Ballerinas in space: Dead Space Part II

For a long time, Resident Evil been considered the king of the survival horror genre.

For a long time, the control has made absolutely no sense to me.

Left stick moves.  Stand still to aim and shoot.  No sidestepping.

Dead Space controls make sense to me.  Left stick moves, right stick is the camera and aiming.  Not much to say about it, however there are a lot of comments being thrown about regarding the Resident Evil 5 control scheme and how it adds to the tension of the game.  The main contention here is that you cannot strafe while aiming.  I am not a big fan of this particular design decision.  I have played the demo and Chris Redfield is incapable of sidestepping while aiming a weapon.  This means he cannot ready a weapon while turning around a corner.

This is a weakness not only in the gameplay design, but in the writing.  What they are telling me, with their icy, necrotic grip on an outdated control scheme, is the following:

Chris Redfield is a paramilitary special agent who cannot aim a weapon down a corridor whilst turning and walking to go down it.

By comparison, Isaac Clarke is a communications engineer in a space suit wearing grav boots who can.

An engineer.

The producers of Resident Evil 5 claim that their control scheme adds to the tension.  They claim that if a player can just run away easily, it destroys any pretense of immediate danger.

Dead Space absolutely destroys that argument.

Isaac, while not a ballerina, handles like a third person shooter persona should.  Left stick strafes, right stick aims.  Left trigger brings up the gun to aim, and the controls remain the same.  He can aim a weapon at a corner and then carefully, very carefully creep up around the corner until he can see that there’s nothing there to be afraid of.

Before being eviscerated by the necromorph that has silently climbed up the railings behind him.

I would like to state that building tension in a game should not generated via an artificially difficult or non intuitive control scheme.  What you are building with that design choice is frustration.

Resident Evil did start the current survival horror renaissance, but it over five (well, more than five really) iterations, it has yet to truly evolve it.  Which is funny, considering that a lot of the storyline of the Resident Evil has to do with an evolving virus.

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