While many Resident Evil fans were skeptical about the shift to first person, I was pretty stoked (possibly because I am not a huge fan of the series, but rather the horror genre). The game promised to terrify, and it definitely succeeded. Not only did the game offer intense chase sequences and chilling cut scenes, but it offered intricate backstories that appealed to your pathos. Horror is a difficult genre to master, more often than not these games tend to overdo the gore or they elicit nothing but eye rolls and scoffs. Resident Evil 7, on the other hand, has perfectly constructed a game to keep you terrified until the end.
You start off the game in the shoes of a man named Ethan Winters as he searches for his wife Mia Winters who disappeared approximately three years ago. With a recent tip to her whereabouts, you travel to Dulvey, Louisiana to the Baker Farm. Here you meet what appears to be a gruesomely freakish family. The Baker family is reminiscent of the Sawyer family from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and will endlessly terrorize and torture you as you search for Mia. bakerThe first part of the game there is a massive sense of hopelessness. You wander about the house trying to avoid the seemingly immortal Jack and his equally as dangerous wife Marguerite. The game layout is impressive, the layout allows you to only see what is in front of you. Every corner you turn and every door you are forced to open gives you grave anxiety; exploring the Main House is legitimately scary. There is great detail that went into the house, and it is difficult to move on without exploring. Old pictures and letters are scattered throughout the houses giving you a sense of dread as you begin to wonder "What the hell happened here?".
Less spectacular are the various boss battles bestrewn throughout the course of the game. Immortal enemies tend to turn these battles into tedious affairs. These battles will have you using an unnecessary amount of the already scarce ammo you put time into scavenging, if not all of it. This definitely slows down the game’s pace but it also creates an overwhelming sense of catharsis when you finally take down Marguerite and Jack; victory is well deserved. marguerite-blogYou don't have to only worry about the Bakers, though. This game introduces molded humanoid creatures that will give you a run for your money. While these are the only "monsters" that the game produces, they do an excellent job preventing the molded from becoming monotonous. From the first molded you see to the last, you can't help but feel a sense of impending doom while walking down a narrow hallway. Molded can spawn from any location at any point in time during the game, and they can spawn in front of you or behind you. This unknown keeps you on your toes for the entire game, and prevents the molded from becoming overused. The encounters you have with the molded are very similar to the implacable enemies you would experience in SCP: Containment Breach and Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
One thing I was rather excited about for the Resident Evil 7 game was the puzzles. I love a good brainteaser just as much as the next person, but if this is the only reason you are purchasing the game, I suggest you look elsewhere. Puzzles are very scarce, and when you do stumble upon one it doesn't require that much effort. Shadow puzzles are a bit overused, and do not have to even be remotely accurate to activate a reward. Instructions for puzzles can be found on top of dressers and are not at all hard to access. The game does not offer much of a challenge, whereas previous Resident Evil games focused more on lateral thinking and experimentation.
While Resident Evil has already established itself a successful franchise, Resident Evil 7 almost feels like a fresh start. The franchise started as a zombie horror game, but lost its way with its action packed plot lines. While Resident Evil 7 can frustrate with repetitious boss battles and rudimentary puzzles, it redeems itself by bringing explosive combat, violent horror, and fierce chase scenes. This game brings life back to a franchise that was slowly losing its way. Resident Evil 7 is violent, suspenseful, and jammed-packed with anxiety; if this is the way the series is headed, you better believe I'll be its number one fan.