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First Person vs. Third Person In Resident Evil

Murderer Enshrined

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For me, third person perspective wins every time. Especially with Resident Evil. But Resident Evil did something unique with third person, which they probably got from Alone In The Dark, but I feel Resident Evil perfected it. The CCTV camera angles gave Resident Evil a perspective I really don't recall seeing in any other game. I used to know some guys who really didn't like it. Because (up) was always forward, even if your character was running down the hallway, while still, practically, staring you right in the face. But I didn't care about all that. I loved it. In the first two games, the original RE Director's Cut and RE 2, it made the mansion and police station seem like the big structures they were meant to be. First person perspective tends to constrict everything. When they came out with RE 4, you could see your character, but everything seemed to be designed to always be in front of you, which to me was kind of mimicking a first person take to the third person play. Though I loved playing RE 4, it still had that first person feel to it, and it constricted every area you encounter and visited in the game. If I recall correctly, Code Veronica came out before RE 4, and I loved playing Code Veronica so much. Because it stuck to that classic third person CCTV camera angle style of the original Resident Evil games. All I can do is hope that the makers of Resident Evil some day bring back that style of play and character perspective.

Anyway, that's my little editorial for the evening/morning. Thank you for your time. Comment below if you wish. Don't comment if you don't wish. If you want a transcript of this post, please send a processing fee of $10.99 if you want it, $14.99 if you don't.
 

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I don't really have a preference between 3rd or 1st person in Resident Evil.

3rd person fixed camera will always hold a certain nostalgia for me, having been prominent in Resident Evil and Silent Hill back in the day. It does foster sympathy for characters as, while you may be controlling them, you are above all witnessing these characters going through struggles. It hits different because it's not quite as personal as 1st person but it forces you to be there with the character and that is amazing when characters are developed properly.

That being said, I do also enjoy 1st person games. There is always that extra level of immersion that inevitably comes from a 1st person experience and sometimes it can be that thing that really pushes a game straight over into terrifying (Outlast for example). It's a different flavor of empathy - you are in that place. You are going through the struggles as realistically as possible, and so you feel it differently.

I think each style, when used in the right context, has its own merits. Neither is better or worse than the other in my opinion. I do love the OG REs with their fixed camera atmosphere, but at the same time, I had no issues with RE 7 or 8 being in 1st person.
 

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I get you. I would never put down first person perspective, it has a lot to offer. Though I would love to see third person come back to Resident Evil, I did enjoy playing RE 7 very much. And I get the impression that playing RE 8 will not be a disappointment.

Btw, for the record, aside from having a PS4, I also own an XBOX 360. And some of my favorite titles on that system are F.E.A.R., Cyrsis, and Left 4 Dead.
 

Rain611

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I get you. I would never put down first person perspective, it has a lot to offer. Though I would love to see third person come back to Resident Evil, I did enjoy playing RE 7 very much. And I get the impression that playing RE 8 will not be a disappointment.

Btw, for the record, aside from having a PS4, I also own an XBOX 360. And some of my favorite titles on that system are F.E.A.R., Cyrsis, and Left 4 Dead.
If I had to wager, RE9 will probably have 1st person perspective, only because I think the story will follow Rose and it follows the 'trilogy' theory whereby 1-3 are fixed camera, 4-6 are over the shoulder and theoretically 7-9 will be 1st person. Of course I could be wrong, but it makes sense to me. That being said, I have no doubt that the 3rd person perspective WILL return to RE in the future.
 

