Kyle Atwood is a published horror author who plays too many video games and watches too many horror movies to be of sound mind.
One of the Rare Games That Lives up to Its Hype
Yes, that's right, the massive build up that this game received was well put. So, if you want a quick opinion of whether or not you should buy this game, then my verdict is yes, you most certainly should. The game is actually everything that it is chalked up to be and that is something rarely said about most game releases in our time.
Resident Evil 7 gives players a fantastic control system, easy to learn control scheme, and tight controls, every button comfortably serving the purpose they are required to do.
The player controls are not the only factor that makes this horror game so special, the enemy mechanics do as well. For example, Jack Baker, one of the many antagonists in the game, has the ability to chase you down as you run away from him and grab you and flip you around to deliver a couple of southern fried whacks from whatever weapon he's taken a fancy to. The AI is very aware of its surroundings and the player's location making them a formidable opponent, but at the same time, it's not like the Xenomorph from Alien: Isolation where it knows exactly where you are most of the time. The game is challenging to the point that it isn't overwhelming, but certainly gives you the challenge you so desperately crave in the series.
Resident Evil 7 brings back the very limited inventory (with the ability to increase the number after you've picked up a backpack). Often times, you are forced to come back for the medicine, the ammo, or the key much later until you have placed items, that you think you don't particularly need at that moment, into the item boxes located in the safe rooms spread throughout the Baker property. I've even found myself discarding vital items to my survival in order to get the key that I need for the next series of doors.
Certain items, such as a shotgun or a magnum, take up two slots as well, so having the most powerful weapons in the game, means sacrificing those precious slots for the weapon and for its ammo.
Combat is certainly different for the newest addition to the Resident Evil series, and, not only is it different, but it is also very, very challenging. If you are taking on one of the Bakers, prepare to waste quite a bit of ammunition and medicine trying to take them out. If you are taking on the various other enemies located in the game, they too take quite a bit of ammunition and, in fact, they sometimes require you to dismember them in order for them not to return from the dead, or you need to blow their head off.
The Bakers each have very different abilities and battles of their own so, without spoiling too much, I'll tell you that the boss battle against Jack Baker is hard, exciting, panic-inducing, and just all-around enjoyable. Eventually, you get your hands on a chainsaw and begin literally fencing with Jack and his own, weird, intimidating chainsaw contraption, and yes, when he hits you, it takes out quite a bit of your health. To be honest, it was one of the hardest boss battles I've endured in the Resident Evil series (probably because I was out of medicine and already injured going into the fight).
With the numerous endings, massively different difficulty settings, various, oftentimes missed, items, the unlockables, the collectibles, and the sheer experience are all wonderful traits to give this game many more playthroughs without retiring the fun.
Basically, you're a guy who lost his wife (who was on a babysitting job in some faraway place). You receive two videos from her, one being good and happy, the other being grim and frightening. Eventually, Ethan, the character you play as, somehow discovers where his wife, Mia, is and goes to rescue her. His travels take him to the bayou of Louisiana, to a remote, run down house in the back of a forest.
Once inside, Ethan eventually finds Mia in the basement of the guest house behind a locked cell door and awakes her from her slumber. She then tells him that this was a bad idea and that he needs to go back home ASAP. They parade through tight corridors in dark places and eventually wind up in a small plywood room where Mia is kidnapped and dragged through a hole in the wall. Eventually, Ethan tracks her down and she attacks him with a kitchen knife and he retaliates by wedging a conveniently placed hatchet into his wife's neck. Don't worry, she's not dead. She runs away after Ethan receives a phone call from Zoe, one of the Baker family members, instructing him of his next task.
He winds up losing his hand to a chainsaw-wielding Mia who, shortly after, takes refuge in the attic. Ethan tracks her down and picks up another conveniently placed weapon, a handgun, and begins the duel with his seemingly immortal wife in a frightening, challenging duel.
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He "kills" Mia again and, after some time of wandering around in the attic, is intercepted by Jack's devastating right hook, knocking him unconscious. Ethan awakes in a deranged and very well-crafted world.
Linear, But Effective
The story is pretty black and white—feeling more like a Chainsaw Massacre film, rather than a Resident Evil game. This isn't a bad thing however, despite the story being predictable it is very effective and oftentimes disturbing.
Believe it or not, good dialogue makes a huge difference in the game being good or not. Games are supposed to immerse you into their world, and if the dialogue is poorly written and presented, it ruins quite a massive portion of a game's experience. The earlier days of Resident Evil were infamous for this (anyone want a Jill sandwich?) but Resident Evil always manages to rebound from this with other impressive features. Resident Evil 7, however, has some of the best dialogue I've had the pleasure of experiencing. The enemies as well as allies, talk like human beings and, as simple as that sounds, makes the game even more so disturbing than it already is. It's as if they interviewed a handful of the more—interesting—families of the bayous of America, and took their answers and put them into this game.
A Few Points I'd Like to Highlight
These are a few points that really stood out to me personally, things that I honestly search for when playing these wonderful, very expensive mediums of entertainment.
- Sound Quality: When every footstep makes a different sound every time and changes with every different spot on the scenery, that makes a game stand out from the rest.
- Enemies That Are True Villains: The Bakers are among the most unique enemies I have had the pleasure of cutting up (with a chainsaw) and putting bullet holes in. The way they taunt and attack and mutilate themselves is something we rarely see with villains, things that make us really want to kill them.
- The Aiming: When Ethan raises whatever gun he's armed with, preparing to give the Bakers a bit of lead therapy, the gun feels heavy and is perfectly modeled.
- The Tiny Details: For instance, when you shoot an enemy up close, you'll get blood spatters all over your gun. That's pretty classy, if you ask me.
- The Nods to Past Titles: Too many spoilers to discuss this one.
- The Bravery of Trying a Different Approach and Succeeding: The common themes of fear I was hearing regarding this game were "I'm used to playing Resident Evil in first-person" and "It has nothing to do with the story, new characters after so many years of the same crew is a bit worrying." Well, nay-sayers, I'm here to tell you that this game presents these things wonderfully and brings the series back to its roots.
The Terror Level?
Through the roof and not because of an overwhelming amount of jump scares, which I deeply hate in anything regarding horror. There are jump scares, however, but they are very well placed and there is plenty of panic and tension in between each one. The atmosphere is exactly what a Resident Evil game should have and you'll easily find yourself swallowed up by this dark and decaying world (it took me ten hours to beat this game on normal because of how often I would freeze with fear).
Resident Evil 7 presented all of its new, yet familiar, features confidently and boldly, daring to tread where too many games do not dare to go . . . the "new and exciting" path leading to the "innovative and comfortable" destination. Resident Evil did live up to the hype it was building its followers with, a very rare thing for most games today.
The enemies are terrifying on a morbidly human level.
The gameplay is tight and powerful.
The story is linear, yet confident and, as I've stated earlier, very effective.
The combat is exciting and frightening.
The jumpscares are well placed and not overwhelming
If you are a fan of the classic Resident Evil games or of horror in general, then this is a must-have for you . . . wait no further! If you are a casual gamer just looking for a few thrills and something to play to pass the time, then this is also a game for you! If you are a hardcore gamer looking for a challenge, get the game and beat it, then play it again on Nightmare, in other words—you'll need this game. No matter what walk of gaming you come from, I promise you'll enjoy this game for everything that it has to offer.