Capcom has released Resident Evil 7 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Resident Evil 7 takes place in Dulvey, Louisiana on a creepy plantation packed full of eerie frights around every corner. The new release takes place after the events of Resident Evil 6 and you step into the shoes of Ethan Winters—an average guy just looking for his missing wife Mia. It is to Ethan’s surprise that he finds more than he bargained for after stumbling upon the Baker family.
The Resident Evil series has gone downhill since the game’s original release over twenty years ago, and I was skeptical that Capcom could get it back on track. The series was once known for its exploration, elaborate puzzles, and tense mood. The developers started to build a game that was more action oriented and geared towards today’s gamers—many of which don’t want to spend hours exploring their environments to progress. All those years ago, it was okay to spend months upon months on one title, because there wasn’t tons of new games releasing every minute. Now with smartphones, tablets, and the ease of accessibility to games—people just don’t put the time into titles like they used to.
Resident Evil 7 is powered by a new engine that takes the game’s immersion level to scary new heights. Capcom also chose to switch the game to first person perspective adding a disturbingly photorealistic touch to the overall gameplay. After only a few hours into the game, I was already impressed with Resident Evil 7 and felt the spine-tingling fear inspired by the series earlier titles. I almost cried knowing that Capcom had finally listened and gave its audience exactly what it had been yearning for.
When you start the game, players step into the role of Ethan after he just received an email from his wife, who has been missing for over three years. He makes his way down a creepy road leading to what appears to be an abandoned, overgrown plantation home. Before even entering the house, he finds a purse on a trash pile that contains the driver’s license of his wife. I don’t know what Ethan thought he was getting himself into—but I am sure it wasn’t the horror story that he soon experiences.
The eerie atmosphere of the plantation automatically sets the mood for the chaos to come. After searching through the derelict home, Ethan finds disturbing clues to the disappearance of his wife. The refrigerator and kitchen table reek of human organs and body parts and there is no one in sight—at first. He soon finds his wife imprisoned in a cell in the basement—but the Mia he once loved and knew isn’t the person that stands before him. After being forced to kill his wife and taken prisoner by Jack Baker, Ethan starts to notice that the people in this house have a strange ability to regenerate allowing them to return from the dead. I really liked the aspect that Mia and the Baker family almost had two sides—an unknown force that seems to be fighting against their human side. Ethan finds videotapes scattered throughout the house that allow him to interact with the infected players’ stories and learn more about what he faces.
Ethan soon starts to receive phone calls within the house from a woman by the name of Zoe who claims to be the daughter of the Bakers and offers Ethan assistance. Ethan soon learns that everyone he has encountered are infected but can be cured with a special serum. As Ethan navigates his environments to find out what happened and to develop a cure, he must make his way through creatures known as the “Molded.” The Molded can only be destroyed if their entire body is decimated which creates quite the obstacle between Ethan and his goal of curing Mia. Players must learn how to properly manage their resources and collect herbs for healing, all the while, solving an array of complex puzzles throughout the game.
We soon learned that the Umbrella Corporation is once again behind the calamity and everyone became infected by an E-series bioweapon. The bioweapon calls herself “Eveline” and everything occurred from her obsession of having her very own family. Eveline can use a psychotropic mold to take over her victim’s minds resulting in them going insane and having special abilities.
Once you come to the end of the story in Resident Evil 7, you feel a moment of relief and satisfaction. The game’s masterful storytelling, fantastic graphics and eerie soundtrack really gave the title an unsettling atmosphere keeping the player in a constant state of anxiety. You really feel like you are playing a true Resident Evil title with a scare factor that was off the charts. The game managed to use just the right amount of jump scares, gore, and subtle environmental ques to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire experience. While the boss battles could be somewhat annoying and disrupted the overall tone of the story, they were a lot better than previous releases. I particularly wasn’t fond of the Molded as an enemy, and they are the only thing I would have changed about the entire game.
All-in-all, I am happy to say that Capcom has knocked this one out of the park and delivered exactly what fans have been waiting for. If you are ready to step into a mutated version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, then you will love Resident Evil 7.
Score: 9 out of 10
Reviewed for Xbox One