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I don't think 1st person works very well for survival horror - definitely not the kind of survival horror that RE used to be. 1st person is a simulation: you see things through the character's eyes but you develop little-to-no attachment to the latter because you don't see him\her. It's not coincidence that one of the best 1st person games ever made (Half-Life) has a silent protagonist, so that any player can "wear him" without problems, since the character has no personality. 3rd person games are like movies: you see the character and develop a relationship with him\her through empathy because you actually see his\her struggle. That's a very important distinction that needs to be made, since RE games are story-and-character-based games, something that Shinji Mikami was never fond of (and the game he considers his masterpiece, RE4, barely has a plot), but that's what the games are. It's no coincidence that in that mess that is Village, when they really want you to feel for Ethan, they switched to third person for the cutscenes: I didn't find the final bit to be the tearjerker that a lot of people say, but, regardless of my emotional investment, it would've never achieved that effect in 1st person and with proper 1st person narration (which is something RE7 sticks to: everything has to happen in real time in front of you - no editing, no multiple perspectives etc.).
As for fixed-camera angles, they were pretty cool back in the day, but limiting in the long run. OTS takes A LOT from 1st person, but I guess it was a needed sacrifice in order to improve gameplay: we didn't get a proper SH with that perspective until RE2make (the game RE4 should've been), but it works phenomenally well, especially since you can rotate the camera around your character at will...which is nothing new to the genre, as you could do it in the "Silent Hill" games. Even OTS was not that groundbreaking, as something like that was already available in games like "Duke Nukem: Time to Kill". As much as I love the classic camera system (it's one of the reasons why C:V is one of my favorite RE games: you get the classic angles but they are dynamic), to me the way the series should've progressed is what the remake of RE2 turned out to be - we should've gotten that kind of game 20 years ago. I recently had a few runs through the remaster of RE1make and, while it looks good and plays good, the classic camera system only worked great for exploration but, now that I have experienced something different, it felt like a cheat when I had to fight off enemies: I am not talking about outright killing them, simply incapacitating them enough to that I could move forward. I really liked that in RE2make the most effective way of dealing with zombies was simply shooting them in the knee to stun them and move forward.
I too think RE9 will be a 1st person game, since it will be the third chapter of the "trilogy" (and I dread what they will come up with, given the contrivances Village is full of and they way it ends), but I am pretty positive other titles such as the infamous "Outrage" will be in the style of RE:2 and RE: 3.
 
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Jonipoon

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Good overall points from @Hardware , especially the part about not being able to relate to characters in 1st person which is something I've mentioned previously in a criticism thread towards RE7. We all should know that RE7 took the direction it took not because it was the natural way storywise or gameplay-wise, but because it was trendy in the world of streaming.

Although I don't really have a preference when it comes to fixed camera angles or third person in Resident Evil, the latter does make for more nuanced fighting which suits a game that puts more emphasis on action. That's also why there's a bigger inventory in all games since RE4, because the smaller inventory is more suitable for the oldschool RE titles that put more emphasis on slow suspense, exploration, puzzles, reading files, etc. It all depends on what sort of RE game you're making.
 

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I wonder if any of you have seen this video

If not, I feel it's worth watching

You must be registered for see medias
 

Hardware

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We all should know that RE7 took the direction it took not because it was the natural way storywise or gameplay-wise, but because it was trendy in the world of streaming.
It was mostly because "Alien: Isolation" was setting up to be a successful game. Creative Assembly and Capcom used to be pretty close in the late 00s\early2010s: one of the projects CA tried to pitch before "Isolation" was a new RE game starring Jill.



The only way I can see fixed cameras working without hindering the devs' creativity too much would be by using a more dynamic auto-aim system, the same one seen in Dino Crisis 1&2, Devil May Cry and Onimusha. Most of those games are very action-oriented, but the first Dino Crisis was essentially RE1 with dinosaurs and your character aimed automatically at enemies no matter where they were (even while they were in mid-air).
 

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I wonder if any of you have seen this video

If not, I feel it's worth watching

You must be registered for see medias
Jeez, you make me feel old - that retrospective is more than 10 years old - it was originally streamed on the GameTrailers website, before they became a Youtube channel.
 

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The problem with fixed camera angles is that you're basically forced as a developer to have the player character auto-aim at enemies, since aiming manually in those angles is nearly impossible and more of a "try your luck" situation. It works if there are few enemies, of course, but then you won't be able to create an intense action-packed combat experience with many enemies confronting you, which is what you can do in third person.

However, I don't really think combat was the main appeal of the older games anyway.
 

Murderer Enshrined

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I'm more than an old school gamer, i'm an old gamer, and I really prefer the idea of less enemies, and more riddle solving. But I preferred that even when I was young. I just loved the seeking, searching, collecting, and puzzle solving more than anything else.

Btw, if you're wondering how old I am, I'm so old, god and Satan call me sir
 

Hardware

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t works if there are few enemies, of course, but then you won't be able to create an intense action-packed combat experience with many enemies confronting you, which is what you can do in third person.

However, I don't really think combat was the main appeal of the older games anyway.
I am not thinking about intense combat here. Actually, the fact you can aim freely is an excuse for giving the player LESS ammo, which is what I would've loved to see from RE:2 - I mean, it is a bit like that, but most of the ammo you try and pump into the zombies is wasted because they are so spongy. I think the game would've worked just as well with less durable zombies that simply jerked their heads back and fort (making headshots very difficult) and less ammo available. RE:3 at times does work like that in Hardcore mode. To put it short, I never liked the action-heavy REs (4,5,6, REV1-2, Village), but combat is still something you had to approach, sooner or later, in classic REs - and with fixed cameras you cannot aim precisely - at least not when you're cornered and every second counts, as the secret "classic mode" of Lost In Nightmares demonstrates (facing the Blobs is already unpleasant in OTS, but with fixed cameras is just frustrating). I think RE0 on the GC is the game that made want for an update to the formula - stuff like the giant bat especially. That part is terrible, since you have to take down a flying monster but you can only aim in three directions. It's not like Alexia's final form, because you could aim the linear launcher in 1st person. I recently played through Onimusha (after I neglected it for 20+ years) and one of the last bosses is a giant bug you can take down with your bow or arquebus - and it's not that frustrating because, despite it using pre-rendered backgrounds, you character can lock on enemies regardless of their position, just like in DC1,2 and Devil May Cry...and we all know that the latter was originally supposed to be RE4...and it's essentially a mish-mash of stuff taken from Onimusha and Dino Crisis 2...
 
