Hello and welcome to a semi-new staff collaboration series from those of us here at The Nerd Stash called “Clash at the Stash”. This series pits two writers against each other over hotly debated nerd culture topics that have been going on from days-decades.
My name is Taylor Cole. I’m a writer and editor here at The Nerd Stash. You can think of me as your host, smoothly guiding you through all the rules and who our competitors are in a soothing voice like the Candyman himself, Tony Todd.
It’s that special time of year where horror reigns supreme, candy is given out for ringing doorbells, and I’m scared absolutely $#%@-less by anything that resembles an eight-legged creature.
As a host of this prestigious series, I try to be well-informed going into any Clash at the Stash matchup. I have to admit, this one was difficult because of two reasons. First, I’m a wimp. Second, these aren’t just awesome horror games. They are amazing games that just so happen to be in the horror genre.
Silent Hill has the atmosphere of you being trapped in a gruesome nightmare with terrifying monsters lurking behind every corner. Then we have Resident Evil, the other horror franchise that puts you in a claustrophobic setting with the hungry undead waiting for you to turn the doorknob. They share similarities but what’s important to note is that Silent Hill and Resident Evil are the best of the best in the horror game genre. We just need to figure out one thing. Which franchise is better?
Rules are simple. Each writer gets 500-1,000 words to state their case in an informative and entertaining manner. After they do this, I’ll direct you to our three judges (other members of our staff). They’ll give out their verdicts based on what was said and how entertaining they were.
In the corner of the man who punches
rocks minerals boulders and the Resident Evil franchise, we have Steve Bennett. Steve comes in at 31 consoles played and “too many hours to admit” in Resident Evil 2. In the corner of Pyramid Head and Silent Hill, we have Billy Whitehouse. Billy’s no slouch, coming in at 32 consoles played, months in various Silent Hill games, and “many sprints across dark rooms to turn on ill-placed lights”.
Steve, why don’t you start the clash:
I absolutely love Silent Hill. It’s a weird way to start my argument for Resident Evil, but I have to get it out there. Both franchises are fantastic, however, Resident Evil just shuffles into the lead.
There are a lot more quality entries in Capcom’s series than there are in Konami’s. Not only that but there are enough differing gameplay styles, meaning there truly is something for everyone. Plus, they are still actively being made which, unfortunately, can’t be said about Silent Hill at this time.
Let’s begin with the traditional Resident Evil formula. Classic survival horror complete with clunky tank controls and a huge highlight in the PlayStation 1 library. Tank controls aren’t for everyone, however any criticisms there will also apply to most of the Silent Hill games and certainly the greatest of that franchise, Silent Hill 2.
For me, the controls help increase tension. Especially when combined with the fixed camera angles of old. At any moment, danger could be hidden out of sight. Often running blindly around a corner could get you chomped or force you into a fight or flight situation. Fleeing would require a slow 180 in the older titles whereas fighting would root your character to the spot as you fired away your precious ammo.
Later titles would provide quality of life improvements for some players including a quick turn as well as more control options in re-releases.
As I’ve said recently, Silent Hill 2 has a great story, but Resident Evil manages to weave an interconnecting B-movie-esque tale across multiple titles. The first game has some of the worst voice acting ever and it’s all the better for it. Barry Burton is king among all men; his lines are iconic and so easily quotable.
Let me ask you this. How many lines can you quote from Resident Evil compared to Silent Hill? Exactly.
The storytelling does mostly improve as the series goes on and while it wouldn’t win any awards, it’s silly and fun. Isn’t that just what we want from our favorite hobby?
The early games were all about conserving ammunition whilst solving puzzles and enjoying the atmosphere. From Resident Evil 4 on, things started to change as the series appealed to a different set of fans.
For Resident Evil 4, the tank controls remained albeit with an over the shoulder viewpoint. Gone were the shuffling zombies, replaced with super-fast weapon toting Ganados. The game was still tense, just in a different way. Still rooted to the spot, Leon had to dispatch a huge number of enemies as they swarmed him. The opening village remains to this day as a great example of tension as you fight to make a last stand and not become decapitated by a chainsaw.
