“Resident Evil 7” is filled to the brim with character. Character that has been missing from “Resident Evil” since Capcom tried moving the series to a more action-orientated experience as opposed to one that’s seeded in the series’s survival horror roots. It’s a “Resident Evil” game for fans and also for those looking to try the series out for the first time. Walking through the claustrophobic hallways of the Baker plantation, the setting brought back the same string of emotions I felt when I first walked through the iconic Spencer Mansion from the original title.
“Resident Evil 7” begins with a new protagonist, Ethan Winters. Ethan receives an email from his missing wife Mia, who warns him not to come looking for her after she had been missing for three years. Of course Ethan disregards this warning and makes his way to the Baker family plantation. The game starts off relatively slow, but once things hit the fan, the game turns into a survival horror fan’s wet dream.
The game’s antagonists make up the Baker family and bring out the best of Louisiana bayou horror. The family of freaks seems inspired by films like “The Hills Have Eyes” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” I was genuinely freaked out by each family member.
While the Baker family drives fear into the player, the game’s setting amplifies that incredible sense of fear. It’s not uncommon to hear creaks, bangs, footsteps, voices and doors shut throughout the game’s multiple locales. It gives the player a sense of claustrophobia, as if you are always being watched– as if you are never alone.
The Baker family isn’t the only enemy players will face in the game, but they’re definitely the strongest out of all the enemies in terms of actually being scary. The other enemies, some sort of black liquid-like monsters, are simply targets for the player to use his/her ammo on. It would’ve been nice to see other enemies that were more compelling outside of the Baker family.
“Resident Evil 7” appears similar to “P.T.,” the critically acclaimed playable teaser for “Silent Hills” that was cancelled by Konami. “Silent Hills” was seemingly going to ditch the series’ staple third-person perspective for a more immersive first-person perspective. “Resident Evil 7” seems like Capcom’s answer to the large majority of gamers who wanted a game similar to “P.T.”
The first person perspective works surprisingly well in “Resident Evil” and I hope to see Capcom use this point of view in future installments. From the way your character moves to the layout of the game’s setting, it’s what I expect when I play “Resident Evil.” Combat is still just as tough as it was in the original title, the game makes taking out enemies a cumbersome and slow process.
“Resident Evil 7” took me just over nine hours to complete. It seems most players are taking anywhere from eight to 12 hours. The game never overstays its welcome and even encourages multiple playthroughs for players who crave higher difficulties and hunting for every nook and cranny in the game. Replays have never been uncommon in “Resident Evil” and each title often encouraged them in one way or another. It’s nice to see “Resident Evil 7” doesn’t change this tradition.
Capcom has breathed new life into a franchise that was slowly fading away. The game’s ending is satisfying and gives Capcom the ability to tell more stories from this rich survival-horror universe. Fans of the series should be very pleased with how it ties into the canon. “Resident Evil 7” is a great start to 2017. Fans of the long running series should be excited for the future of this legendary franchise. “Resident Evil” is back and here to stay.