Capcom made the seventh installment in the main Resident Evil franchise return to its horror roots. However, the new direction in Resident Evil 7 might not sit well with some fans.
I’ve been keeping up with Resident Evil 7 news for a while now. I’m not a fan of first-person games, so I had my doubts when picking up this title. I get that Capcom was trying to make R.E 7 scarier and thus, the first-person gameplay, but I would’ve preferred an option to switch to third-person. Anyway, what’s done is done. So, let’s go on with the review.
Major spoilers are included in this review but I’ll warn you all before they begin.
The game is set almost four years after the events of Resident Evil 6. We play as Ethan Winters, a civilian who experiences a night of horrors when he receives a message from Mia, his missing and presumed dead wife. Ethan travels to Louisiana where he encounters the Baker family.
The gameplay has a slow pace, which helps to heighten the horror. As this is a Resident Evil title, you still have to shoot bullets into enemies or use a flamethrower to take them down. However, the fights feel more down to earth compared to the Hollywood-action fests that were R.E 5 and 6.
With the gameplay being in first-person, you get to see everything in more detail. A VR mode is present if you want to give it a try. However, it was a weird experience for me, moving inside the game in such an immersive manner but not in real life.
The Baker property is spooky and full of black ooze. Most of the story takes place on their property. The game also throws puzzles at the player. While figuring out puzzles was fun, they weren’t very challenging. A few tries can help you solve some of them even if you aren’t too focused.
R.E 7 also brought back locked doors that needed specific weird-looking keys to open. The inventory was also limited, and you have storage boxes to leave the items you didn’t need to progress in the game.
Some upgrades are also present. Using in-game coins, you can unlock tiny cages that contain items such as steroids (increases maximum health), new weapons, etc. There are also repair kits you can use if you find a broken weapon. There is also a lot to explore. If you aren’t doing a speed-run (which should take you less than four hours) the game can easily give you more than ten hours of gameplay time.
Furthermore, the ammunition is scarce. However, the game provides you with enough firepower before encountering boss fights. As for the rest of the mutated beings (the Molded) roaming around, I suggest saving ammo and running away. You aren’t playing as Chris Redfield, so you can’t go in and punch the bad guys to conserve ammo. See too many Molded in a room? Run away!
The boss fights are the most boring part of Resident Evil 7. They are tedious and feel out of place in the horror vibe the game’s going for. Ethan, a civilian, should be using some sort of a contraption to kill bosses rather than shooting them directly.
Without going into spoilers right now, there are two endings that depend on the character you decide to save during the story. This does add a bit of replay value.
Resident Evil 7 is a fun game and it does bring back the horror that has been missing from the franchise for years. However, if you aren’t a fan of first-person games, R.E 7 doesn’t have much to offer.
You’re entering major spoiler territory. Proceed at your own risk!
Talking about the plot, the Baker family becomes dysfunctional and evil because of Eveline, a B.O.W that Mia has been looking after. Eveline has the power to infect human minds, create the Molded, and feels the need to experience familial bonding. There is also a major reveal about Eveline’s identity while being a member of the Baker family.
While it was okay to play as Ethan, I couldn’t help but think about why Capcom decided to choose him. R.E 7 was supposed to feature a civilian character to entice horror due to inexperience. However, in just a few minutes of playing the game, Ethan got his hand cut off by Mia. I would’ve preferred if he had blacked out due to shock but he continued fighting. In what world is a civilian able to fight when their hand got chopped off a few moments ago? Also, Zoe stapled his hand back and it worked perfectly because who cares about biology in a game about viruses.
Maybe I missed something and Ethan got infected by Eveline the moment he stepped on the property and that’s why he was able to go through such torture? I actually wanted to stop playing the game after Ethan lost his hand and then proceeded to carry on as if nothing happened.
Furthermore, as I mentioned above, Ethan should not have been able to kill the bosses on his own. If Capcom could give Moira from R.E: Revelations 2 a crowbar to fight with, they could’ve given Ethan something similar instead of flamethrowers and a chainsaw. Now, I’m not saying that Ethan shouldn’t have weapons. It’s just that his boss battles should’ve played out differently, with a bit more dependence on traps, etc., rather than shooting giant monsters straight in the head.
Capcom could’ve replaced Ethan with any R.E game veteran and you still would’ve had the same boss fight. It felt like an unnecessary change to bring in a new character to entice horror when using Leon, Jill, or even Claire would’ve had the same effect.
The ending involves a man coming to save Ethan and introducing himself as Redfield. The fandom is divided on the man’s true identity. Some say that he is Chris Redfield while some say it’s not. I want to believe it’s Chris but his face looks very different. Resident Evil: Vendetta is set between R.E 6 and 7. So, either Chris had some plastic surgery after Vendetta or the game’s character design team totally forgot how he is supposed to look.
Does Chris Redfield really appear in R.E 7? I’m not sure. The so-called mystery character will star in the upcoming “Not a Hero” free DLC. So, we should be getting some answers soon enough. My personal headcanon involves Chris marrying a good-looking dude who ended up taking the family name and working for a reformed Umbrella Corporation.
Have you played Resident Evil 7 yet? What did you think? Let us know.
Note: Resident Evil 7 was made available worldwide on 24 January 2017 for PC, PS 4, and Xbox One.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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