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Turo602

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My problem with first-person in Resident Evil is simply that it doesn't feel like Resident Evil. You can be doing the same exact things as in any other Resident Evil game but it will always feel different because it's in first-person which completely alters the overall experience which is why genres always differentiate between camera perspectives.

I love first-person games, I have nothing against them. Halo is one of my all time favorite franchises and I can always enjoy a good first-person shooter. I even enjoyed Resident Evil 7 and 8, but I just wish they weren't Resident Evil games.

Resident Evil has such a distinct gameplay that makes it feel like Resident Evil and not something like Silent Hill or Dead Space and the way it has evolved through the years was very consistent with the exception of Resident Evil 6, but then RE7 came along and just completely ditched the very identity of the franchise after Revelations 2 tried to get it back on track.

I never understood the complaints about tank controls during the fixed camera era and nothing has solidified my appreciation for them more than the HD Remaster of REmake which allows for "traditional" controls which are just absolutely wonky as hell. Having to stop and readjust your movement with every camera change is so abysmal which only proves to me that the tank style gameplay was essential at the time and the only reason why the games are still remembered fondly today.

First-person would have been terrible on the PS1 back in 1996, like it was once conceptualized, which is an argument people always love to make when defending RE7's first-person perspective. Third-person shooters and action games weren't exactly setting the world on fire either for anyone to think that they could have done anything but fixed cameras and the control scheme was absolutely perfect for navigating within those limitations.

As much as I love the fixed camera angles and find them to be a lost art, I can admit they were simply a means to an end due to hardware limitations, which is why I'll never advocate for them to return in any significant capacity. The over the shoulder perspective was by far the best choice to move the series forward and it wasn't quite the departure most people made it out to be or still try to make it seem when defending the change to first-person.

Resident Evil 4's control scheme, animations, movement, momentum, stop and aim combat, etc. This was all carried over from REmake and is what made Resident Evil 4 feel like you were still playing a game in the Resident Evil series despite improvements and additions like free-aim and a dedicated knife button as well as the many context sensitive button prompts such as melee and cover.

Over the shoulder simply gave the player more control over the character without ditching its core gameplay identity. The only problem however is that people seem to associate Resident Evil 4 with its linear level design and combat oriented progression that they believe the gameplay itself was somehow altered from previous entries, even though people would go on to complain that Resident Evil 5 didn't let you move and shoot, which again, misses the whole point of Resident Evil.

Revelations would go on to cleverly address this complaint with its enemy design forcing the player to move backwards while shooting to increase tension rather than moving forward and guns blazing it, which is something the series has continued since and improved upon.

Despite RE4 and RE5 being more action oriented games, they're still not exactly shooters and do abide by specific survival horror conventions which is why a game like Resident Evil 2 REmake and to a lesser degree, the Revelations series can be considered a return to the series' roots despite all playing nearly identical to games like Resident Evil 4 and 5.

First-person on the other hand is just a whole different ballpark. If people can recognize the differences between playing a shooter in first-person vs third-person, then I don't understand why this fandom sometimes acts like it's not a big deal because "you're doing the same stuff." If Mario fans can get uptight about a game like Mario Sunshine feeling too slippery and Halo fans can b*tch about Halo 2's physics being different from Halo 1's and both have those things be remedied in later installments, then I don't see why Resident Evil should be any less sacred.

I know back when Resident Evil 6 came out, people did complain about how loose and weightless the characters felt because this series has always been known for its heavier more grounded feeling characters which Capcom did fix with Revelations 2, yet they made RE7 first-person anyway...

Over the shoulder not only carries the same spirit as the fixed camera games, it opens the series up for so many new opportunities that can further enhance and evolve what was already established in ways that first-person just can't. Sure, first-person can still be scary but scary and horror are very general concepts that can be represented in any number of ways while Resident Evil will always be distinctly Resident Evil, as is anything else with an identity. Unfortunately, Resident Evil just so happens to be having an identity crisis with just about every release.
 
