When it comes to gaming, we tend to take change badly. Whether it be an update to the way the game runs, major changes to a franchise story, and even a lead character, we just don’t like it. There are times though that these changes can be good, and can help rejuvenate interest with the fans. This is what exactly what Resident Evil 7: Biohazard does.
Capcom were very smart with the demo that they released, especially after the success of P.T. Taking plenty of inspiration from the now dead Silent Hills project, a first-person horror game with Virtual Reality support was something that if worked could be very successful.
The problem here of course is that to mess with Resident Evil is risking annoying gamers who are used to zombies. Looking at the demo, there was a lack of the lurking undead, in fact there was a real lack of any enemies, until you met the strange old man who welcomed you to his family. With an update though we were then given a creature that lurked in the basement and terrorised anybody who had the nerve to go visit.
What Capcom did really well though was to tease the setting for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and introduce the player to a new chapter of Resident Evil. There was clues to a new family, spooky goings on and even Umbrella helicopters, but what it all meant was still a mystery. When finally entering the full game though, things feel different, though strangely similar. It is impressive that this similarity also fills the player with dread. The “I know this part” feel is soon filled with dread as things quickly change.
I’m not going to go too much into the story of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, because you really need to enjoy each revelation as it is thrust onto you in full horrific detail. What I can say though is if you are a fan of Alien: Isolation then you will no doubt love this. Most impressively though, horror fans have been given a survival horror game that is one of the best.
Horror geeks will feel at home in the setting we find ourselves in, there are many horror tropes used to scare us, and create a feeling of dread that at many times is way too effective. This is an intense experience that some may find a little too much to handle. The fact is though, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a horror game, why should we feel safe?
If you view Resident Evil 7: Biohazard as a horror experience, it is easy to put it into a movie like structure. Thinking of it in this structure also reveals its weakness, the second act. This happens with many movies as the story struggles to deal with what happened at the start and then lead up to a conclusion that both explodes onto the screen, and doesn’t exhaust the player too much. This can be said of this title too, as the middle part of the game can start to be a little laboured at times. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t any less fun though.
In terms of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard straying too far away from Resident Evil canon, what is interesting is that it feels like it fits in with the other games. If you’ve not played the game, you won’t know the connections, so it’s best not to just take it at face value. Saying anything more would be providing spoilers. Suffice to say though, what Resident Evil 7: Biohazard brings to the franchise is a good starting point for a future to the series that has arguably been flagging.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a must play game for horror fans, and gamers who can’t take some intense gameplay. While I’ve not been able to test out the Virtual Reality side of the game, playing it in a more traditional way does not dull down the impact of the game at all. Silent Hills may be dead, but if Resident Evil 7: Biohazard stole some of its DNA, then we the fans got very lucky. This is survival horror at its best.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is available on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One in the UK now.