- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
- Platform: PS4, PSVR
- Release Date: January 24, 2017
- Single Player
Reviewed on both PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR
While I am a fan of the Resident Evil series I have never actually considered them to be “scary” as a lot of other fans do. Sure zombies dogs suddenly jumping through windows is startling but that’s about it. I have always looked at the series as more of a gruesome action game than actually scary. Recent entries in the series (namely 5 and 6) did more to make Resident Evil more of an action game with fights inside of volcanos, unrealistically muscular characters and yes boulder punching (Resident Evil 5, I can’t make this stuff up). It is safe to say that over the years Resident Evil has strayed far away from its original survival horror roots. That is until now. With Resident Evil 7 Capcom has not only gone back to the roots of the series, they have made a game that literally had me shook all the way until the end.
Four years after the events of Resident Evil 6 we are introduced to a new lead character named Ethan Winters. Ethan has been searching for his wife Mia who has been missing for three years and is presumed dead. After being contacted by someone claiming to be Mia, Ethan travels to Dulvey, Louisiana to find his wife and solve the mystery of her disappearance. Mia is said to be in the home of the Baker family and to be honest Ethan probably would have been better off just letting her be missing…
Resident Evil 7: biohazard is a complete overhaul of the franchise in the same way that Resident Evil 4 when it was first released on the Nintendo Gamecube back in 2005. The game ditches the usual third person view in favor of a new first person perspective. Ethan is not with any sort of Special Forces unit like in other games. He is just a regular guy but seems to know his way around a weapon. While there isn’t a complete arsenal of weapons they all handle very well. Your best weapon will be your ability to hide and make decisions on the fly because the Baker family does not want you around and will relentlessly stalk you throughout the house. That goes triple for Jack “Welcome to the Family Son” Baker. Jack is the head of the Baker family and probably the best video game villain in recent history. Do you like exploration in video games? Are you the type of gamer that likes to search everywhere for everything you can get your hands on? Well if you are you wont be once you meet Jack. In a way that I can only compare to Nemesis in Resident Evil 3, Jack will show up just as you are starting to get comfortable walking around the place just to prove to you that your manhood (or womanhood) isn’t worth shit. Just a good 45 mins in and I couldn’t bring myself to walk more than 20 steps without hiding behind something for no reason. Running down hallways? Nope. Busting through doors with guns blazing? Nope. Shook? Yes.
The sound design plays a large role in the scares (especially while playing with a headset) with sounds that make you feel like you are always being followed all the time. Footsteps and the sound of banging on nearby windows created a level of fear like no other Resident Evil game has done before, especially in VR.
The Bakers will not be your only worries either. This is a Resident Evil game after all so there plenty of “infected” creatures to deal with as well. They come in a few varieties but these creatures called the “molded” (like in the basement in the current version of the RE7 demo) all share a similar, grotesque appearance and resemble some of the creatures from previous RE titles. Taking on the molded is the closest that RE7 comes to some of the more recent, action oriented entries in the series. There is no critical thinking or sense of being stalked with them, you just take them out with whatever weapons you have or you run.
One other aspect is item management. There are not a lot of weapons so most of your inventory will be filled with healing items, ammo, the things you need to craft healing items and ammo plus whatever keys or items you will need to progress the story. There are the classic Resident Evil item storage boxes here that will allow you to drop off what you don’t currently need and then collect it from any of the other item boxes found throughout the game. The inventory screen can also be upgraded by finding backpacks that will allow you to carry more items. There a very small number of these backpacks however so you can still fill up your inventory rather quickly. Overall it isn’t too bad but do you really want to run back to an item box with Jack looking for you? Not likely…
One of the things I loved most about RE7 are the video tapes that can be played via one of several VCRs found in the game. Just like the video tape found in the RE7 demo, these tapes allow you to play additional scenarios that are related directly to the storyline. Playing them will give you clues as to how you should proceed through certain parts of the game which can save you from the dreaded Game Over screen.
Capcom has crafted a horror masterpiece that has something for all Resident Evil fans from the original survival horror days to the recent action based titles. RE7 has a really cool storyline that could have honestly been used to reboot the Resident Evil movie franchise. It blends elements of many classic horror movies such as The Evil Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre and delivers a game that is a great launching point for the future of the franchise.
Final Score 9.25/10
PS4 Pro vs PSVR
Having played through the game both on PS4 Pro and PSVR I can say that both have their own strengths. Playing on PS4 Pro gave the game a better look over all with more detailed textures and lighting. Many areas were so dark the only light you could see was from either your flashlight or from a nearby lamp or other light source which added even more tension to what is already a frightning experience.
Playing the game’s included VR mode was a completely different experience that you should not miss out on if you have access to a PSVR unit.Everything from the title screen to each enemy encounter makes you feel as if you a really there. Enemies appear closer in VR than without it so when they pop up in your face it can make you jump out of your seat. Combat is a bit easier in VR as well thanks to a targeting reticle that resembles one you would see in an arcade shooter which made headshots easier to pull off. Aiming can also be fine tuned by pointing your heat at exactly what you want to shoot. The only drawback is that when you look down, you do not have a body like you do without the VR. What you get is a pair of disembodied hands that simply looks weird at first but you wont care very long