I specialize mostly in writing about video games, technology, automobiles, and relationships, but I am not one to shy away from new topics.
Following the overwhelmingly successful release of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Capcom appears to have reinvented the Resident Evil franchise. Featuring a rich and haunting environment, terrifying creatures, and heart-stopping jump scares, the game might just be the best horror experience of 2017. As a gamer myself, I cannot recommend RE7 enough.
That being said, however, Resident Evil's 24th installment does have its share of flawed mechanics and terrible features. It would simply be a mistake to only focus on the enjoyable aspects and completely overlook the awful ones. So, here are the five worst things about Resident Evil 7.
5. 3rd-Party DRM
Resident Evil 7 has an added level of anti-piracy protection provided by Denuvo Software Solutions. While 3rd-party DRM is certainly nothing new, it does not make the feature any less annoying. The main issue most players, myself included, have with DRM is the fact that it treats all of the game's legitimate buyers as criminals. It is essentially implied that every single player is a pirate and would like nothing more than to rob the developers of their hard-earned profits.
Additionally, Reddit users have noted that 3rd-party DRM has a noticeable impact on performance, especially on systems with SSD drives. The software also limits what the player can and cannot do with their purchased copy of the game. For instance, SimCity is notorious for requiring players to have a constant connection to the internet in order to play the game. Fortunately, RE7's DRM is not quite as severe, and only limits you to "5 different PCs per day."
Ironically, Resident Evil 7 was been cracked in less than a week, making it the fastest a game with Denuvo DRM has ever been pirated.
4. Undeveloped Characters
Despite the fact that the game has an impressive array of well-voiced and well-animated characters, I had a hard time forming a bond with any of them.
The main protagonist, Ethan Winters, is bland and outright boring as nothing is actually known about him. He is merely the plot's main focal point and serves no other purpose. Ethan is barely even human since he is virtually unphased by all of the insane and terrifying things that are happening around him. After literally murdering his wife, he doesn't even say a single word as he's standing over her not-quite-dead body. No tears, no anger, nothing. Even having his entire hand severed from the rest of his body by a chainsaw-wielding Mia barely affects him. If anything, the player is more traumatized by the whole experience than he is.
Similarly, Mia is the stereotypical "damsel in distress" and possesses zero likable characteristics as, once again, we know barely anything about her. The poor character development in RE7 partially ruins some of the immersion, as you have no interest in whether or not Ethan and Mia survive.
My main gripe, however, is the game's main antagonist. As we find out closer to the conclusion of Biohazard, the Bakers are not responsible for their actions, as they are under the influence of a type-e bioweapon—Eveline, who is suspiciously similar to Alma from the F.E.A.R. franchise. Eveline might as well be her twin sister, as she almost the exact same character. Needless to say, I was more than disappointed by the game's grand reveal.
3. Awkward Pacing
Showcased in the demo, the original house is the scariest area in the entire game, as the player has absolutely no idea what is happening and what to expect. RE7 takes you for a wild ride as you eventually come face-to-face with the nightmarish Baker family. However, it appears as if once the developers created the intro sequence to the game, they had to somehow tie their story into the Resident Evil universe and add enough content for 10 hours of gameplay, which is why the pacing feels off later down the road.
It is rather evident that the developers invested the most amount of effort into the first part of the game; every single tiny detail compliments the morbid aesthetic of the environment, making the starting house the scariest area in the game. Nothing can prepare you for what the Bakers have in store for you and with the introduction of the Molded, the player has an entirely new enemy to fear.
As the game progresses, the horror-heavy gameplay is, unfortunately, almost entirely replaced by FPS-type action. Once the player escapes out into the courtyard, the game becomes a series of repetitive puzzles and annoying fetch-quests with the occasional jump scare and boss fight. Weapons are introduced fairly early on but do little to help you against the main villains, as they remain virtually immortal until the plot deems otherwise. Your impressive arsenal of multiple handguns, a shotgun, a grenade launcher, and a flamethrower will be mostly used to kill the Molded, who, after a while, become mere cannon fodder instead of an actual threat. The final confrontation between Ethan and Eveline is easily the worst boss battle in the game, as it is so completely different from how RE7 was presenting itself at the beginning.
2 Plot Holes
Resident Evil is known for having a huge number of plot holes and Biohazard is no different. Here are the most obvious ones:
- Ethan has his hand sawed off with a chainsaw, which is then magically reattached with a few stitches by Zoey.
- Despite the fact that Mia has been infected longer than any of the Bakers, she is capable of somewhat controlling her actions, yet the Bakers are completely under Eveline's control.
- Why does an old farmhouse in Louisiana have so many intricate shadow-locks, traps, and various overly-complex key door mechanisms?
- Also, houses in Louisiana don't have basements.
- Why didn't the police officer call for backup?
- Why hasn't the three-year-old wreck of the giant tanker been salvaged/moved?
- Why are VHS tapes still being used in modern times?
- Why hasn't the house burned down yet despite all of the constant fires?
1. Illusion of Choice
At some point in gaming history, it was decided that linear storylines are undesirable and since then most "big" games have multiple endings. While this does make the gameplay more immersive, as the player is much more invested in getting the best possible ending, RE7 has absolutely failed at making their game nonlinear, and their system of determining the outcome of your playthrough is incredibly lazy and see-through.
More than halfway through the story you are presented with the only choice in the game: cure Zoe or cure Mia. Depending on who you choose, you will either get the good ending (cured Mia) or the bad ending (cured Zoe). No matter what your choice was, however, the game will play out exactly the same, except for the fact that either Zoe or Mia will die. It is so painfully clear that the developers fully-fledged out only one ending, and the other one they slapped onto the game at the very end in order to present their players with the illusion of choice.
Although it is evident that the game wants you to choose Ethan's wife, Mia, over Zoe, there is very little reason why the former should be the one to receive the cure. For the entirety of the game, she has been nothing but a nuisance, while Zoe has constantly helped and guided the player. Unfortunately, the developers of RE7 do not think so, since Zoe will be killed off if you choose her over Mia. Giving the player a choice, only to reveal that it ultimately absolutely does not matter is easily the worst aspect of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
What Was Your Experience?
Did Resident Evil 7 scare the pants off of you? Comment below and tell us all about your experience with the game!
© 2017 Ivan Sokolski
Ivan Sokolski (author) on March 27, 2017:
I'm glad you enjoyed the article! Thank you for the follow :)
I can see how having Ethan being an undeveloped character can help the player relate himself to the role, but... he's a very specific character. He's not a silent protagonist that can be anyone or anything the player chooses him to be, he has enough development to not be a "silent/faceless protagonist." He's a static character, which is somewhat disappointing when comparing him to the Baker family. It's kind of like seeing a gorgeous background in painting with stick figure people in the foreground.
But hey, that's just me)
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on March 21, 2017:
Nice article! I just finished writing about the top 6 scariest moments in this game and came across yours.
I agree on the plot holes, but I think Lucas will be addressed later, possibly (hopefully?) in the next game. If not, it's a massive plothole as I was waiting for him to show up again. The videotapes thing bothered me, too - it's supposed to be set in the summer of 2017!
I think Ethan being so boring was because the "player" was supposed to be him, although I agree it affects the storyline. It was so funny to see his hand just get stapled on again! Overall great article, I'm gonna follow you!