Review: Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
Mia, you’re the love of my life but I lost you. Not to another man, you just disappeared, leaving me behind as a broken man. After three years, I finally heard something of you, a videotape arrived in my mail, telling me you were taken to a mansion, belonging to the Baker family. You warned me to stay away, you warned me to forget you. But I can’t do that. I’ll take the risk if it means I can see you again, I’ll travel to the Baker’s mansion and rescue you from the horrors you’ve faced over the years.
A fresh start
Resident Evil 7 is Capcom’ answer to the cancellation of Project P.T. and brings back the Resident Evil franchise to its roots. Where the new Resident Evil games mostly focused on faster action and more enemies on the screen, Resident Evil 7 takes us back to the roots of the franchise, a haunted mansion. This time we travel to Dulvey in Louisiana where you’ll need to investigate the Dulvey Haunted Manion, the property of the Baker family. This means you’ll no longer travel from place to place and you won’t need to walk from village to village. Resident Evil 7 narrows down its playfield to this haunted mansion and therefore returns to the roots of the franchise. Although the map is a lot smaller than we’re used of in modern Resident Evil games, this truly feels like a big step forward. Capcom finally understood where the franchise needed to go and this game marks the fresh start of the franchise. New setting, new characters, and a new camera angle. Welcome to the most terrifying Resident Evil experience in years.
Up close and personal
Perhaps the biggest change in Resident Evil 7 is the camera angle. This is no longer a third person survival game, Resident Evil 7 brings you up close with the horror and plays as a first person survival game. This means you’ll see and hear everything Ethan, our new protagonist, sees and hears. It’s an extremely personal experience but thanks to this new camera, you’ll be sucked into the world of Resident Evil like you never did before. Opening up doors, descending to the basement, investigating a photo… Everything feels a lot more intense and the camera really adds a lot to the atmosphere of the game.
You’re never safe!
This is a Resident Evil game as they all should have been. It’s not a shooter since weapons and ammo are very limited. Instead of trying to fight enemies, it’s a better idea to run and hide in order to save your bullets for a boss later on in the game. It’s a very traditional game filled with elements that made the first Resident Evil game such a success. You’ll still need herb-based medicines to keep your health high, you’ll still need to find certain rooms if you want to save your progress manually. It looks like a new direction at first sight, but if you look closer, this is the closest a Resident Evil game gets to the first one in the franchise, which is a good thing!
The mansion is the true star of the game
The new camera works extremely well but that’s because of the great new setting. The Baker’s house looks very realistic thanks to the new engine and you’ll always have the feeling of being the hunted once you entered the mansion. Capcom filled the house with impressive light effects and sound effects to always keep you on the edge while playing. It’s not a very long game but believe me when I say, you’ll be glad when you survived the ten hours of gameplay. This is by far the most intense Resident Evil game of the recent years.
You’ll need to escape from the evil in the mansion but besides that, you’ll also need to solve some puzzles in order to advance. These are traditional Resident Evil puzzles where you’ll need to play with switches, find certain objects or interact with the right object at the right time. The only problem with this is that you can’t take it easy while searching for a solution. As said before, you’ll always hear something that will make you want to leave the mansion as soon as possible, but unfortunately for you , that’s not possible.
The mansion you’re in has a huge history and its residents aren’t really people you want to meet. The truth of the mansion doesn’t only unfold in the present, but also in the past. Once in a while, you’ll discover a videotape of a camera crew that went missing after they investigated the house. Where other games would simply show you the footage, Resident Evil 7 transforms you into the cameraman of that crew, years ago. Finding a videotape leads to an extra mission where you’ll learn more about the house and the routes you need to unlock in order to advance. It’s a smart technique to give you some more information about the house and these flashbacks are as scary as the main game.
Some might think it’s a bit of a shame to revisit these locations in the present and past but Capcom made sure the environment changed just enough to keep it thrilling for the gamer. There’s nothing boring about revisiting certain locations because you never know what to expect. One thing’s for sure, you’re never safe.
As tradition wants it, Resident Evil 7 also features some iconic bossfights. Of course, you’ll need to defeat the crazy Baker family. Fighting enemies isn’t as fast as you’re used to in other games but this has a certain charm. Ethan doesn’t move like a soldier but he fights like you and I would fight if we were faced with true horror. This results in rather slow movements while wielding a weapon. It has a slight downside when you’re fighting bosses since you’ll need to learn their pattern first before you can defeat them. Most bossfights offer a trial&error strategy until you have the timing of your attacks just right. It can become a little frustrating since you’ll restart a little further away from the boss than you would like but aside from that, the fights are memorable for a long time to come. Facing bosses has always been one of the highlights of the franchise but believe me when I say that you ain’t seen nothing yet!
As you might already know, Resident Evil 7 is the first ‘serious’ game to take advantage of the PSVR. Since we received an Xbox One copy, we couldn’t really test it out but after spending some time with the PlayStation 4 demo it’s safe to say that this might be the most intense horror experience on the market in VR. If you want to play this game using your PSVR be prepared for some sleepless nights. The game is filled with insane moments and in VR, there’s no way to escape from it. It’s without a doubt the best experience on the market but the controls might be a little too clunky to stay enjoyable during longer sessions. If you’re playing in VR, be sure to take enough breaks to keep you focused.
Resident Evil 7 is an instant classic and finally brings back the true Resident Evil formula. A haunted house, creepy enemies and the feeling of never being safe combined with a first person camera and incredible graphics, makes this an adventure to never forget. Don’t be mistaken, this is perhaps the scariest game you’ll play, especially when you’re walking around in Virtual Reality. It has some small downsides but none of those take away the fact that this game kept us on the edge of our seat during ten of the most intense hours ever. It’s a game you definitely need to play.