Developed by Capcom Published by Capcom Reviewed on PlayStation 4
Let’s face it, Resident Evil hasn’t been the same for years…about 15 years to be exact. When Resident Evil 4 came out in 2005, people were blown away with its graphics, gameplay and story. But it was missing that thing that made Resident Evil, well, Resident Evil. It was far less scary, had virtually no puzzles, and there was ammo galore. Resident Evil 5 and 6 followed this trend by being more of a third person shooter than a survival horror game. Following the lackluster release of spin-offs like Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and Umbrella Corps, people just weren’t expecting much from Capcom and the RE franchise. Then Capcom surprised everyone with the announcement of Resident Evil 7, showing off a new first person prospective that supported the new PlayStation VR. Resident Evil 7 is so classic Resident Evil that it is incredibly refreshing. While playing the game, I had the same feeling I had when I played the original Resident Evil back in 1996, and that’s a really good feeling.
The story starts up with our protagonist, Ethan Winters, whose wife has been missing for three years after taking a baby sitting job. Out of nowhere he gets an e-mail from his long lost wife explaining that she is currently in Dulvey, Louisiana at the Baker Estate and wants him to come get her. So he sets out to see what is going on at the Baker’s. The story is fantastic and I will refrain from saying much more about it. Where does it fit in with the past Resident Evil games? Well this is a direct sequel, taking place about four years after the events of Resident Evil 6. Though from the beginning it doesn’t seem like it, you learn more and more about what exactly happened in this small town in Louisiana and how it links to the events of past Resident Evil games. I will tell you right now, if you never played a Resident Evil game you will still enjoy RE7 quite a bit; don’t feel discouraged just because it’s part 7 in a series you may never have played before.
The game world is very nostalgic to the original Resident Evil. The game revolves around the same mechanics from all classic RE games: explore, solve puzzles, and fight monsters. Some puzzles are simple ones like moving an abstract sculpture in light so that its shadow creates a picture of sorts. More extravagant ones require you to solve a bunch of small puzzles to solve a much larger one. This return of puzzles is most welcomed.
You will be facing a new type of Bio Organic Weapons known as the Molded. These things will literally come out of nowhere and attack you by emerging from black mold around the estate. If you are a fan of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, be prepared for the Bakers. Jack and Marguerite Baker, the owners of the mansion, play the role of Nemesis throughout the game. While exploring the mansion one of these two creepy individuals may just open a door and enter a hallway or room you are occupying. In this situation you can either run and hide or attack and hopefully fend off the foe temporarily. I recommend saving your ammo and running, because much like classic RE games, you are going to have to be cautious with your bullets. Luckily you can combine different items to make new items like bullets and first aid kits so you have control of what you need more of. The boss fights are a blast and are some of the better boss fights in video games today.
Resident Evil 7 will immerse you in a beautifully disgusting world. A lot of detail was put into this first person game to really make you feel like you are there. The game runs at a solid 60 FPS and runs at full 1080p on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. PlayStation 4 Pro owners with a 4k TV can play the game at a higher resolution of 1260p. The game also supports HDR and boy does it show! The game is so dark and gritty that random spots with lights just pop and help bring the environments to life.
I was able to play the game using Sony’s PlayStation VR which was very impressive, but definitely not for everyone. While I felt immersed in the world and the controls were solid, after about 30 minutes of gameplay I was starting to get a little motion sickness. Also, after a while the VR headset can get uncomfortable and you always have to be sitting up while playing. The lower resolution on the VR is a bit disappointing, taking away from the detailed world that Capcom has worked hard on. I personally recommend playing on a TV for a more comfortable and better looking experience. The sounds in the game are fantastic. Playing in surround sound is the way to go. Hearing enemies slowly sneak up from behind can save your life. Also, the ambiance of the house with random noises coming from all directions will freak you out and make you double take often.
All in all Resident Evil 7 is exactly what we needed in a Resident Evil game. The game goes back to its roots without feeling dated. The new first person prospective works great and both the atmosphere and story are fantastic. I can easily say this is one of the better games I have played in a long time and most definitely the best survival horror games in years.