Resident Evil 7 Review – The Family Brings the Horror
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC
Genre: Survival Horror
US Release: January 24th, 2017
Review copy provided by Capcom
esident Evil has gone through many transformations and experiments but no game of the series in recent years has caught my attention like Resident Evil 7. The promise to return to it’s roots, going first-person and choosing an intimate horror setting definitely seems like a solid new start for the franchise and Resident Evil 7 really delivers on almost all these elements and gives the series a new refreshing direction.
You play as Ethan who is coming to Louisiana after a message from his missing wife Mia. The journey leads you to a mansion and the game makes it very clear that it doesn’t shy away from showing you how vulnerable and helpless you are. The gore is relentless, especially in the first hour and this sets the tone perfectly for whats to come.
The first-person view would lend itself to a jump scare fest but Resident Evil 7 does a very good job of keeping you on your toes and not overusing this gimmick. So while you are searching for keys and items, which is a large portion of the game you can’t really tell when the game chooses to scare your socks off.
The game also completely abandons the idea of skill trees and progression systems that can be found in almost every AAA game. You can find backpacks that increase your inventory slots and items that increase your health, but that’s it. This minimalistic approach really helps to immerse you into the world. You also won’t find way points or easy indicators. You have to rely on a brief objective description and files you find throughout the game. This helps to immerse you in the world and really puts the focus on exploring and your actions.
The progression in general is very well paced and the save system does make it all the more smooth. You have save rooms spread all across the game and auto-saves will catch you if you forget to save. There’s nothing worse than replaying huge portions of a horror game over and over.
The way the game presents the family you’re up against is done in a very interesting way. You will see all of them in action and all of them have a very different approach. For example, the son Lucas will have you go through Saw-like puzzles while the father Jack hunts you down like there’s no tomorrow.
The videotapes you can find, are also a nice touch and they let you replay some encounters others had with the family. You can find clues and items from these tapes and also lets you explore and understand the other people that had contact with the family.
The enemy variety throughout the game is very slim and don’t pose much of a threat though. They make for a good scare once you spot them first after a corner but don’t do much and aren’t really a threat once you figured out what they do.
The atmosphere is held up by the presentation and sound as well. Every corner of the house has it’s unnerving sounds, especially if you are hiding from Jack in a corner. As the mansion opens up to you, there’s tons of details to discover, from the rotten basement to the weirdly bright children’s room, Resident Evil 7 does a great job of bringing detail to the house.
The tight space and the strong narrative are a perfect mix up for the series and make for a terrifying Resident Evil experience we haven’t seen in years. If this is the new direction, i’m all in.