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Hardware

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My problem with first-person in Resident Evil is simply that it doesn't feel like Resident Evil. You can be doing the same exact things as in any other Resident Evil game but it will always feel different because it's in first-person which completely alters the overall experience which is why genres always differentiate between camera perspectives.

I love first-person games, I have nothing against them. Halo is one of my all time favorite franchises and I can always enjoy a good first-person shooter. I even enjoyed Resident Evil 7 and 8, but I just wish they weren't Resident Evil games.

Resident Evil has such a distinct gameplay that makes it feel like Resident Evil and not something like Silent Hill or Dead Space and the way it has evolved through the years was very consistent with the exception of Resident Evil 6, but then RE7 came along and just completely ditched the very identity of the franchise after Revelations 2 tried to get it back on track.

I never understood the complaints about tank controls during the fixed camera era and nothing has solidified my appreciation for them more than the HD Remaster of REmake which allows for "traditional" controls which are just absolutely wonky as hell. Having to stop and readjust your movement with every camera change is so abysmal which only proves to me that the tank style gameplay was essential at the time and the only reason why the games are still remembered fondly today.

First-person would have been terrible on the PS1 back in 1996, like it was once conceptualized, which is an argument people always love to make when defending RE7's first-person perspective. Third-person shooters and action games weren't exactly setting the world on fire either for anyone to think that they could have done anything but fixed cameras and the control scheme was absolutely perfect for navigating within those limitations.

As much as I love the fixed camera angles and find them to be a lost art, I can admit they were simply a means to an end due to hardware limitations, which is why I'll never advocate for them to return in any significant capacity. The over the shoulder perspective was by far the best choice to move the series forward and it wasn't quite the departure most people made it out to be or still try to make it seem when defending the change to first-person.

Resident Evil 4's control scheme, animations, movement, momentum, stop and aim combat, etc. This was all carried over from REmake and is what made Resident Evil 4 feel like you were still playing a game in the Resident Evil series despite improvements and additions like free-aim and a dedicated knife button as well as the many context sensitive button prompts such as melee and cover.

Over the shoulder simply gave the player more control over the character without ditching its core gameplay identity. The only problem however is that people seem to associate Resident Evil 4 with its linear level design and combat oriented progression that they believe the gameplay itself was somehow altered from previous entries, even though people would go on to complain that Resident Evil 5 didn't let you move and shoot, which again, misses the whole point of Resident Evil.

Revelations would go on to cleverly address this complaint with its enemy design forcing the player to move backwards while shooting to increase tension rather than moving forward and guns blazing it, which is something the series has continued since and improved upon.

Despite RE4 and RE5 being more action oriented games, they're still not exactly shooters and do abide by specific survival horror conventions which is why a game like Resident Evil 2 REmake and to a lesser degree, the Revelations series can be considered a return to the series' roots despite all playing nearly identical to games like Resident Evil 4 and 5.

First-person on the other hand is just a whole different ballpark. If people can recognize the differences between playing a shooter in first-person vs third-person, then I don't understand why this fandom sometimes acts like it's not a big deal because "you're doing the same stuff." If Mario fans can get uptight about a game like Mario Sunshine feeling too slippery and Halo fans can b*tch about Halo 2's physics being different from Halo 1's and both have those things be remedied in later installments, then I don't see why Resident Evil should be any less sacred.

I know back when Resident Evil 6 came out, people did complain about how loose and weightless the characters felt because this series has always been known fot its heavier more grounded feeling characters which Capcom did fix with Revelations 2, yet they made RE7 first-person anyway...

Over the shoulder not only carries the same spirit as the fixed camera games, it opens the series up for so many new opportunities that can further enhance and evolve what was already established in ways that first-person just can't. Sure, first-person can still be scary but scary and horror are very general concepts that can be represented in any number of ways while Resident Evil will always be distinctly Resident Evil, as is anything else with an identity. Unfortunately, Resident Evil just so happens to be having an identity crisis with just about every release.
Well, I reckon the reasons why RE isn't hold as sacred as other franchises and why it has been experiencing an identity crisis for the past 16 years are one and the same: because it's supposed to be horror and horror is not mainstream. So Capcom keeps trying new stuff to appeal to the masses. I am not justifying them, mind you: the sad thing is that they are counting a bit too much on this franchise to keep 'em afloat. Games are very expensive to make in this day and age, but I refuse to think a classic-style RE game would fail to bring in money. Actually, RE:2 proved you can make a third person survival horror game with actual puzzles (there's less of them than in the original, but they are there and they are not as dumb as what you find in Village) and make A LOT of money. Village was already underway when RE: 2 was released, so there was no way to change it, but I do hope they'll keep in mind how well the remake of 2 did perform when planning future games.
 

