I came to tied to a table. The first thing I noticed was the smell before my actual surroundings hit me. Death, decay, rot. Then I saw them, the three of them. Skin grey and pulled taut against their bones, blue and black veins staining their hides. There were three, a family I think. They were laughing, exposing oddly perfect teeth (seriously Capcom, so close, next time not so perfect teeth on the inbred mutant family) and cruel intentions. On the table around me were pieces of churned and cut meat and fat of some kind, all of it looking rancid and alive.
It was at this point they tried to feed it to me, and never have a clamped my mouth tighter than in that moment. The matriarch of the family did NOT like this, and pretty soon, I was staring at a blade wielded by the old man. Before I could react I was watching it get jammed into me, slowly, as I faded to black.
This is when I knew Resident Evil 7 was not only the best horror game I ever played, but also was better than most horror films that have come out in last decade. But even in being that perfect, there are some aspects we loved about Resident Evil 7 and some we didn’t. This list will highlight a little of both (but make no mistake, this game is a high 9/10, easy). The gripes here are minor at best.
Our Resident Evil 7 Review
Almost Photo-Realistic Graphics
Is it just me or is RE7 one of the best looking games out there right now? There are moments when you are outside and you can practically feel the night air on your face. There are moments when you are squeezing through crawlspaces and the centipedes look and move so real you will get the heebie jeebies big time. We are talking very close to photo realism, people.
Outside of the teeth. Damn, why everyone’s teeth are so perfect if they are mutants is beyond me? But outside of that minor hiccup I will bring up again, the graphics in this game need to be seen in action to be believed.
RE7 Is A Proper Reboot
I will be honest with you. I thought I was done with the Resident Evil series after part 6. I HATED it with a passion. Felt like an Uncharted game (not a bad thing, just NOT what I want out of an RE game) and I didn’t think I was going to come back.
Then I saw the trailer for 7 and my jaw dropped. I didn’t care it looked more PT than Resident Evil, THAT is how you do a reboot of your series. Who knew moving from 3rd to 1st person would be such a great idea? No zombies, limited enemy types. It all sounds like a fucking failure waiting to happen, but it creates a perfect storm of perfection.
Not only is the RE franchise fresh again, it is the freshest it has been since 4 and we all know how fucking fresh that was, real talk.
Atmosphere and Tension
I will say it now and hope future players of this game believe me. The Bakers very much feel like real people who genuinely want to hurt you. There are very few moments in the game when you feel like you can stop to catch your breath or be safe. This game robs you of that feeling and leaves you constantly on edge, which is just what good horror game or movie SHOULD do.
Oh, and just like old RE games, you best hoard that ammo, kiddo. It is very rare and every shot will count. Hell, I eventually turned to using my knife on the molded and all I can tell you is, wait for a ten-minute parry battle with something that looks like you shit it out.
Now THAT is scary shit, pun intended.
Old School RE Puzzles
Why the fuck do I need to twist a statue to make the shadow look like a man with an axe? I don’t give a fuck, this is classic RE. Why would someone make a door that requires three animal plaques to be placed into it to open? No fucking idea, but also do not care, classic RE baby.
And this goes for all the traps around the house (you WILL be impaled by a huge section of swinging pipes in this game, make no mistakes, and it is GREAT). It just actually feels like the weird, convoluted RE puzzles from the past. Which, for this old-school Re fan is just what I needed to make this new game still feel like a TRUE Resident Evil game.
More Horror, Less Action (like it should be)
Hahahaha, fuck you Resident Evil 6. You can go suck a bag of dicks, and not the gummi kind. What else do I even need to say here? Gone are the epic set pieces of you outrunning a crashing plane (in a horror game? Yes, they’v done it before) replaced by genuine terror and lots of quiet, unbearable tension. I am sorry but hanging off a helicopter with a rocket launcher fighting a giant mutant also hanging off a helicopter is not a horror game, that is an action game no matter how scary the other guy looks.
Now running from a guy who has a chainsaw while he is making quips about how he is gonna chop you into little itty bits. Now THAT is horror, and that is what we get here.
Speaking of horror…..
It is ACTUALLY Scary (WITHOUT relying solely on jump scares like most current horror “games)
The problem I have with the slew of recent horror games is that they rely ONLY on jump scares. ANY horror fan worth their salt can tell you, jump scares are cheap devices used by lazy directors to get a reaction from an otherwise uninterested crowd. While Outlast and games of that ilk rely on them, RE7 probably uses about 5 jump scares, tops, and uses them very effectively.
Put it this way. You think the dogs jumping through the window got you in part 1, wait until Pops walks through the drywall with a giant hammer inches from your face. Now that jars you, big time.
BUT (and there is always a but)….
They do NOT overuse it and rely on genuine tension way more, which works to great advantage. The scares here are often real and not cheap jump scares, which speaks to this game’s greatness.
Now for the not-so-great….
Well, this is the ONE spot where the game clearly took a hit. While the end result of having one insane family trying to kill you is really awesome and tense, Resident Evil games have always been known for their many, varied, and horrifying creations and part 7 does NOT live up to that.
Outside of the Bakers and the molded (yes, creatures that seem to spawn out of mold), there are NO other enemies. While it sells the claustrophobia, it just never gave me that ONE enemy that REALLY unnerved me, which is a shame for a series known for delivering just that. Ma Baker was pretty terrifying, but I guess I just wanted a few more.
Small complaint for great game, though.
Story (or Clear Lack Thereof)
Resident Evil 7 will scare you. You will KNOW the Bakers are BAD people and they want you dead. You see some photos that call back to other games but really, in the end, if you were to ask what the actual game was about or how it FULLY tied to the RE universe we know and love, you might get some tilted heads and a lot of different answers.
Hell, I beat it and outside of being trapped in a house with a fucked up mutant demon family (and some things I won’t spoil for you) even I don’t know what to say other than avoid the bakers and the creepy raw meat monsters that spawn out of the gunk around the house.
Oh yeah, and fuck the wasps. That part sucked.
LOT of Backtracking (and Lack of Different Environments)
I KNOW this is a huge part of Resident Evil games (especially older games) but it feels oddly tougher to do in FPS. The house environment is so slimy and similar looking throughout, that if it weren’t for tells (like doors covered in scorpions) you would find yourself running circles in this game and not even knowing it.
Also, should be a mini-map in corner of screen and not in pause menu. When I am backtracking to find a snake key it ROYALLY sucks having to pause every ten seconds to know I am going in the right direction. I realize I sound like a whiny gamer bitch. Luckily, I get paid to sound like a whiny gamer bitch.
Last Hour or So Fizzled Out…
While the whole game will have your heart pounding and your curiosity peaked about what is coming next, the last hour or so (the ending section) of the game does not live up to the hype created by the stellar first half. Which is a real shame considering the game was an attack on all senses and then just kind of fizzles out.
Not the best way to conclude one of the best entries in the series so far, but if this is what we have to expect from Resident Evil games over the next decade or so, count me in. Resident Evil 7 redefines the survival horror genre with brand new ideas while retaining some of the charms of the original games, which we ALL thought impossible at this point. Kudos to Capcom and thanks for bringing one of our favorite series back from the dead.
How, how ironic is that to end on?