Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a classic style survival horror set in present-day rural Louisiana.
Developer: CAPCOM Co., Ltd.
Publisher: CAPCOM Co., Ltd.
Release date: 24 Jan, 2017
Genre: First-Person Survival-Horror
The new protagonist here is Ethan, a young man who came all the way here to this secluded woodland area to find his girlfriend, Mia, who was thought to have disappeared years before but has recently contacted him with a new message telling him to reach her at a certain house in the woods. This is then the incipit to the story, of which we won’t reveal anything else because of course no spoilers! What you can certainly expect from this title is an anxiety and fear-inducing environment. It is moreso in this new chapter than any of the other recent RE games in my opinion. Resources are stretched thin, many secrets are open to discover and the unmistakable classic gameplay of a Resident Evil game is here in one of its purest forms since the historical first couple of chapters.
The gameplay of this title is, as said before, one typical of the series. If you are unfamiliar with it, then let me explain: in Resident Evil 7, you will find yourself alone in a mysterious house in the woods, constantly under pressure and chased by some homeowners with a twisted idea of southern hospitality along with various monsters of unspeakable brutality and terror. As you try to find your way out of this madhouse, you will be able to gather various resources (aka anything even remotely useful you can find to survive) to aid you in staying alive. We are talking about ammunition, medkits, chemical components, keys and even items, which apparently are useless but with a bit of thinking can become real gold. Anyway, in the Safe Areas with the save point you will also find a trunk where to store any excess items and then access it from any other trunk. A fancy thing, that perhaps ruins the true horror atmosphere and “casualizes” the experience. That does depend on your player preference.
But beware, inventory space is VERY limited and often you will be forced to choose what to keep and what to leave behind. The atmosphere in this seventh chapter is definitely rendered in a magistral way, you will be able to feel true anxiety and fear thanks to the new first-person perspective which is a new element not typical of the series until now. On your way to freedom and possibly answers to the many questions this dark place raised, you will confront a plethora enemies, each one of them with its own weaknesses and strengths, and each reacting differently to the diverse weapons you may have found. Fighting directly is not always the wisest option, sometimes a stealth approach will do miracles, and some other times a shotgun blast is the only answer.
A very good mention must be made about the Boss fights of this title. Bosses will really be a challenge, especially on the insane Madhouse difficulty. Each will have very different ways in which to be approached and include some strong AI intelligence as well. There will be more than one way to defeat them, so you can go brute force and shoot everything you have at them, however, that might be a long and resource-consuming fight. Or, perhaps, the right approach, only time will tell as you uncover their weaknesses.
During your journey, one of the key elements in succeeding will be to find out what things you can create with what you have at your disposal. Some chemical fluid and an herb might result in a good medical solution to cure those nasty wounds while mixing gunpowder and some strong reagent might lead to explosive results. Crafting has always been a part of the Resident Evil series, but we think that in this chapter it has been successfully elevated to a better and more central standard than the previous iterations
As with all the Resident Evil games, also this one hides a plethora of collectibles and secrets. There will be items of no apparent use that will lead you to great secrets if used correctl. Hidden messages may reveal asecret stashes of rare items or coins hidden in obscure places will be discovered only to spend them in an even more obscure and mysterious place from an unknown dealer. There is really a lot to find in this game, some things minor, some things major, but all of them are hidden.
There are also some bad aspects to the gameplay, sad to say, but true. First of all, regular enemies you encounter will have a “pre-determined area” of action, so if it happens that you encounter a monster, then go back all the way you came from, the monster will not chase you but go back to where it came and disappear, waiting for you again. This is kind of a letdown as it was probably made for technical reasons and doesn’t really fit well with the atmosphere.
Another bad side is the general resource balance. Even at the maximum difficulty which i played, after looking literally in every single corner of every place, i found myself overburdened with items and often had to go to the Stash to store them. At the end of the game, I literally had so much ammo of even the rarest weapons that the final boss got all of that thrown at him, needless to say that blew it to pieces in a short time. The item quantity should be MUCH lower than it is currently.
For gametime, the longevity of this title is to be expected to be 8 to 14 hours depending on difficulty, play style and skill.
Technically speaking, let’s start with graphics: Resident Evil 7 has some of the best visuals ever seen even among very recent releases. Textures, shaders, lights, color palettes, it is all realized at extremely high standards. More than once I have been astonished in seeing just how much detail there was in every single thing around, from the piles of empty cans laying in a kitchen that fall down and roll when touched, to the sticky, fetid mold elongating from the inside of a fridge when swinging its long-closed door, RE7 is a game where no detail went amiss, and certainly there is no haste or lack of care in anything. The characters and monsters are as well made with incredible detail, as are models of items, furniture and generic objects found in the world.
With all this goodness, you may have wondered how this game performs, well you won’t be disappointed here, because optimization in this last resident chapter is extremely good, as we were able to run this game on a not very recent machine (4 years and a half old to be exact) with everything pumped up to maximum except shadows, which were limited to High, and were absolutely fantastic even then. There is no tearing, stuttering, item popup, aliasing of any sort anywhere. I can really swear to not have seen a single graphical glitch in the entire game.
Let’s pass on to AI, as it is important with these kind of games. I will say that the AI is not at an exceptional level, but it is more than average. Enemies will have predefined attack patterns as you would expect, but they will use them pretty intelligently and will be quite unpredictable, don’t think you can face some slow-moving stupid zombies here because you are waaay far from truth!
Sound design. Great lord the sound design of this game. Is. Amazing. If you have a good headset or set of speakers turn up the volume, turn off the light and just listen to the incredibly well-done ambiance and effects this game sports. In our opinion, this is the element that truly makes RE7‘s atmosphere so well made and involving, as any good horror should be.
Resident Evil 7 is a very well done first-person action/horror experience. It brings everything good the series always had to a new level of modern quality and does it with style. Sadly, it is not a definitive true survival horror experience due to resource balance problems and some features, like the Stash, which can take away from the experience and make survival horror frightening and difficult. It is a great game, but just shy of a masterpiece.
(click on the image to see the rating explanation)