Capcom have once again mastered the art of running and screaming loudly down long corridors while being chased by unimaginable evil with the seventh installment in the on-and-off survival horror series, Resident Evil. The original trilogy on the PS1 was certainly a genre-breaking feat as they seemingly pioneered the survival horror genre… right before Resident Evil 4 spun the series off into the Die Hard direction. Thankfully, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard brings the series full circle back to its gritty, unrestrained, pants-shitting horror we so desperately needed again.
STORY & GAMEPLAY
Resident Evil 7 introduces a new protagonist, Ethan, as he journeys to the bayous of Louisiana to a dilapidated mansion in order to find his wife, Mia, who had mysteriously gone missing three years ago. However, as with any formulaic piece of horror entertainment, it’s not as simple as just picking her up like your kid from school. The notorious Baker family holds her captive, and it’s up to you, defenceless and mostly untrained Ethan, to battle these supernatural terrors of the night while playing the most gore-infested game of hide and seek known to gaming. The story isn’t groundbreaking, but it paints a believable enough picture to carry its gameplay. It might also be a turn off for many that none of the staple RE characters are returning, but Ethan does a decent job of being relatable and combat-ready when the occasion calls for it.
The gameplay has now shifted to the first-person perspective, which garnered a bit of controversy in its early promotion days, but luckily Resident Evil 7 finds an ingenious way to blend the new perspective into a very old-school Resident Evil setting. In fact, this might be the most “Resident Evil” game since the original, regardless of how it plays. Item management is back, along with limited ammunition and puzzle-solving that made the original game such a great experience. Furthermore, Capcom have taken into consideration everything that made the original trilogy so great and ported it over to a new generation: a bold and wise move that pleases my inner fanboy.
GRAPHICS & SOUND
On a technical level, Resident Evil 7 outdoes itself. The graphics are spectacular and especially eye-popping in 60fps as the game runs buttery smooth without much in the way of technical difficulties. The realistic tone and vibes of P.T., a clear inspiration of the game, is reshaped and refined here to keep the horror always intense and disturbingly real, even with your bosses turn into horrendous creatures of the night that will make Slenderman crap himself. The soundtrack, while not particularly memorable, does an admirable job, especially its haunting theme song, a dark rendition of the classic “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” that always sends shivers down my spine.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is good. Nope, it’s great… no, I believe it’s 2017s best game so far. What Capcom have done here speaks volumes about how horror gaming can once again become potently terrifying, even without the need of shameless cash-grabs that Steam so desperately wants you to buy into (YouTube gamers be damned). Resident Evil 7 has single-handedly reinvented the horror genre in gaming, and has proven that a series that has lost its way before can easily find its footing again and deliver what might potentially be the scariest, most refined and incredible entry in the series since Resident Evil 4.