Resident Evil 7 Review: Is The Survival Horror Game A Scary Good Time?

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is finally here! Capcom published the survival horror game and released it January 24 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

It’s the eleventh chapter in the Resident Evil series, but it’s the first edition to feature the first-person format. So you brandish weapons against a hoard of mutant creatures, playing from the viewpoint of Ethan, the game’s main character.

So… what’s the verdict? How does Resident Evil 7 stack up as a game in the survival horror genre?

Here’s what gamer Heather Alexandra from Kotaku had to say:

I’ve been sneaking and shooting my way through Resident Evil 7 for the last day and loving it. It’s a big breath of fresh air that’s pretty damn terrifying. Here are some early thoughts on what works and what doesn’t.

There’s very minor spoilers below and at least one image of dismemberment.

1. This game is scary!

Let’s be real here: this series hasn’t been scary for a long time. Resident Evil 4 was intense but never quite elicited any long lasting dread for me the same way that running and hiding from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis’ titular monster did. That was back in 1999, which means it’s been almost twenty years since Resident Evil was actually scary.

Resident Evil 7 changes that. The move to a first person perspective was just what the franchise needed. Limiting player visibility means that you constantly feel vulnerable. The specter of the unknown permeates the game. Moving around corners or opening doors takes on a new dimension when your view is so constricted. It’s pure anxiety and I’m loving every terrifying second.

2. This game is basically a spooky version of hide and seek.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Some of the most memorable moments in Resident Evil 7 come when you have to hide from one of the nigh-invulnerable members of the Baker family. Tight corridors funnel them towards you and if you panic, you’ll probably run into a dead end and get your neck snapped for the trouble. Instead, you have to take it slow. You need to hide behind objects, crawl silently, and find hidden passages to slink through.

The bad part is that the game occasionally places these deadly foes directly in the path of useful items or key puzzles. The interior locations are tight and claustrophobic, which can make hiding difficult. This leads to clumsy chase sequences that feel far more Benny Hill than Nightmare of Elm Street. You’ll make loops around furniture, figure eight through the map, and waste a lot of ammo trying to escape. It’s tense but definitely frustrating when all you want to do is solve the next puzzle and move on.

3. The puzzles are too easy.

While I appreciate the game’s focus on environmental exploration, the puzzles feel rather basic. Mostly, you’ll find the right widget to put on the latest sprocket. You’ll also repeat certain puzzle types including using found objects to create specific shadows on the wall. I’ve yet to encounter anything that teased my brain like the Resident Evil’s crow infested painting galley puzzle or Nemesis’ complex clock tower/gemstone sequence. Perhaps more are to come but I’m a bit disappointed that the puzzles have been so easy.

Go over to Kotaku to read the rest of Heather’s Resident Evil write-up.

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