Resident Evil 5 did basically the same, again with improved controls and co-op. Admittedly, playing alone pretty much ruins it thanks to an awful AI partner, however, playing it online with your buddies makes for a great experience and is another set of players crossed off the list.
I’m going to pretend that Resi 6 doesn’t exist as it cannot possibly help my argument. It’s the equivalent of Silent Hill Downpour. You can’t always get things right.
Resident Evil 6 wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for 4. That game pushed the series into its more action-based phase. New fans came on board whilst old fans became alienated. So, what did Capcom do? They listened and treated us to Resident Evil 7 and a remake of 2.
Resident Evil 7 changed things up while going back to the basics. Despite a new first-person viewpoint, it felt much more like the first game than it had any right to. It gets criticized for copying PT, unfairly so, especially when the first Resident Evil was originally going to use a first-person viewpoint only for technological limitations to hamper that dream.
RE 7 was a glorious return and brought fear back to the series. Having to fight to survive and having the ability to do so in pant-staining VR.
Then we have the remake of Resident Evil 2, the greatest game in the franchise. Fans wanted it and they got it. Some things had changed but Capcom showed they could mix up the classic formula with the new.
A third-person view, shooting while moving, scarce ammo, and some form of puzzles. It was like a greatest hits and fans lapped it up. I myself have been one of the more vocal critics of the game, but I still loved it. Mr. X was just annoying.
Main games aside, let’s not forget there were even light gun games that were a bit of extra fun, not to mention a somewhat great, yet challenging, tabletop board game.
Note: Like Resi 6, the movies also don’t exist.
There we have it then, there’s something for everyone. Horror, action, shooting. Whatever you want is all present and accounted for somewhere in the Resident Evil-verse and thanks to Capcom’s love of money, you can play them, or at least a lot of them, on pretty much every console that exists. You won’t need to go out and buy another console like you would for Silent Hill. You’ll find some form of Resi on whatever you own.
Let’s finish with the monsters. Zombies are cool and they weren’t overused when the originals came out. The rest of the bioweapons are also great, minus the odd misstep. The Lickers may have a stupid name but remain terrifying to this day and Nemesis is an iconic enemy able to put fear into most of us.
I’d need so many more words than this to explain why Resident Evil should win. Not because I’m clutching at straws but because there’s so much on offer and so much to talk about. I can’t do that here. Check out any of my retrospectives on them to see, just don’t read the Silent Hill 2 one.
I need so many words for my argument, but I’ll win it with three.
Resident… Evil… Two.
On Christmas Day of 2001, I got a PlayStation 2, which was my first (and last, so far) PlayStation. My parents, being Baby Boomers with no real understanding of gaming systems, neglected to get me a game to play on the system. This is not as crazy as it sounds, as back in those days, consoles tended to come with a game featuring their company’s flagship character (Mario for Nintendo, Sonic for Sega). But there I was on Christmas Day with a brand new system and nothing to play on it. So my parents took me to whatever store was open that day and I searched through their selection and found what looked like the creepiest game I could find. And thus, Silent Hill saved me from a very boring winter vacation (being an only child has benefits and downsides).
Silent Hill has a long and consistent career of delivering horrifying atmospheric survival horror. Even Downpour—which is often considered the nadir of the series–was a game I couldn’t put down until I finished a playthrough. And unlike Resident Evil, you don’t have to forget the movies exist! Both Silent Hill movies are really enjoyable with excellent effects and creatures. And the first Silent Hill film has the distinction of being one of two major Hollywood films where Sean Bean is the only living lead when the credits roll (the other being Troy).
In truth, I’ve never gotten into the Resident Evil games so it’s difficult for me to make any solid first-hand counterarguments against them. I would like to try the most recent remake of Resident Evil 2 and I will concede from what I’ve read that that is probably the strongest single game in either franchise. But Silent Hill as a whole, in my opinion, doesn’t have any forgettable installments.
