Resident Evil 7 Biohazard came out after much anticipation on January 24th, 2017. This is what I like to personally call the start of Capcom’s Redemption arc. Now let’s get one thing straight, Resident Evil 6 is not THAT bad of a game. Looking back and revisiting it, it’s actually pretty fun. However, when it came out I lost a lot of hope for how the RE franchise was going to continue. Now when I got my hands on Resident Evil 7, I was blown away. I played it for so long that first 2 days I had a splitting headache afterward. This reignited my love for the franchise and gave me so much hope for the future. With RE 7 turning 3 recently, I wanted to take a minute and look back at this First-Person venture for our beloved franchise
I recently played through this on my stream for the first time in a while to prepare for this article. The main things I pulled from the experience were the slow burn of its gameplay, the environment and cast, and the restrictive nature that comes from the first-person perspective. These elements combined made it into one of the best experiences of 2017 that still holds up in 2020. Now I’ll be diving into each of these elements in a moment but I do want to preface this with a few things.
First off, these are just my personal opinions. I don’t claim for these things to be universal truths for the game but just my takeaways. Also, I will say this game does have its faults. Most notably the enemy variety is terrible. The Molded are just really generic. They look great the first few times but once you leave the main house of the Baker Estate they really do start to feel stale. I feel like they tried to play it safe with the enemies and not go too wild in fear of making it too extravagant
Moving through the mold
Now to get back to the good stuff. We are conditioned to think of Halo or Call of Duty when it comes to first-person shooters. With these games come fast-paced gameplay, gunplay, and maneuverability. In RE 7 however, this is most certainly not the case. Ethan moves slowly to the point that his sprint is barely considered a jog. He also doesn’t have the ability to jump as you would in most FPS games. This really makes the movement feel more grounded.
This is honestly this is perfect for how the games story elements unfold and the slow burn the game goes for. Once you regain control of Ethan after the dinner scene, the game feels like such a solid horror game. The immediate return to the form of having you stuck in a house, doors locked, and searching for key items was beautiful. It really did reignite the feeling of being stuck in the Spencer Mansion again. (not to mention the dining room giving me flashbacks to the dining hall in RE1)
Environments are Important!
The area you are stuck in while playing a horror game is equally as important to the story. RE 7 really grabbed me with the Baker Estate and the Baker Family. They both gave me the feeling I was playing a Texas Chainsaw Massacre video game which was weird in its own right, but a much-needed game. The environment is gorgeous. The simple wooden interiors to the dark and damp metallic hallways found in the ship portion all give a sense of claustrophobia. I loved peering around corners and slowly opening doors because I wasn’t sure what mold monster was going to come next. Now where they lack in enemy variety, they sure made up in characters. I love the tragic story of the Baker Family. When you go through the story a second time and know what’s really going on in this family, it’s pretty depressing.
Lastly, I want to take a look at its gameplay. The first person perspective felt as restrictive as the fixed camera angles. Now I can hear the angry mashing of keys in the comments but hear me out. Because of how they set up the environments with a lot of smaller hallways and rooms, the first-person perspective made it hard to get a sense of the surroundings. Many times you have to really on hearing the enemies behind you. Not to mention the fear when running away from the molded and hearing them running behind you as you go through a doorway. When you combine the perspective and the environment it really does create a perfect combo.
Worth a replay as we wait for RE 3
Resident Evil 7 a big leap for the franchise. Since its launch, we’ve now seen the RE 2 remake in the same engine with the RE 3 remake coming soon. This has been an amazing time for us as RE fans and has really brought our community to a new, higher level. As we prepare to dive in the RE 3 remake, I suggest taking a step back and playing through RE 7 one more time. This way we can all truly appreciate how far we have come.