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I have a hard time finding ANYONE who prefers the true first person views of the newer titles. I get why they exist, and I too think RE9 will have them which is unfortunate (they COULD let us get a third person over the shoulder replay after finishing the game at least). But I also do not think the first person view works the way Capcom thinks it should work. They are trying to make the player feel like they are in the shoes of Ethan, but Ethan is always his own character in RE7 and RE8. Even in the official artwork, they blank out Ethans face.... but we ALL know what he looks like?

I would LOVE to see a fixed camera 3rd person angle return for a throwback game, but I think the Third person Over The Shoulder that was truly mastered in RE2R and RE3R is the best version of the RE mechanics they have ever made. I love the feel of it and being able to really appreciate seeing the character in the space. That adds to the horror for me and I think that is one of the reasons Mr. X was so much scarier than Jack Baker or Lady D in those moments (although Jack DOES have some tense moments to be fair).
 

Hardware

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I am not even sure why Capcom thinks 1st person works so well...aside for it being extremely popular...for reasons that still baffle me! I am old, I remember when Wolfenstein 3D came around, immediately followed by Doom and Duke Nukem 3D and Quake: back then, it was very cool because we had (almost - it wasn't 100% new) never experienced a game through the eyes of the character...but, in this day and age, after 30 years of FPS, I honestly have an hard time understanding why it is considered so cool when you can play as a character that actually seems alive in third person. And, yes, proper 1st person games require the character to just be an empty husk the player can inhabit. Nathan is not like that. RE7 could've been a third person, OTS game (seriously, there's nothing in there preventing it from not being so - save for those awful VHS moments, which it needed to offer another perspective). Village even has troubles staying coherent and switches to third person in the last bit for the sake of drama.
 

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To say my bit about that, I think 3rd person, OTS camera is simply the best way to do a RE. You want a slow paced game, with more spongy enemies and more "horror" atmosphere...OTS works. You want more action, with more combat and freedom of movement? OTS works. Doesn't matter what the kind of RE you want, OTS can pretty much covers it. And especially with the new RE engines, where the characters are so good looking...it's a shame to hide them. It's nice to see the characters in RE2 and 3R getting dirty and bruised, and see their expressions while you're in caution. 1st person loses all of that. I liked Village, but like many said, it wouldn't change the game by being 3rd person. I think it would only (maybe) impact their guard mechanic, which I think works better in 1st person, but that's all. They could know a way around it.

As for 3rd person with fixed camera angles. Meh. It was a necessity back then. it can be cool and nostalgic on indie games, but I can't accept a real, AAA, serious game with auto-aim or lock on in 2021. It's okay to have those features in a hack'n slash, or in an adventure, where ranged weapons are just a part of your arsenal, but in RE ranged weapons are pretty much all you got and auto-aim just makes the combat boring in that case, and you lose the chance to give enemies weak points. I think fixed cameras can stay with the indies.
 

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. It's nice to see the characters in RE2 and 3R getting dirty and bruised, and see their expressions while you're in caution.
That's one of the things I liked the most about the two recent remakes and it relates to the empathic process I was referring to a few posts ago: in RE: 2 and RE: 3 the main characters actually display the signs of their struggle, making it more real. I really like that. And it's something you don't get from 1st person, since your character is just a pair of hands (sometimes you might glimpse the legs, but that's a rare occasion). I think the reason why Ethan's hands get mutilated over and over is an attempt to make us feel for him, but it all happens in scripted cutscenes, not while we are playing...plus, it's all pretty effin' stupid. One can tolerate his character getting all dirty and even temporarily bloody, but losing limbs is too much of a stretch in my book.
 

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"I never understood the complaints about tank controls during the fixed camera era and nothing has solidified my appreciation for them more than the HD Remaster of REmake which allows for "traditional" controls which are just absolutely wonky as hell."

I've had people tell me, "You know what I don't like about Resident Evil? Every time the character is walking, it's like controlling a tank.".

I've always responded, "Who the hell walks in Resident Evil?"

You have to cover so much ground, if you walk everywhere you go, it'll take you forever to finish the game. A game like Director's Cut might contain four to five hours total play time, that's while running. If you try to finish it while walking everywhere you go, it'll take you seventeen hours to finish the game. Try running. When you arm your character with their weapon, and you run, which is something you're going to do everywhere you go, it no longer looks or feels like tank controls. It looks and feels normal and natural. But to not like a game just because they don't like the walking, that's just kind of dumb.
 
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