The scary season has arrived and many players are replaying their favorite horror titles. One of the greatest horror series of all, resident Evil, is a popular choice for its mix of fear, action, and zombie content. Among his most requested titles is that of 2019 Resident Evil 2 remake, in which players take on the role of Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy during a zombie virus outbreak in Raccoon City.
In both character scenarios, players must survive by dodging or detonating zombie abominations. The atmospheric setting is terrifying, taking place in dark hallways and enclosed spaces where the walking dead can be just around the corner, ready to attack. However, one of the most iconic enemies is not exactly a zombie, but a bio-organic weapon in the form of a giant man. This man is known as Mr. X, and he stalks the player constantly throughout the game. Despite being a beloved character by the fandom, many realized that he wasn’t that scary after the first two encounters. In fact, the way he hunts the player ends up getting more boring than anything else.
When scary turns into tedious gameplay
Part of what is supposed to scare Mr. X off is that he can’t be killed, only slowed down at best. This factor is meant to strike player anxiety, a fight or flight response, and a sense of helplessness. However, in various threads on Reddit and Steam, many players share that Mr. X is one of the less scary parts of the game and that they tend to be more afraid of lickers and even dogs. At worst, some players have mentioned that Mr. X makes the game less enjoyable because it would force them to painfully get around it and hide in order to survive.
Hiding from Mr. X was supposed to be part of the fun, a scary part that could cause players to melt into anxious laughs. However, Mr. X turned out resident Evil players who are being hunted can actually be a nuisance once the hunter is no longer scary. The fact that Mr. X is a constant in the game gives players a lot of time to get jaded and get used to his looks and behavior, so once they’re in their second part of character, the appearance of the giant killer makes annoyed sighs rather than panic.
This is not exclusive to Mr. X and resident Evil, although, as other horror games can fall into this rut ââ- with Alien: Isolation, Among sleep, Phasmophobia, and silent Hill being examples of that. The games have invincible characters that can be scary for a while but become annoying nuisances once players get to know their behavior a little too much. What causes Mr. X in particular to age quickly are the two-character scenarios of Resident Evil 2. Of course, the number of memes that popped up on the internet about her didn’t help her case. Some players have even turned to mods to make Mr. X more spooky, turning him into other characters such as Pennywise from This or Jason Voorees from Friday 13.
How to keep being hunted scary for gamers
The trick that games will need to adopt if they want players to be afraid of being hunted is to find ways to ensure that their hunters don’t become predictable or a constant annoyance. Mr. X has perfect moments in Resident Evil 2, especially in more performative scenes where he shows his raw strength by killing other characters and moving huge objects along that path. His best moments are more subtle, like the anticipation of meeting him when he hears his footsteps. It is in these sequences that players are not embarrassed while being in a state of terrified wonder.
Keeping the scary hunts is giving a little more love to a script rather than losing an invincible AI to the game world. One example is how Fatal frame manages his invincible bosses before the final battle deals with them. The moment the player is stalked by an invincible ghost is scripted in a short window rather than a constant in gameplay. Sometimes less is more, and that’s certainly true with resident Evil and the horror genre as a whole.
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Fans are creating yet another Resident Evil 2 mod that replaces the tyrant Mr. X, with Stephen King’s It’s Pennywise taking his place this time around.
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