It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that the downloadable content of Resident Evil 7, especially Banned Footage, was a bit all over the place. Nearly every single one dabbles in mechanics that are only tangentially related to the original game. However, I think they actually do something very interesting…
Flex Capcom’s sweet, sweet game design and engine.
Seeing some of the story of what happened to Clancy gives some interesting closure to the Sewers Gators side story, and 3 of the tales told in the DLC put us in the shoes of the final survivor of the doomed trio.
The first of these is Nightmare, in which Jack throws Clancy into the basement, fully expecting him to die down there. Clancy finds a few compactors and a workbench and decides that he’s not going down without a fight.
What follows is essentially Resi’s take on Nazi Zombies, and I actually like it a lot. The passive generation of scrap through the compactors is a touch I’d kill for in CoD‘s take on the zombie defense genre. The aesthetic and feel still evokes the sense of a brutal, knockdown drag-out fight for survival that the campaign offers.
The second vignette shows that Clancy survived his solo war through the basement, but got caught by Marguerite on the way out. Tied to a bed and told to eat his supper, he has to break free and find his way out.
If Nightmare exemplifies the new combat system, then Bedroom is a shining example of the puzzle systems that Resi is known for.
Bedroom may be my favorite of the stories because it’s also a shining exemplar of another popular puzzle: an escape room. Everything you need is in this room, but you need to figure out why these things require each other to progress.
Some of the solutions are so clever that I legitimately had to take a second to simply respect the person who designed it. The fork is the solution to part of the shadow puzzle comes to mind. It’s truly fantastic.
Third in the series follows Clancy after his escape from the bedroom. It seems Lucas got the drop on him, however, because he’s strapped into an awful contraption and forced into a brutal game of poker.
This minigame might be the biggest departure of the DLC. You can’t even move, it’s simple a guttural, visceral, Saw-like experience as you and another poor soul play blackjack, with your bodies as the bets.
It’s loads of fun, but not for the faint of heart. Fingers are removed, families are pined for, and mercy is begged for.
It’s brutal, but it could practically be a multiplayer game mode. It’s also the first time that the battle for survival is against a normal, scared human, which resonates pretty hard.
The final installment in the Banned Footage series is a glimpse into the horrible night that sees Eveline arriving at the Baker home. It’s a question that didn’t need answering, but it’s a nice touch all the same.
While this one may be the most traditionally Resident Evil as far as gameplay, it also has a hidden mystery to solve that, when solved, unlocks the True Ending.
This true ending explains how Zoe learned so much about Eveline, as well as demonstrates how truly terrifying Evie is. She effectively took over the household in a matter of MINUTES.
It’s a welcome addition into an already satisfying package.
Not A Hero
Off the heels of a slew of prequel chapters, we got an immediate sequel one, casting us as series darling Chris Redfield as he attempts to mop up the disaster in Dulvey, Louisiana.
This tale is significantly longer than the others. It also ties up one the two major dangling threads of the game: Lucas’s escape.
Rather than run and never come back, Lucas decides he’s going down fighting and takes most of Chris’s squad with him.
Seeing Chris in the driver seat of the new mechanics and engine is awesome. However, his experience and skill in the field of bioterror shines through his (and your) every move.
It’s a nice ride and broadens the lenses on the new world-building.
End of Zoe
The last story released ties up that second dangling thread: Zoe’s fate. Her Uncle Joe finds her covered in the white mycelium and likely on the way out. He decides that he’s not gonna let that happen.
To contrast the helplessness of being unarmed in nearly every other Resi, this chapter instead sees Joe learn how to capably turn his fists into deadly tools to kill the Molded.
This is an interesting departure from the series as a whole, but it’s a nice one. The final battle against a struggling Jack makes for an entertaining, supernatural boxing match.
The inclusion of a completely new character was a strange choice, especially one who should have been part of the main story if they were actually written before the game released. It’s not really terrible, however.
It was also worth seeing Zoe find a happy ending.
Capcom had an interesting opportunity with 7. Sitting on a spectacular, powerful new engine, they were essentially capable of doing whatever they wanted. It’s safe to say they didn’t squander the opportunity.
In the DLC, there’s not a single repeated thought. There’s a wave defense mode, an escape room, blackjack, essentially a riddle, a shooter, and a brawler.
All of these disparate elements serve to not only expand on the story that was newly introduced but also to prove that Capcom could do whatever they wanted with this new engine.
I find myself still going back to play 21 and Nightmare, even now. They both present legitimate fun and challenge.
Capcom touched on a golden formula with the downloadables on this one. One can only hope they continue to show off those skills in the future.
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