Resident Evil is back! And this one is going to make up for shit show that was Resident Evil 6. I hope so, anyway. With a new engine and a gameplay overhaul, Capcom are returning to get the franchise back on track. Although taking place in the Resident Evil universe, the location and the cast are new and it won’t feature anyone from previous games.
So, what is Resident Evil 7 about? What we know so far is that you will be in the shoes of Ethan Winters, who finds himself in a dilapidated run-down house in search of his missing wife Mia. Of course, the house isn’t uninhabited, and still occupies the Baker family, who are just lovely folk. Of course, I’m lying, and they’re awful. They appear to want to keep Ethan around, but they seem to enjoy torturing him. The Baker family are there to make Ethan’s life, unbelievably tough and possibly even short.
And that’s it for the plot. Capcom are intentionally giving very little away in regards to the plot, which makes sense. If you know too much going into a game, the tension has depleted a significant amount. The aim is to find out what’s going on at the same time as Ethan, to really make you experience the game as if you were there. The first playable demo wasn’t from the finished game, so as not to give too much away. These demos were purely there to give us a sample of the gameplay, environment and first person viewpoint.
This is looking to be a front runner to bring the horror genre up a few notches. With well-known first person survival horror Outlast getting a sequel, which is also being released next year, the upgraded game mechanics may make Resident Evil 7 too similar to its rival. Outlast is known for its night vision camera and battery hoarding, keeping stress levels high as you try to best manoeuvre your way through the dark, hide from enemies all the while, keeping an eye on your battery life. Resident Evil 7 looks like it will have enough of its familiar features to it to make it feel like a Resident Evil game, despite its new look.
Resident Evil 7 is “returning” to the roots of the franchise, but what are these roots? What makes a Resident Evil game? Throughout the years, it has grown, warped and explored new ideas since its original release back in 1996. Not always for the better. So, what elements can we expect to see that will make this feel like a Resident Evil game?
Resident Evil always aimed to alienate and trap a player, to create a feeling of claustrophobia and impending doom. Resident Evil 7 is returning to one specific location for you to explore, like the good old Spencer Mansion. Item management will be vital, and of course you will manually have to access specific items to use them instead of automatically using it at the correct time. No hand holding here! If you have a key, you gotta find the door yourself. This leads to the next Resident Evil calling card; puzzles! Exploration is going to be the best way to survive as you make your way through the Baker household, to find key items and better weapons.
All the while a member of the family could be looking for you and patrolling nearby. Possibly a family member that you shot recently, but instead of dying like a considerate human being, they just get pissed off. Nothing screams Resident Evil like puzzles being solved under pants wetting circumstances. Don’t worry though, as the safe rooms exist! You know the ones, where you could save your progress and feel a temporary moment of relaxation.
Although you can acquire an arsenal of weapons, they won’t do much good against the Baker family. Unlike previous Resident Evil games where you could mow down enemies, guns aren’t always going to work the way you want. Weapons are can kill some, and slow down others, so you it’s vital that you keep track of your ammo.
For thrill seekers who want that extra element of fear, Resident Evil 7 will be compatible with PlayStation VR. For those of you who have wanted to experience being trapped in a house with insane people with a violent disposition, this is your chance.
From the most recent gameplay demo, it looks Capcom have done a terrific job at reigniting the source of unease that was so prominent in the original ’96 game. This was partially due to the set camera angles, the clunky tank controls and the door loading screen. Of course, that style won’t hold up with standards today, which is why it may not look like a tradition Resident Evil game. The first person point of view seems to be the most effective way to limit your view and movement. Combat shown in the new gameplay demo follows the traditional formula by allowing minimal movement. It’s a small upgrade to being completely stationary, now we can shoot while backing away incredibly slowly. So, there’s that to look forward to!
Only time will tell if Capcom successfully retained the franchises identity. From what I’ve seen it looks like they have kept a traditional yet upgraded balance. Otherwise, it’s just a generic horror game.
Resident Evil 7 is aimed for release 27/01/17 on PlayStation 4, XBox One, and PC.
And of course, it is also compatible with PlayStation VR.