Resident Evil is among my favorite franchises for many years, together with Final Fantasy and Metal Gear. After The action packed Resident Evil 5 and the disaster that is Resident Evil 6, combined with Capcom DLC practices in recent years I have to admit I’ve had little faith this franchise would once again be a shadow of what it once was. This is one of those days I love to be wrong! The daddy of survival horror is back!
The story starts with you receiving a message from your loved one, Mia, which has been missing from the past 3 years. You go look for her in this strange house in Louisiana where strange things start to happen.
The first thing you are going to notice upon starting Resident Evil 7 is a big change to perspective. All previous titles, with the excpetion of a few spin offs, were third person games, and RE7 has changed it to first person. I won’t say it’s better or worse but since in this game we have a new protagonist I think it’s perfectly fine from a story perspective. Now, from a gameplay perspective I think it was a nice move by Capcom.
Certainly comparisons can be made to recent horror games which made quite a success and are first person like Amnesia, P.T. Silent Hills or Outlast, among others, but I dare say Resident Evil 7 has a flavor of its own.
It seems like every action you make has a weight to it, from opening doors, crouching or climbing a ledge so the change to first person certainly adds to immersion and it makes it feel as if you were there.
Back are the days where you have to choose your fights and run away from some enemies, instead of the recent titles where you could just shoot your way through everything. I think I should point out right now, Resident Evil 7 is a survival horror, just like the first three games.
Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t have means to defend yourself as you certainly do and by the end of the game you’ll have lots of options but ammunition is not abundant. From my perception, a comparison would be like Resident Evil 3 as in it’s not as little as RE1 but not as much as RE2.
A good thing to mention about your weapons it that they have to be earned. Most weapons have to be found and some even need a puzze to be solved, one which will ring bells to series veterans.
Plenty of weapons to choose from but the enemy variety is short and I mean really short, like three at most. It honestly didn’t bother me but it is something to consider. The boss battles on the other hand were very creative, each feeling unique with a gruesome and grotesque feeling. I think they were all better than previous Resident Evil bosses, not necessary in mechanics but I felt they were pertinent to the game they were in.
Talking about bosses, and without spoiling anything, I should add that the main antagonist felt to me like a villain from a Silent Hill game, much more than a Resident Evil game. I think it’s alright since the developers were trying to got for a different tone from the most recent games but it seems not everyone is happy with this.
Another part of the game that contributes to the immersion and sense of horror is the graphics. The level of details to the environments is fantastic. When outside the game already looks beautiful but it’s inside of structures that it really shines. On the house you start on, for example, there’s so much stuff everywhere and all of it makes it seem real, as if there were real people living there (At least before they all went mad). Also, the game has some sort of filter to the graphics which gives it a different feeling. I can’t tell exactly what it is but it’s super effective at making every location seem more eerie.
A thing I should point out about the graphics I can not let go is how incredible and atmospheric the lightning and shadows are. Sure many games have upped the level of detail for these elements but I personally don’t think I have ever seen thrm used like this before. When lightning and shadows are properly used they make a game beautiful but in a horror game, it takes that effect to a whole other level. It becomes part of the game, just as important as the scenario, plot or the enemies.
Lastly there is the sound. I don’t have much to say about it except that it is atmospheric and effective. It helps create tension when needed and it’s quiet when necessary. It’s minimalistic but beautifully so. I played most of the game using headphones and it adds a lot to the game. From the sound of characters to the creaks of the house, it all adds up to every other aspect of the game and it helps enhance the mood greatly. Funny that here it is much more effective not when it’s loud but when it’s quiet.
Overall, even though my time with Resident Evil 7 was short, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The plot isn’t compelling and I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters but the gameplay, locations, ambience and sound were all great and added up to an excellent experience. I highly recommend Resident Evil 7 to survival horror fans, be they fans or not of the series.
+ Ambience is top notch.
+ Graphics look great, especially when it comes to lighting and shadows.
– Plot is okay at best. Enough to get you going but nothing more then that.
– Short enemy variety.