Having forcibly kept myself awake, staying up until 2am to watch the Sony conference at E3, you couldn’t begin to imagine my excitement when I saw the announcement for Resident Evil 7. Now a massive fan of the series, I originally borrowed the first Resident Evil for the PlayStation One from friend near to my great aunt. He was a lot older than me and obviously said this game would scare the hell out of me. At the ripe age of 11, he was absolutely correct. However, this game gave me my first taste and subsequent hunger for survival horror. Since then I have followed the series through every instalment. In my own opinion, Capcom had the whole thing down up until RE4. Whilst still a great game, they really went off on a tangent and it lost a little of its survival horror heart. Las Plagas, ultimately just didn’t have the same scare factor as the undead, and really, we all know the series went on a steady downhill decline from there.
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With the announcement of Resident Evil 7 my first concern was whether the game would continue this trend or shake it off. True RE fans have wanted a game that evokes the first three for a long, long time bringing back its true horror routes. So this morning I was very excited to play the recently released demo, but found it ultimately leading to disappointment.
I made the assumption that with this new title’s insistence on being horror focused that the game would return to it’s scary and inhibitive over the shoulder third person formula, however I was wrong. Simulated in a first person view, this RE has wiped anything to do with the series so far, and was more reminiscent of the atmospherically, disturbing PT demo from Hideo Kojima we all got so hyped about. The back story lands us in a creepy ‘derelict house’, much like the Most Haunted TV show, you play the demo as a Cameraman replete with arrogant anchor and producer doing a piece on the house. The story talks of the family that lived in this house, that they were secluded from society, and a little strange. Rather creepy indeed.
Events unfold to your dismay, and you need to get out of the house. The only thing that felt in keeping with RE was the puzzle system, it’s always fun to solve your way out of these situations. I must admit the first person view point does add a lot of tension, graphically, this game is good, and great suspense is made throughout music and sound effects. The rooms throughout the play through offered a lot of discomfort and unease, which does lead to a few eventual jump scares, and with integrated VR capabilities this game has the potential to be terrifying.
All in all, I feel this game branded as a Resident Evil game was the wrong way to go about it. I think I speak on behalf of the community in saying all we want to go back to is running round a mansion or Racoon City, being chased by zombies, lickers and hunters. Despite it’s daunting nature, and scary aesthetic, this RE7 demo does not give us the Resident Evil the players have been looking for.
As a fan of horror, and looking beyond this being an entry in the Resident Evil series, this game fully has the potential to make you poo-your-pants. It’s creepy, unnerving and shockingly atmospheric, if you like such films as The Hills Have Eyes, Wolf Creek or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this game is for you.
Editors note: Capcom has confirmed to multiple sources that this demo doesn’t actually feature as part of the game and that it is a representation of the aesthetic, atmospheric intentions of the game. The full game itself has been in development since 2014 and will feature the combat, horror and puzzle experience fans of the franchise expect. Whether it’ll be first or third person has yet to be fully defined, but with VR integration perhaps it’ll be playable in both and could as such have a similar horror feel to the excellent ‘Condemned’ series.
Nick Barlow | @nickybarlow