‘Resident Evil 7’ Review: Horror Done Right Thanks To Capcom

  • Playstation 4
  • Playstation VR
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
  • Action
  • Survival
NOTE: This article is a contribution and do not necessarily represent the views of Player One.
Party at the Baker family house! Woot woot.
Party at the Baker family house! Woot woot. Capcom/Steam

Resident Evil 7 biohazard will change the way you want to experience horror games. Not only does Capcom do a great job with creating a compelling story, but it throws away all preconceived notions of what you may think makes a good horror title. Resident Evil 7 biohazard is more than creepy blind hallways and supernatural occurrences; it’s about doing everything you can to survive while being under constant pressure to escape.

[WARNING: this review contains mild, yet necessary spoilers from Resident Evil 7 Biohazard.]

Survive, But Stay Focused

There are few horror games out there that present challenges the way RE7 does for the player. The game forces you to think quickly under pressure. When someone or something is chasing you in RE7 , it’s easy to lose your cool. Capcom succeeds in creating chaos to distract you from you objective.

For example, early on in the game Mr. Baker chases you around in a hallway once you’re finished exploring the kitchen area. During your search, you should encounter a locked hatch that’ll take you to another part of the Baker residence. The keyword here is locked . Meanwhile, there’s nothing in the kitchen you can take to defend yourself. You’re forced to explore the house unarmed.

This makes your first encounter with the Baker patriarch extremely nerve-wracking. He’ll chase you around the hallways, even breaking down a wall to get to you. Meanwhile you don’t have time to search for something to open the hatch. Capcom uses this encounter to instruct the player to be observant at all times. Mr. Baker chasing you around the halls will lead you to the key, but if you’re too busy panicking and running you won’t see what you need.

Most horror games give you the option of survival with a break to observe surroundings, but not RE7 . There’s a sort of think-fast theme is consistent throughout the game. You’ll need to stop to grab resources while also keeping an eye on an enemy that might be close behind. This adds an interesting layer to the thrills in RE7 .

Flight Not Fight

RE7 makes it clear you can’t rely on weapons alone to kill enemies. It’s easy to forget that video games essentially turn you into gods and it becomes natural to assume you’re invulnerable. Not in RE7 ! For example, there’s an encounter with Mia in the beginning where she attacks Ethan for no reason. It’s also the first time you will likely have a gun on you with 10 bullets. The logical part of your gamer mind says, “OK, I can stop her with headshots.”

However, this is not the case. You’ll empty your clip and Mia will still be going strong. Next, you’ll try to swing your axe at her, but it will fail. You’ll probably die a few times before you realize, “Shit, I have to run away from her.” This is where RE7 truly shines. This game is about survival, and sometimes your best option is to run. In “real life,” if someone is chasing you with a chainsaw, you don’t wait until they get close enough to swing at you to run. No, you muster up all the adrenaline you have to get out of sight.

RE7 successfully throws out timeworn horror game logic and conventions, and instead challenges the player to be smart under pressure. If you need a tool to help your out of a situation, you’ll need to make it. If you need medicine to patch up a cut, you’ll have to find it. If you’re out of bullets, you better have another weapon on you. If you can’t kill your enemy, you better run and hide.

The Puzzles

Everything is a puzzle in RE7 . This game doesn’t hold your hand and say, “find the hidden door” or “look for the code,” which are things you’ve come to expect in horror titles. You’ll receive a hint to get to your next location, but it’ll be vague like, “Get to the dining room.” For example, there a scene where you’ll need to find your way to the attic. You’ll look around the area where there’s a random electricity-powered ladder in the ceiling and you’ll have no clue how to get there.

Logic says, this needs to be plugged in. You look and see that the cord’s been cut. You’ll tear apart the room trying to figure out what you missed in this area. Too bad what you actually missed is something downstairs. That pounding you want to ignore or the drawer you skip over might actually contain something useful. It’s all connected in RE7 , which is why it’s so important to stay focused. The puzzles aren’t necessarily complex, but they aren’t straightforward either.

It’s All Good Until You Get Sick

There’s a good balance between creepiness and jump scares in RE7 . The game doesn’t rely on something behind every turn to keep you sharp, though you kind of become increasingly paranoid every time you enter a new room. RE7 never lets you feel safe in order to throw a jump scare at you; the game makes it clear anything can come at you at any time. The graphics are beautiful, and the sounds really amp up the scare factor. It doesn’t use cheap tactics like changing the music to incite fear; everything you encounter in the game will do that for you.

For my motion-sensitive friends, be prepared to take a lot of breaks when playing RE7 . It won’t be a game you can binge through. You will get a headache after an hour of playing, even if you turn off the camera wobble like the game recommends. Yes, RE7 prompts you when you first load the game with a warning about getting sick. It’s a first-person game where you need to have quick camera settings in order to see what’s coming at you. There’s really no way around it. However, once you get used to the camera, it becomes a bit easier to play for extended periods.

Final Thoughts

RE7 isn’t just a must-play for horror fans; it’s a must-play for video game lovers. Capcom does an excellent job with throwing out video game logic to create a realistic survival sim for the player. The atmosphere and smooth controls make for a thrilling experience and truly redefine the horror genre. Ethan and Mia’s journey in Louisiana is full of twists even we couldn’t see coming. Resident Evil 7 biohazard is available now for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Xbox One and PC.

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