Initial Impressions – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

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Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (furthermore being referred to as RE7 within this post) is the newest addition to the long-standing Resident Evil video game series. This title, however, is going back to the series’ roots by bringing back true survival-horror and doing away with what many considered to be an action-horror focus (emphasis on “action”), which had become prominent in the past few main series titles. RE7 has implemented new features as well as brought back some of the old, more beloved features associated with the series which makes it a truly new kind of Resident Evil. For more detailed information on the game, please visit RE7’s official website.

RE7 is what I have been wanting in a Resident Evil game since Resident Evil 2. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the series since Resident Evil 2’s release in 1998, I’m actually a big fan of the series as a whole and even consider the widely hated Resident Evil 6 to be one of my favorite installments. However, I love true survival-horror and RE7 delivers spectacularly on that front. When the game’s demo first came out many were skeptical. It didn’t really feel like Resident Evil, didn’t play much like Resident Evil and didn’t seem to include the series’ infamous zombie hordes or notable characters. Despite reassurances from the development team at Capcom, people seemingly remained staunchly skeptical until the official reviews for the game came out. Review-wise, RE7 is being praised up and down the board as well as being generally well-received by players. Whatever skepticism existed before release seems to have faded into excitement for RE7, which is well deserved considering how great this game is.

Now, I haven’t played a whole lot of the game. I wasn’t able to begin playing RE7 until later in the week and at the time of writing this post I’m roughly 4-5 hours into the game. I’ve been taking my time though, exploring every nook and cranny and double checking every room for things I may have missed previously. I want to really take in all this game has to offer so I’m not rushing it or trying to finish it with haste. That being said, here are my initial impressions of RE7:

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One of my favorite aspects of this game is the first-person camera. While some are still having trouble accepting it given the Resident Evil series’ long standing third-person camera usage, I tend to prefer horror games which place me in the shoes of the person I am playing. The first-person angle really amps up the horror factor. When paired with the game’s impressive use of no musical score in lieu of more atmospheric sound effects, the experience so much more frightening than any previous Resident Evil title.

So far RE7’s narrative has been perfectly perplexing. It’s not the type of perplexing that makes you uninterested or want to stop playing though, it’s the type that makes you want to stick around and learn more. You ask yourself “Why is this happening and how?” and you actually want to keep playing to find out. Just when you think you have something figured out, something else happens that makes you second guess everything. It’s much like with past games in the series; in no way are all the cards placed on the table clearly or definitely, you have to work to find the answers. The two best words to describe the narrative, in my opinion, are engrossing and captivating. It sucks you in, makes you ask questions, and keeps you engaged enough to want to keep pushing forward. I’d love to get more into the narrative, but it’s hard to do without spoiling things so I’ll leave it to you all to truly experience the game’s narrative while playing for yourself.

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Another thing I love are the throwbacks to the mainline Resident Evil series. While many were initially concerned that certain beloved aspects of the original series wouldn’t make it into this title, I can assure you that RE7 feels truly “Resident Evil” in nearly every way. There are rooms in which you can save and store items into a box, there are doors with require certain types of keys, plenty of strange puzzles, gunplay, ammo conservation/inventory management, monsters/strange creatures and even herbs. Alongside all the more memorable mechanics associated with Resident Evil are plenty of entirely new ones, making RE7 feel fresh yet familiar.

Something I’ve really appreciated is how while the game is different from the Beginning Hour demo as a whole, the events from the demo are still part of the main game’s narrative in their own way. If you didn’t get to play the demo, the beginning of the game takes you through much of where the demo took place and even allows you to replay the video tape from the demo. I also really love the further incorporation of actively playing through content on the video tapes you pick up and view, which was featured in the demo. I still think this mechanic is such a simple yet captivating part of the narrative/gameplay. Instead of just watching something happen on the video tapes you get the chance to actually play through them, allowing them to have more meaning and draw you in more.

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When it comes to actually playing the game I have found the gameplay to be smooth and responsive, making up for all the years in which we have had to endure clunky combat, awkwardly fixed camera angles and annoying movement/navigation throughout the series. I’ve been appreciating a lot of the little touches which make the game feel so engrossing, such as swinging an axe and having it stick into a wooden beam or seeing real-time damage being done to enemies (cuts and wounds showing up exactly where I made contact with the enemy). While I haven’t played a ton of RE7, I can safely say that at least up to where I am the game is very fluid. There aren’t any glitches or awkward hang-ups. Just enjoyably thrilling narrative and subsequently terrifying gameplay dynamics.

Overall, I think RE7 is a fantastic addition to the Resident Evil series. It’s everything I have ever wanted from the series as a long time fan and more! It feels familiar yet brand new, totally revitalized and welcoming to new players and long time fans of the series alike. I definitely give this title my seal of approval. If you can handle the horror, then I suggest you jump into RE7 head fist and engross yourself in this thrilling adventure through the home of the Baker’s. Good luck!

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