The Resident Evil franchise has been around for years, with the original game launching in 1996. I was completely oblivious of the franchise when I was younger and even after discovering it, the Resident Evil games generally failed to grab my attention. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard really isn’t any different to the original titles in the franchise. The only difference was the shift from a third-person view to a first person view. This shift made the game more appealing to me and the overall tone the trailers intrigued me enough to download and play the demo. The demo was extremely terrifying yet fun.
I can happily say that the full game far exceeded my expectations. This was an intense and scary experience. One that I was unable to complete without having at least one friend over. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was designed to terrify you. The dim lighting would cause your eyes to play tricks on you and when an enemy appeared it was always a harrowing experience. The game looks beautiful in a very run down, gritty and ominous way. The rooms and houses are very detailed and believable. The entire setting draws you in until you completely forget you are playing a game. You’ll become so engrossed in the experience that absolutely anything will terrify you.
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You control Ethan Winters who goes searching for his wife Mia after receiving a video message from her three years after she went missing and was declared dead. He ends up at the edge of a plantation and finds a large decrepit house. Ethan soon discovers it’s owned by a disturbing and mysterious family. My first experience with the Baker family was very disturbing, making me want to avoid them at all costs. You are directing into terrifying encounters with each family member and when you aren’t being hunted you have to navigate through environments that make you dread every corner.
Ethan’s movements were rather clunky at the worst of times, often causing me to run into objects while trying to escape whatever horrific creature is trying to kill me. The enemy encounters were terrifying and disturbing. The encounters with the family members were even worse, some of them designed specifically to make you panic and die at your very first attempt. Every single fight really did feel like it’s for your life.
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The gameplay was unique because it allows you to play at your own pace while also subtly making sure that you go in the right direction. As Ethan, you spend the majority of your time figuring out how to get to the next room or area. While you are trying to figure that out, you are either being pursued by a members of the Baker family or being attacked by creatures called the “Moulded”. These disgusting creatures will often take you by surprise, appearing out of nowhere at the worst of times. There wasn’t a huge variety of enemies in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. In total there are about 6 or so different types of enemies, each one with its own way of moving and attacking.
Overall the combat is extremely realistic, intense and somewhat tactical. While there are guns in the game, there are also one or two melee weapons. Using these melee weapons force you to get close and personal with your repulsive enemies. Guns are the preferred method of combat though, putting a comfortable distance between you and the spine-chilling creature that’s trying to rip you apart. Using the correct weapon on the correct enemy makes combat a lot easier. Even the simplest encounters can go wrong very quickly.
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Even if I did happen to have a weapon, I hardly ever had enough ammo to comfortably defend myself. Ammo and health are rather scarce in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, forcing me to make really difficult decisions about when to shoot and when to run. Healing items become a necessity as a couple of hits could easily kill me. There is a pretty decent crafting system which allowed me to craft ammo, first aid meds and other useful items.
I will add that during the closing stages of the game I found a large amount of ammo. This made things a lot easier. I did however, play the game on Normal so I’m sure the Madhouse difficulty will offer a lot less ammo and resources.
Correctly using the resources I found throughout the game became rather important. There are also items that can upgrade your character. These items are locked in bird cages and can only be found in certain locations. These bird cages can only be unlocked with Antique Coins. However, these Antique Coins were rather difficult to find, forcing me to really explore these terrifying environments.
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To make the game even more tactical you also have limited inventory space. Most items take up one slot while weapons take up two. You will need to carefully manage your inventory towards the later stages of the game. There are storage crates in specific “safe rooms” throughout the game. These safe rooms contain a cassette player where you save your game, your storage crate and sometimes a useful item or two. These rooms offer a much needed space to catch your breath and do some crafting and inventory sorting.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard does a lot right, in fact it did almost everything right. There was only one extremely disappoint aspect to this game and it was the story. It’s rather evident that the story was thrown together towards the end of development. Its unfortunate that this terrible story resurfaces between all the glorious horror and terror, only to cause a disgusting stink that lingers for a few minutes before disappearing again. The story does drive and compel the player to keep going, but it just wasn’t good enough.
Despite the lackluster story, Resident Evil 7 is a great game with many unforgettable and visceral moments. Fans of the survival horror genre will love it. With the overall game time clocking in at around 10 hour and a lot of DLC content to get through, it feels like my Resident Evil 7 experience is only beginning.
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