This is a rare break from the book reading because we’ve been graced by Capcom with Resident Evil 7. I’ve seen this game in E3 last June, together with another seeming masterpiece by Hideo Kojima and was hyped. After all the disappointments of Resident Evil 6, I’ve been a little bit wary of being swept off by the hype tide, but the game is a truly horrific experience, albeit a short one.
Before I give the low down on Resident Evil 7, please be warned that there are some small story spoilers ahead and some graphic warnings for all the kiddy winks. This isn’t for the faint of heart.
Now that we have that out of the way, the game starts with a video recording of a woman being watched by series protagonist Ethan Winters. The woman, apparently his wife Mia, who’s supposed to be dead in 2014, has given him a call and has led him to Dulvey, Louisiana. In there, he has unveiled strange happenings in the old plantation of the Baker Family, where he comes across a multitude of horrors.
The gameplay revolves around you, as Ethan Winters, and your pursuit to get out of the Baker Family home. This game, above everything else, is amazing. I have personally consumed survival horror games since the year of its inception in Clocktower and Resident Evil, up to classics like Resident Evil 4, Left 4 Dead and Silent Hill 2 and have never been as terrified since Left 4 Dead. The game uses jump scares and I usually dislike games with these methods of horror; this game uses its jump scares sparingly, never letting you know when they are coming. It requires you to concentrate on surviving from the nigh-invulnerable monsters that keep on pursuing you, and in the middle of this concentration it throws in a horrifying visage sweeping across your screen. There have been times that I jumped out of my seat. The upgrade in graphics is on a level so realistic that I almost had a heart attack. I understand that this game is supposedly a VR experience, but I refuse to play this game on VR for the sake of my sanity.
Resident Evil 7 is not without its faults though. The most glaring flaw of the title as a whole is its length. On the first playthrough, it will probably take 8 to 10 hours, narrative included. If you give it another run and you already know what to do, it can be done in six to seven hours. For a game that has been hyped like crazy, and I’m guilty of that as well, it’s on par in length with Order: 1886 at five hours and thirty minutes. Provided, if Resident Evil 7 has been played on VR, it will feel like forever because of the level of claustrophobia that it gives you. Creaking walls, dilapidated ceiling and distressed floors are on a surplus.
Another issue that I have with Resident Evil 7 is the last three-fourths of the game. It’s all downhill from there. The opening parts and unveiling the narrative are beautiful, exhilarating and admittedly the best experience I got in a while, but it plateaus right around the revealing of the final boss – the reason why the monsters are crazed bloodthirsty hillbillies. Once you understand the whole story, it grinds to a halt. It becomes akin to a stale piece of bread and you just push through just for the sake of finishing it.
Overall, Resident Evil 7 still admittedly went over and beyond my expectations. The focus in the narrative quality is obvious in the overall product: it is a scary game that will definitely make you jump from your seat. Though not without its faults, the quality is brimming with every panel. I can tell you that this game is no Resident Evil 4, but this is light years away from Resident Evil 6, and that alone means it is way good and up there with the classics. Resident Evil is a strong 4 out 5 any day.