A "gamer" since way before the term was coined, I have been playing video games in one form or another since the 1980s.
Welcome Back to Survival Horror
A door stands in front of you. It's dark. You're low on bullets and health. The latest battle left you with little resources and the last saferoom seems like a distant memory.
You're faced with a difficult decision. Do you go forward and take your chances with the unknown horrors that may await? Or do you make the long trek back to the soothing sounds of the saferoom and rummage through the item box looking for that herb you stashed earlier and now desperately need?
Resident Evil is creepier and scarier than ever with the seventh installment. The main series takes a sharp turn from the more recent action-based games and returns to the series' survival horror roots, and in a big way. Returning are safe rooms, haunting environments, item management, and a host of baddies standing between you and survival.
The Baker Clan of Dulvey
Resident Evil 7 takes place in and around the Baker residence: a dark dilapidated series of buildings located in the remote area of Dulvey, Louisiana.
You play as Ethan, a man whose wife went missing three years ago. You suddenly receive a video message coming from your wife Mia asking you to come rescue her from the Baker residence. In disbelief, you set off to find your long-lost wife.
As you soon find out, it's not that easy. The Bakers are a family of seemingly invincible violent freaks looking to torture you to their hearts' (or lack thereof) content. Twisted abominations litter the complex. It feels like everything in this house is out to get you. The only things keeping you going are sharp wits, quick reflexes, and the determination to rescue your wife Mia and get out alive.
Exploring First Person Gameplay
The gameplay of Resident Evil 7 is centered around a first-person point of view, which is new to the series. Don't let that worry you, as the creators of Resident Evil 7 take great advantage of this new feature.
If you've played other first-person horror games like Outlast and Amnesia, then you'll understand the tension and uncertainty not being able to see what is behind you can bring. This game brings it and does it well. Every door you open seems like it might be a trap and this element keeps you on your toes throughout the game.
The tension and atmosphere that Resident Evil 7 brings is top-notch and will make you jump at least a few times during your playthrough. The sound is excellent and greatly enhances the haunting atmosphere. You'll hear sounds in the background and wonder if it's just a part of the ambient noise or the sound of one of the Baker family out for blood.
Sometimes it really is just the ambient noise of a creaky floorboard or the sound of the wind blowing through window drapes. Other times . . . well, let's just say we hope you have a change of underwear handy.
Final Thoughts on Resident Evil 7
With all we've praised so far, the game is not without its flaws. We found that the first half or so of the game is very well done and its settings creeped us out too many times to count. After a certain point, though, Resident Evil 7 starts to lose its creep factor and becomes more of a quest to simply finish the story.
That being said, the story is unique enough and done well enough to keep you wanting to finish. Just don't be surprised if that feeling of dread and despair you had from the beginning hours of Resident Evil 7 is gone. Also at times the controls and hit detection can seem a bit clunky. If you're a regular player of FPS shooters, for example, you'll probably feel a little limited.
Still, Resident Evil 7 is well worth a playthrough or two. We've gone through three playthroughs ourselves just one week after the release. There are many collectibles scattered throughout the Baker complex, as well as increasing difficulty levels and playthrough completion rewards to keep you coming back to visit.
Just remember: the Bakers will be there too. And they're waiting . . .
Our Rating: 4.5/5
"Resident Evil 7" Video Demo
How Would YOU Rate "Resident Evil 7"?
All photos on this page are screenshots from actual gameplay and taken by the author of this article - Josh Gall.
You can find him live streaming this and other games at Twitch under the handle Blaze_izbeastly.
© 2017 Hal Gall
What Are Your Thoughts on "Resident Evil 7"?
Ivan Sokolski on February 13, 2017:
I agree with what you said about the first part of the game being the scariest. The game becomes really different as soon as you leave the main house.
Personally, I would give it 4.5, just because they basically recycled Alma from F.E.A.R.