Review Context: I have played all the main series Resident Evil games, with the exception of Resident Evil 6. I’ve also played some side games, such as Resident Evil: Revelations 2 and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.
Date of Playthrough: January 24, 2017
The Resident Evil series is an iconic horror game series in gaming. It’s no secret it has had its ups and its downs. With Resident Evil VII; Biohazard, Capcom promises to bring the series back to its horror roots after taking a more action-driven style.
Taking place in rural Louisiana, the player takes control of Ethan, who is looking for answers to his wife’s disappearance three years prior. Entering the Baker family household, things turn bad real quick as you start to uncover horrifying truths and dig up a deeper mystery that truly fits the style of Resident Evil.
What really makes Resident Evil VII shine is how much it keeps what made the older games so enjoyable. Although the change to a first person view can be a little off-putting for veterans of the series, it helps enhance the terror that looms in the house as you try to avoid the deranged members of the Baker Family. Inventory management, limited and scarce ammo, save spots, and old fashion puzzles really help retain that classic Resident Evil feel while keeping up with modern gaming trends.
The gameplay is exactly like you would expect a first person game to play. While older games had controls that seemed to work against the player, this feels natural and intuitive. I have to put emphasis on that fact that this still feels like a classic Resident Evil game, despite the viewpoint. Puzzles in the game range from a bit difficult to pretty simple. Veterans of the series will recognise where a lot of these puzzles came from, as you can found similar door or weight-based puzzles in the first game. Videotapes scattered around the house will have you jumping perspective from Ethan to some of the many victims of the Baker family. These will foreshadow future items or puzzles before seeing the untimely demise of these characters. There are scenes in this game that will make your stomach turn, so be warned.
The Baker family really helps make this game shine as well. While they are trying to murder you or make you a part of their “family,” each member has their own unique personality and documents scattered about the house to give you a look into the Bakers before they turned crazy. Like the original Resident Evil, the majority takes place in this one setting. Each section of the house feels completely different, making new sections feel fresh.
The horror is arguably the best in the series. The sound design will have creeps running up and down your spine. Enemies called “Molded” are tough and will come at you from just about any direction, making you think twice about every bullet you collect. The boss fights in the game are absolutely fantastic and challenging. Getting to the deeper mystery in the Baker house will deliver a pretty interesting story while having you scream out loud.
Resident Evil VII does tie into the older titles and for the sake of spoilers, I won’t talk about them. While the game does end with some questions hanging for the entirety of the series, the game has a solid conclusion. There are multiple endings, though not many changes besides a cutscene or two. When you complete the game you have the option to play the game again, keeping items in the inventory box, and for the brave souls you can go into the ‘Madhouse’ difficulty, the hardest difficulty. The truly brave players who own a PlayStation VR have the option to play the game completely in VR. Unfortunately, I have not been able to buy one so I cannot comment on how well the game functions in VR.
The game is roughly eight hours long. With all the collectables and documents it will extend the game time. DLC has already started rolling out at the time of this review, which I have not had a chance to play yet. There is more DLC coming in the future, with a free story piece coming in the spring, though no date has been given as.
Resident Evil VII had the promise of bringing the series back to its horror roots. It’s safe to say that it certainly delivered on that promise and then some. This game is certainly a ‘must buy’ for anyone who is looking for a good scare, or a Resident Evil fan that has fallen out because of certain previous games. The first person viewpoint may seem strange, as previous entries have been in the third person, but this decision was a bold but smart move that really helped the game shine.
Similar Games Liked:
Resident Evil HD (PS4)
Resident Evil 4 (PS4)
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (PS4)