I was hesitant to cover this one since I haven’t played previous Resident Evil titles, so take that title with a grain of salt. That said, based on how much fun the game was and how happy people seemed with it, I feel comfortable making the point. Many of the complaints I saw about the last two games had to do with how far they had moved from the element of horror, going almost completely action. Well, 7 brings it back to being a horror game with just enough ammunition to make things interesting. Literally…
Anyway as usual with this kind of article, spoilers ahead. If you haven’t played this one yet and plan on doing so, go do that first. Knowing what’s coming in this title will greatly lessen the enjoyment.
Still here/just got back? Cool. Let’s start with the premise. You get two video emails from your wife, one all sweet and happy, the second indicating that shit has hit the proverbial fan and you are to “stay [the f***!] away!” Three years pass and you get a new message (this one sans video) from your wife asking you to come pick her up from a supposedly derelict estate in a swamp in Louisiana. All of this would set off sixteen sets of mental alarms screaming “Bad idea bruh!” for a normal person, not to mention completely contrast the last verifiable warning you got from your wife. But our main character Ethan Winters has apparently never seen a horror movie himself. He heads down to pick her up, arriving at the massive Baker Estate deep in the bayou. Nobody feels like answering the front door when he rings, so he makes his way through the woods surrounding the home to find an alternate way in. Along the way he is treated to such lovely sights as the ‘cow wheel’, again letting him know he is utterly f***** at this point.
But hey, the guy loves his wife. He manages to get into the guest house, and after navigating the utterly disgusting and secret passage filled home, he does find his wife locked in a cell deep in the basement. Too easy right? Right. She disappears shortly after, only to reappear in a much more stabby manner. An extremely tense series of ‘fight’ scenes ensue where she is trying her damnedest to introduce sharp objects to your face or kill you with a chainsaw while you try to escape. In the end you finally shoot her enough to stun her for awhile, only to be knocked senseless by the head of the house and dragged off to your increasingly questionable fate. You must now avoid the insane members of the family while you try to both survive and figure out the mysteries of your wife and the situation you’ve landed in.
I’ll stop there for the story, since anymore would really spoil it. Resident Evil 7 does a phenomenal job of setting up the atmosphere in this game. You’re constantly on edge, always having to be ready for one of the family members to show up. Seriously, Jack must be able to teleport with how often he shows up behind you.
The pacing is also excellently done, infuriatingly so. Throughout the game you have very limited inventory space, forcing you to manage you items carefully. Ammo and health are rare and both require the same components you be crafted, forcing you to choose between being able to keep yourself alive or kill your enemies. I use the word kill loosely here. The family members cannot be killed. Which means just to stun the ass-hat pictured above long enough to escape you may end up spending a full clip of ammo.
I don’t have too many gripes about the game, but there are a few criticisms. First off, I know we don’t get much background on our character Ethan, but this guy is damn near unshakable. All the weird shit happening around him is met with dry sarcasm or quick grunts of pain before soldiering on. The man gets his arm cut off with a f****** chain saw and just holds his arm up while he runs around solving puzzles and shooting his crazed wife, still managing to reload and never bleeds out. If you mess up trying to get away from Jack early on you get a leg hacked off with a shovel and he still just holds it back in place while he pours first aid on it (?!) with only a muttered “god-dammit.”
“Meh. I got another one.”
The game does rely quite a bit on jump scares as well, which can get a bit tired after awhile and some, especially late in the game feel pretty weak. As with many horror games, it will inevitably transition more to an action feel as you progress. Resident Evil does a good job of making sure you feel the pressure at that point though, between limiting your supplies and making many enemies either hard to hit or unstoppable in the first place.
All in all, Resident Evil 7 is a great game, both as a Resident Evil title and a stand alone horror game. I would definitely recommend giving this one a shot, whether your a long standing fan or a newcomer to the series like me. But as always, that’s just my take on it. Let me know in the comments below if you feel this game did the title justice, and as always, happy gaming!