Resident Evil 7: Biohazard review
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Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a new beginning for survival horror franchise with the new first person perspective. It’s the next major entry in the renowned series that sets a new course. The game leverages its roots and features a truly terrifying horror experience.
Powered by Capcom’s new RE Engine, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard delivers an incredible level of immersion that brings a thrilling new world of fear. It embodies the signature gameplay elements of exploration and tense atmosphere; meanwhile, a complete refresh of gameplay systems simultaneously take the survival horror experience to the next level.
The graphics manage to feel a little dated at times with seemingly little difference between Medium and Very High quality textures. However, the game is generally dark and moody, so you are not supposed to see every detail in these dimly lit environments. Even on an aged 2GB GTX 770, you won’t have any problems playing through the entire game at 2560 x 1440 — even with full 4K being plausible the vast majority of the time.
About half of the fear factor in Resident Evil 7 is its atmosphere. There is a grimy, almost tangible realism with a sensational audio design. You can easily track the footsteps of an enemy by ear, assuming where they are based on sound alone. Along with the creaking floorboards and sinister sounds that echo around you, it adds to the rumbling sense of dread in every room.
The rotting house, where you spend a lot of time in the game, is an eerie place to explore, especially with the incredible use of shadows. It never leaves you feeling entirely content to proceed.
Resident Evil 7 is routinely creepy and has more than a few decent jumpscares. Plus, it includes a fair bit of combat that never feels particularly comfortable as you are almost always low on ammo and health items. You have to be good at inventory management to make sure you are carrying what you need and still have space for other goodies you might find.
Also, you will collect weirdly themed keys and solve challenging puzzles to continue on, which is true to almost every survival horror game. Key difference from the previous games in the Resident Evil series, however, is that, it doesn’t cast you as some sort of staggering badass, Resident Evil 7 puts you in the shoes of some random guy.
Ethan, the game’s protagonist, receives an email from his wife who disappeared three years ago, where she asks him to come and get her. This email leads him to some rural estate, and from that point, things start to go more than a little wrong. A little way past a couple of shocking scenes and you are desperately fleeing the murderous family that live there and insistently want to introduce you to the horrors within.
While the family are your fiercest foes, they are not common threats. Most of the time they just patrol set areas or appear during fixed encounters, and they are not usually too hard to escape. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make Resi 7 less scary.
It’s all about the sheer discomfort the gameplay mechanics create. Finding a room containing a stockpile of ammunition and save point would be good, if it didn’t constantly lead to the deep-seated and usually painfully accurate sense that things are about to get rough. And beating a boss is just a short moment of relief, as it usually tanks your health and ammo, making you limp carefully through the next section.
So, even when you are armed to the teeth, you still never feel comfortable until the very end of the game. Although it doesn’t take long before you’ve got weapons like a shotgun, grenade launcher, and a flamethrower, you still worry about what’s waiting for you around the next corner. It’s simply because of how frail you are and how little ammo you usually have.
You will often have to think one step ahead: you could kill that horrible monster with a flame round, but what if you need it for greater danger in the future. You could risk multiple handgun shots while backing off, or maybe it’s smarter to try some knife-to-face combat? That’s all up to you.
Combat is arguably one of the game’s weakest points up until the moment when you can finally cut loose and wreak some havoc. Beyond the wonderfully satisfying shotguns, few of the weapons feel effective against the regular enemies, and there is little feedback on how much damage you’re doing.
Controls work wonderfully well on PC. There is some slightly rough texture work, but overall the game works smoothly. The only significant issue is that the “use” prompts can be a little finicky, requiring you to stand in very particular spots and face a very particular object to trigger them.
Replay Value 5/5
Resident Evil 7 isn’t just a linear trek through different areas. Instead, it offers a fair amount of interesting back-tracking, which means you can come back to various sections you left unexplored because you lacked the items needed to access them.
Some of these sections are entirely optional, while others are required for progression. It makes the estate feel more like a location than just a series of corridors and rooms.
Resident Evil 7 is not a game which overstays its welcome. Depending on how much you are exploring, you can probably expect your first run-through to be somewhere between the 6-10 hours. That might seem a little short, but the game constantly offers new twists and ideas that feel fresh rather than boring or repetitive. It's fun to replay the game at any time.
Resident Evil 7 is a quite pricey game as it costs no less than $59,99. There are no in-game purchases, though you can download additional content on Steam like Banned Footage Vol.1 for $9,99, Banned Footage Vol.2 for $14,99, or Original Soundtrack for $9,99.
While Resident Evil 7 has some issues, it’s thrilling and tense, varied, well-paced, and seems to be a boost the series needed. It’s far from the scariest of games, but it’s still enjoyable to play.
It's clearly a love letter to those who adore the claustrophobic nightmares of the original games of the series and those introduced to horror with more recent Hollywood movies like Insidious and The Conjuring. It’s interesting to see how Capcom will carry on this torch into the future.
Resident Evil 7 is a wonderful return to creepy form for the well-known horror franchise.
Pros : Sensational audio design;
Cons : Only few weapons are effective;
“Use” prompts are finicky.
Replay Value 5.0