Everybody knows gamers flock to horror games like mice to cheese. The promise to be terrified has never been something true fans have shied away from. The one name that has become unanimous with the horror genre is, Resident Evil, and after five years we are finally treated to the newest instalment, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is the spiritual reboot to the genre-defining franchise that has horrified and entertained fans for decades. Taking notes from the first entry, you step into the shoes of Ethan Winters, who takes it upon himself to visit the last known location of his wife, Mia, whose whereabouts are somewhere in the Louisiana bayou. Faced with the derelict house players were able to explore in the tech demo available last year, it is up to you to explore the property and find your wife.
A major change that Capcom has made with Resident Evil 7 is a change in perspective. For the first time, you will play a Resident Evil game from a first person perspective (I don’t count Operation Raccoon City and neither should you). This immersion into the eyes of the character gives a far scarier perspective as you creep around the darkened halls and corridors, anticipating the next jump scare on the edge of your seat. It doesn’t help, of course, that the environments are so well textured that the world you’re plunged into, almost looks real. RE7 is a simply breathtaking showcase of the brainpower behind Capcom and an ode to how powerful the current generation of consoles are.
As ever, music plays an integral role during high-tension sequences, that occupy most of the play through. As the music gets louder, you know you are not safe and need to run. Nothing is scarier than walking in a hall, hearing sharp strikes of a violin with no enemy in sight. Controls are very straight forward, using universal layouts seen in many other FPS games. The simplicity of it all lets you stay in control in even the most stressful circumstances.
One aspect that makes this feel unlike past games and a new IP entirely is the surprising lack of what Resident Evil is known for; zombies. Instead, you have to defend yourself against the Bakers, the deranged inhuman family who seems to be responsible for Mia’s disappearance. The plot is perfectly paced, keeping you looking for every file to uncover the mystery of the Baker’s home.
Game difficulty is a pretty steady climb as the game progresses, with harder modes available once the game is completed. Keep your ammo stocked because you will most definitely need it. I found myself occasionally defenseless without a single bullet to protect me. Do not recommend!
Even though this game feels far from what we have seen in years past, a lot of Resident Evil tropes we are familiar with stay constant in this entry. Inventory is easy to maintain, giving players preset slots for items. Make sure you keep track because it will fill up quick, which can be a pain further into the game. There were a few moments where I was unable to collect a lot of useful items due to a full inventory. Puzzles are scattered throughout the game, with some necessary to further the plot and some simply to find hidden upgrades and weapons. The balance is spot on with combat and puzzles, something Capcom has perfected. The item box from early titles makes a reappearance, allowing you to store and recover items at various safe rooms in the game.
Exploring the house feels right out of the beginning of the first Resident Evil, it was most definitely a nostalgic trip for me. My only issue with the game was the facial animations with the few characters you interact with. Moments occur where the mouthing of words don’t match up. It’s a minor issue but it can be enough to take you out of the moment. Even an issue like that doesn’t even touch on the incredible, disturbing, horrifying experience that I had with this game.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a fresh revival of a much-loved franchise. The Bakers are a set of characters you will love to hate and especially love to fear. I praise its ability to maintain the well-known horror-filled ambiance that keeps us on the edge of our seat along with distancing itself far enough to be its own entity without relying too heavily on meeting the bar of past entries. So, if you want a beautiful, well paced, fun, terrifying game that reinvents the genre it created 20 years ago, then by all means, pick up Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.