Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Review
The best horror game of 2017
Perhaps Resident Evil 7’s most intriguing quality is how it plays around with the idea of retracing your steps.
For starters, it deploys the classic Metroid tactic of surrounding you from the ‘get go’ with doors you can’t yet open or rewards you can’t quite reach -a straightforward incentive to backtrack that helps entrench the mansion’s crumbling layout in your mind.
You’ll find the odd cunningly oblique photograph of a room furnishing that hides a treasure, that encourages you to attend to the fine details of nearly any interior, however grisly. At some point you’ll have to grit your teeth and muscle in, the boss spawns smaller threats if left undisturbed for at the moment that Ethan’s sluggish handling stops being a source of agreeable stress, and starts being plain old annoying, as you strain to line up objects correctly and feel your way around your enemy’s defences.
Whenever grabbing ammunition from shelves while your adversary clambers around the exterior, bursting through ‘boardedup’ windows to snatch at your ankles, better ones sees you hurrying through a ruined house. Now look, the difference between getting by and a couple of blows from ast is difficult to nail down, as with the ‘PS1 era’ Resident Evils, the HUD leaves how much health you have left open to question -you’ll always know when you’re on the point of death. Two decades since players first stepped over the threshold of the Spencer mansion, Resident Evil has rediscovered the peculiar thrill of opening a door. Normally, resident Evil 7 draws on vastly different design traditions – a lot of which it sadly struggles to build on in any significant sense -but at least to begin with, its doors give off a comparably eerie vibe. That’s where it starts getting serious, right? Among the original game’s most distinctive flourishes are its unearthly, cutaway room transitions.
Another cause of ongoing tension is our old friend, the Resident Evil inventory, that has a way of filling up just before you stumble on a quest item, though you can make space by dropping items in gear boxes for later recovery.
The game’s ‘stripped down’ crafting system adds to the pressure -it sees you mixing sachets of chemical fluid with various raw materials, and you’ll always have more of the latter than the former, that creates some pleasant quandaries.
And now here’s a question. Is it worth pping up your supply of grenade launcher rounds, or should you hedge your bets and craft another healing spray?
Via its VHS cassette flashbacks, Resident Evil 7 does y with the concept of locations that mutate, and its conclusion does take you back to square one in an intriguing way, though the final battle is more whimper than bang.
At heart it’s a fairly pedestrian species of bogeyman -a series of peekaboo jolts and serviceable gun battles strewn across a sumptuous, cohesive environment, constructed without any shortage of craft but not a whole lot of real imagination.
Whenever you’ve acclimatised to Resident Evil 7’s tactics, it seldom gives you much reason to be afraid of what lurks beyond, those doors may unnerve at first. There’s the continual threat -heightened by a wealth of sinister ambient noise -of one and similar family member dropping in on you as you comb rooms for the emblem keys and object puzzle pieces you should better access the mansion’s darker recesses, as with the Nemesis of Resident Evil 3. On p of this, the Bakers are never far from your thoughts, while they spend a lot of time offscreen. Yes, that’s right! Whenever smashing through layouts with scant regard for his own property, jack actually is an unrelenting foe.
Firearms include three pistol varieties, a SMG, remotely detonated explosives and a flamethrower, that comes in very handy indeed against the insect swarms that suffuse one area.
So there’re also a few flashback sequences, triggered by playing back VHS cassettes, in which you explore locations through the eyes of another character, hours, days and, in one case, years before.
Entertaining in themselves -there’s a ghastly episode that casts you as a man trapped in one of Lucas’s inventions, tarnished a little by an obvious designer’s kludge to ensure you don’t accidentally break the puzzle -these flashbacks create a fun balance of predictability and unease when you return to the present. It’s impossible to know how much of what you’ve just seen ontape corresponds to what actually lies in the shadows ahead. Quite a few puzzles involve rotating an object under a projector to cast a forbidding silhouette. They’re not all that convincing, for the most part there’re attempts in game to explain the presence of such weirdly ornate mechanisms in the manor.
Where the sixth game couldn’t decide which of its strands to prioritise, however, the seventh has one unifying goal.
In this regard, Capcom is onto a winner.
Did you know that the key draw is that it’s a single, believably joinedup environment that encloses a lot of the game’s 12 hour plot, It’s a delightfully textured backdrop. Rickety balconies and corridors laced with rot and memorabilia.d plane.
So, that’s a recipe for intrigue and suspense, whereas Resident Evil 6’s scattershot global ur was merely a recipe for confusion. Resident Evil 7’s setting is the Spencer mansion with a hearty dash of Southern Comfort, a dilapidated manor sweltering in the haze of backwater Louisiana. Fact, while the dreadfully greasy and emaciated art direction calls to mind the Amnesia series and Resi’s ancient rival, the ‘firstperson’ perspective and lumbering character movement evoke and Condemned, Silent Hill. There’re shades of its frenzied risk management in combat -you can target the limbs of certain enemies to stall their attacks, or aim for the head in the hope of a swift, ‘ammunition conserving’ finish, resident Evil 4’s crowded encounters are a distant memory.
In its way, resident Evil 7 is Resident Evil 6, a game that set out to merge every form Resident Evil has taken over the years into one, ungainly whole.
The Bakers aside, look, there’re three enemy types in Resident Evil 7, collectively known as the Molded.
Ethan’s forearms are sturdy enough to withstand blows that look like they should tear you anticipation of peril that the game’s block feature is so effective on normal difficulty, the highest setting available when you first play the game. When as a rule of a thumb, have firepower to spare, the revulsion is skin deep -especially in the course of the story’s final third, as far as zombie variants go, they’re more than usually revolting.
And therefore a pleasantly atmospheric exercise after the chaos of the past few outings, it never quite matures into a terrific horror game, if Resident Evil 7 is a return to form for the series regarding the environment design.
They’re By the way I actually caught the game spawning the Bakers around a corner -but what this needs, above all, is a higher class of monster. Nevertheless, marguerite, his wife, is a screeching harridan with a retinue of oversized insects.
For the most part you’ll be exploring the mansion itself -a twostorey pile with a sizeable basement -and a few smaller outbuildings, including the guesthouse from the game’s Beginning Hour demo, mostly there’re a couple of chapters that take you beyond the grounds of the Baker estate.
Their son Lucas is a twitchy amateur inventor who’d rather trap you in a maze of laser tripwires than tangle with you personally -Resident Evil 7’s get the popular motif of the malevolent game designer.
It’s a well-known fact that the story sees eminently forgettable lead Ethan travelling to the mansion following a notification from his wife, the rather more charismatic Mia, who was missing for a few years. Jack Baker, the dad, is an implacable and seemingly unkillable butcher. Eventually, consequently there’s Evelyn, the obligatory spooky little girl, whose origins are the plot’s biggest revelations. Anyway, on arrival he soon makes the acquaintance of the Bakers themselves, a family of undead bumpkins who spend their days abducting people and somehow transforming them into various flavours of mutant monstrosity. Of course, pS4 Pro boost mode.
Honk if you’re heartily sick of Scary Little Girls in horror fiction.