Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Review
By Richard Lynch
12 Years ago, Capcom reinvented the Resident Evil franchise with the release of Resident Evil 4 (RE4). For many, it changed the face of gaming forever, but as a result proper survival horror was all but abandoned by the mainstream. Since the release of RE4, Resident Evil has suffered something of an identity crisis as each new entry tried to recapture the spark that made the fourth entry so special. Well it turns out that all Capcom needed to do to fix Resident Evil was to stop trying to copy RE4, and instead pretend it never happened. And what a glorious return to form it is.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (RE7) tells the story of Ethan Winters, an everyman in search of his missing wife. A strange message leads him to a seemingly abandoned estate in Dulvey Louisiana. Naturally things aren’t what they seem and Ethan finds himself in the menacing clutches of the psychotic Baker family. The story is fairly straight forward with a number of twists and turns that are bound to please longtime fans. Ethan is a noncharacter with almost no personality save for the occasional goofy quip. Fortunately, the rest of the cast picks up the weight. Each member of the Baker family brings their own uniquely insane personality to experience.
It may sound like a cliché but the house (and neighboring buildings) have just as much personality as the Bakers. Thanks to brilliant environmental storytelling players can learn the entire history of the house and piece together many of the events that happened there prior to the game. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Resident Evil game without tons of files packed with backstory to find and this game does not disappoint.
In terms of horror, RE7 relies on a strong sense of atmosphere and creates tension through environmental sounds. Monsters can appear at any time by rarely sneak up on you. Instead what’s really scary is the ever present sense of uncertainty the RE7 masters.
The biggest controversy prior to release has been RE7’s change to a first-person camera. Fans worried by demos that the Resident Evil franchise has been turned into a lifeless Outlast Clone have nothing to worry about. RE7 borrows elements from contemporary horror games but it repurposes them in a very resident evil fashion. Early on, you’ll like feel helpless against Jack Bakers merciless pursuits and hiding is certainly your best option fighting is never out of the question. After the opening few hours thing take on a much more traditional Resident Evil flavor as inventory management and key collection become the your main priority. As you explore, you’ll find items that will help you gain access even more areas around the house until eventually the entire property is open to explore. You’ll also find a variety of weapons that effectively walk the line between being helpful and underpowered, even if you manage to find some of the game’s most powerful weapons, you’ll be hard pressed to find enough ammo to use them especially against any of the games memorable bosses.
Resident Evil 7 is a classic Resident Evil game through and through. It forgoes archaic design decisions like tank controls and awkward camera angles for a new perspective, a change that’s for then better. The story won’t be winning any awards but it’s use of tone and atmosphere are guaranteed to give players nightmares. This series has gone through a lot of ups and downs over the years but for the first time that I can remember, I can say with complete confidence that not only Resident Evil is scary again, Resident Evil is good again.
The Geeked Gods Score 9/10