There’s a pretty great article over at GameTopius called The Survival of Survival Horror about the way that modern survival horror games resemble their predecessors. The author, Thomas Cross, draws a line in the sand between games like Dead Space and Resident Evil 5, and Siren: New Translation and Silent Hill 5. His point–which is one I’ve attempted to make here before as well–is that the difference between these two types of games has less to do with the way that they are controlled or the amount of action they contain than the pacing and moment-to-moment game strategy that these games encourage. Cross also expertly points out that while both RE5 and Dead Space are action-oriented, Dead Space is very clearly designed to scare the player (though it’s success in that respect is sometimes damaged by its approach to combat pacing).
This is a very important distinction, and I like how Cross has called RE5 and Dead Space a new “quadrant” of survival horror. As we discuss the evolution of the modern survival horror game (which has been a hot topic here lately), I think that noting that these new games differ dramatically from each other (and from those of the past) is key to understanding how the genre is changing.
Give Cross’ article a read. It’s well-thought-out and quite timely.