basement where a fat kid living with his grandma, soaking up pop like a sponge and smoking Chesterfields like there was no tomorrow, kept all the victims he’d kidnapped tied, feeding them feces and…
See, that was where things went too far. It was also when SWAT 4 crossed its genre boundaries. In a way, it resembled Resident Evil more than any Resident Evil past it (at least until very recently). After what I witnessed in the Fairfax residence, I waved my basement goodbye, leaving my mother both shocked and surprised. I began a new life as a tenement house resident, where I could finish all the remaining missions both feeling safe and surrounded by people that were no threat at all.
And then I stumbled upon Children of Tarrone Tenement and holy crap, I swear to God, I should’ve gotten that Xbox Live Gold membership.