I think the best argument I can make for Silent Hill is the monster design. In this, Silent Hill is unmatched by anything except for *maybe* the Soulsborne games. Faceless nurses, the hammer-headed Schism, and the absolute friggin king of video game monsters, Pyramid Head. Resident Evil has zombies. And sure, zombies weren’t played out in the early days of the franchise but from what I’ve seen, they’ve failed to adjust to the times. The later games seem to be pivoting the series to a more action/combat-based gameplay. Not to say this can’t be done successfully, but also I present to you the disaster that is Dead Space 3. Also, we are arguing the best horror games, and an increase in fast-paced action is always going to decrease the dread and atmosphere of a good horror game. Of course, Silent Hill hasn’t kept up with the times at all, considering their last game was released in 2014. But also Resident Evil’s most recent installment is a retread of their second title.
Much like Steve, I could go on and on, but I’m running out of space. Steve ended his argument with three words. I only need two.
Steve tackled the variety of Resident Evil while Billy focused on the monsters of Silent Hill (while also throwing some shade at the Resident Evil movies). Let’s see what our judges had to say:
Johnny Reynolds – Both of these franchises have undoubtedly given many of us nightmares. But when it comes to which one reigns supreme, I have to go with Resident Evil simply due to one thing Steve’s argument nailed: variety.
As Taylor made clear, not everyone is into leave-the-lights-on, fear-for-your-life horror. Resident Evil has that in spades as does Silent Hill. But some Resident Evil games also let you experience action, where you don’t have to scrounge for every resource. That way, there’s something for every type of player. And for those who prefer the scares to the action, Capcom has been pushing back to the franchise’s skin-crawling roots. Silent Hill has the edge on creature design, sure. But when it comes to what you as the player are allowed to do, Resident Evil takes the top spot.
Brandon Stephenson – I’ll admit that I don’t watch horror movies or play spooky games much anymore, they just aren’t my cup of tea. But there’s one franchise I always keep my eyes on, and that’s Resident Evil. Why? Because Capcom hasn’t been afraid to innovate and change the franchise.
Just as Steve said, it’s been the variety of the franchise. Some games don’t always work, many of the spin-offs are forgettable at best, but when a mainline game comes out, it’s hard not to pay attention. How can a franchise reinvent itself so many times and still be considered one of the best? Just look no further than Resident Evil. What was once a strict horror franchise that evolved into action and back to horror again, there’s something for everyone to experience.
Mark Sethi – Billy might have me convinced that Silent Hill is a horrifying franchise, with some of the most terrifying and memorable monsters in all of gaming. However, I’m going to give it to Resident Evil based on the evolution of the franchise.
Billy said it himself, Silent Hill hasn’t kept up with the times. Steve, on the other hand, shows not only how Resident Evil has changed with gaming, but it has also revolutionized gaming. Resident Evil has redefined itself in every generation to stand out in the horror genre. And if we’re speaking on horrifying what’s scarier than playing a game like Resident Evil in VR? Maybe trying to play the original Silent Hill on a 4K TV. Definitely not easy on the eyes.
Winner: Resident Evil and Steve Bennett
I had a chance to sit down with Steve about his victory:
Taylor Cole: Steve, congrats on winning this Clash in pretty decisive fashion. One of the reasons behind it, although it wasn’t expressed in detail, I believe was due to Resident Evil’s memorable characters in comparison to Silent Hill. So, here’s my question for you. Who is the best character in the Resident Evil franchise?
Steve Bennett: “That’s the easiest question anyone has ever asked me and the answer is Barry Burton. As I said in the article he is a king amongst men. He’s a man who loves his family, a gentle giant who will do anything to protect them. More importantly, he’s the king of quotes. ‘whooahhh, this hall is dangerous’, ‘you were almost a Jill Sandwich’, and many more. He’s only been in 3 games (besides Mercenaries appearances) and needs to be in more. I love him, you love him. Long live the king.”
Which franchise do you think is better, Resident Evil or Silent Hill? What do you want to see us debate next? Let us know in the comments below!