- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
- Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Release Date: January 24, 2017
- Version Reviewed: Xbox One
I have been a fan of the Resident Evil series since I played the original back in the late 1990s on the PS1. Everything about the universe captured me. Over the years, every new title has drawn me back into that universe. Well, almost every title. Let’s just pretend Umbrella Corps doesn’t exist. When Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was announced a few months back at E3, I was both excited and apprehensive. But how do I feel about it now that I have spent a couple hours playing it?
Story (Mostly Spoiler-Free)
Four years after the events of Resident Evil 6, the Umbrella Corporation is no more. As the game opens, we meet Ethan Winters. Ethan is just a regular guy. Unfortunately for Ethan, his wife, Mia, went missing three years ago. However, Ethan receives a video of Mia and believes she is still alive. He sets out for Dulvey, Louisiana in hopes of bringing her home. Ethan arrives at a seemingly abandoned farmhouse. During his time in the house, Ethan gets knocked out by someone. When he awakes, we meet Jack, Marguerite, Lucas and Grandma Baker. But something is not quite right with this family. After a bit of torture, the Bakers leave Ethan alone and he escapes. Ethan resumes his search for Mia while avoiding the Bakers.
Most RE titles are visually pretty dark. This helps create the ambiance of the game. RE7 does a remarkable job of continuing the tradition. While there are a few scenes that take place in the daylight, the majority of the game is at night. The day scenes are beautiful and bright. But when night falls, your main light source is a very small flashlight. Nearly every non-character texture in gameplay looks like real life. Characters still look really good during gameplay, but not quite like real world people. However, in the opening cutscene, I had a hard time being able to tell if Mia was a real person or a character model. RE has come a long way since the pre-rendered textures days.
Possibly the most notable change to the RE series is the switch from 3rd person to 1st person view. There are a few spinoffs that have been in 1st person, but this is the first time it has been done in a mainline game. This does take some getting used to at first. However, once you are comfortable with the view, it feels really good. It still feels like a Resident Evil game instead of a generic FPS title. This is because RE7 is not a fast-paced, action-adventure shooter. It goes back to the roots of the original games and focuses on exploration and puzzle solving. You do not even start off with a weapon. Not even a knife. You get a hatchet about 20-30 minutes into the game, just to have it almost immediately taken from you. Eventually you get a pocket knife and a handgun with very limited ammo, but for the most part, your eyes are your best weapon. You will need to be on the lookout for ways to solve puzzles, as well as seeing members of the Baker family before they see you. Much like RE1 and RE2, a lot of combat can and should be avoided. If you waste your ammo on an enemy you could have just hidden from, you may find yourself in a boss fight with no hope of coming out victorious.
This game definitely has some scares. There were several times during my playthrough that I could feel the hair on my neck and arms standing up and chill bumps, my heart beating fast and my body temperature getting warmer. I am not necessarily complaining about this because it is exactly what I wanted from the game. But I feel like this will also be a hindrance for some players. Aside from that, there are a few instances where an objective is not quite clear. There are also instances when the Bakers will randomly spawn and block your path, making it nearly impossible to proceed.
Resident Evil 7 – Verdict
There are RE fans that like the original games for the puzzles and survival aspects. Then there are fans that like the more action-oriented style from RE4 onward. Whichever you may be, this game has something for you. Resident Evil 7 goes back to the survival approach pretty heavy and it works for the game really well. But the developers put some action in there as well. It might not be as much or as often, but it should give the more recent fans there fix. If this is your first time stepping into the RE universe, you are in for a ride. Even though it is a sequel to RE6, the way the game feels almost seems like it is a re-imagining of RE1. You will find yourself scared, but unable to stop searching for answers!
What are your thoughts on Resident Evil 7? Let us know in the comments below!