RESIDENT EVIL 7: BIOHAZARD REVIEW
Platform: PlayStation 4/Xbox One
ESRB Rating: M
Release Date: January 24th, 2017
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is the latest entry in the long running survival horror series by Capcom. Recent entries have focused on action over horror and Resident Evil 7 was promised to be a return to the series roots. Did Capcom deliver a truly frightening experience? The game was tested on the base PS4 model, PS4Pro and PlayStation VR. This will be a spoiler free review.
The Bakers were once a quiet family, their son Lucas would act out every now and again, but they had the reputation of being very nice people. Until strange things began happening to them, and then they vanished without a trace. Their property had been abandoned ever since. The main character Ethan received a video recording of his wife Mia, who had been missing for three years, telling him to not find her. Ethan tracks her down to the Bakers guest house in Louisiana, and upon arrival Ethan notices he is not alone as the Bakers weren’t missing after all.
The story centralizes around the mystery of what happened to the Baker family, and surviving the horrors that await you. Ethan as a protagonist is mostly silent throughout the adventure with the occasional observation, and reacting to major events in the story. This direction with Ethan’s character makes sense as Resident Evil 7 is a story of isolation and survival so it makes sense that the main character would not talk very often. Solving the mystery of the Bakers, and how it connects to previous games in the series is what makes the experience enjoyable.
Resident Evil 7 does an exceptional job of creating tension and anxiety throughout the game, it is truly a survival horror experience. On the easiest difficulty ammunition is not hard to manage due to enemies being taken down in very few bullets, but on normal the game becomes a test of how well you can manage your entire inventory. To really make the players panic, managing inventory does not pause the game so if you’re trying to heal while an enemy is close you, it is highly recommended you be quick about it. Enemies take a lot more damage and do more damage with bullets becoming much more of a privilege than something to waste. Exploring the game, solving puzzles, and combat are all done in first person which really added to the atmosphere of the game. This also made it much more horrifying due to enemies coming after Ethan, but if it was the perspective of the player. The Baker family will follow you throughout the game, akin to Nemesis from Resident Evil 3, on normal it is better to just save your ammo and run. Later on you’ll be able to upgrade Ethan via antique coins with more health, better reload speeds and better weapons such as the Magnum, just don’t expect a lot of ammunition for it. The only part of the gameplay that became bothersome was how the running mechanic worked. You have to press L3 to run, which felt a little awkward when trying to run from enemies in narrow corridors.
The presentation is one of the best aspects of Resident Evil 7, however it is also the most unpolished part of the game on the base model of the PS4. The game delivers a horrific atmosphere at 1080p 60 frames per second. The downside is that the base PS4 model showed a lot of texture pop in, shadows are poorly rendered, and texture quality is not great. On the PS4pro however, those problems are not present, and HDR mode makes it even better. PlayStation VR mode is the worst way to play the game due to the lack of proper lighting in many areas of the game making areas. This lighting issue makes areas like the basement completely pitch black when in the main game they wouldn’t be. This seems like a way to make the VR experience even more terrifying, but it wound up being aggravating to navigate. Aiming is also done with the VR headset itself with motion control which can be very helpful with getting headshots.
Overall, Resident Evil 7 delivers a fantastic horror experience akin to previous games in the series. The experience is very quick due to the campaign being designed for speed runners in mind, and unfortunately there is not much to look forward to after besides madhouse mode, which remixes the game to be more difficult, and the content that the season pass is offering at a later date. The PS4Pro is the way to go for the absolute best PlayStation experience. Longtime fans, and new fans will enjoy what it has to offer along with man Easter Eggs that connect the story to previous games. Happy 20th anniversary Resident Evil.
+The Mystery is Satisfying
+Survival Horror Gameplay at its finest
-A Light Package of Content
-VR Mode is Aggravating