Resident Evil 7: biohazard (PlayStation 4)
The first thing I have to note is that I haven't played Resident Evil 6 at the time of this writing. All I know about that game is that it received very mixed reactions which ultimately led Capcom to turn their backs on action and return to survival horror. Resident Evil 7's subtitle already implies a fresh start, but it's not classic Resident Evil. There are no zombies and the tone doesn't mimic a horror B-movie either. It's quite a serious affair that isn't only disturbingly brutal in its early going, but outright disgusting. This in combination with the lackluster controls and a seemingly unkillable enemy made me question if I even want to continue playing. In hindsight, perhaps the controls weren't really that big of a problem, but rather the series of scripted encounters that made me wonder if I am doing things the right way.
Resident Evil 7 does get better after the initial couple of hours. The gameplay rules become fairer, the controls become bearable and the graphics are acceptable once you turn up the brightness notably above the recommended level and can see more than almost nothing in the darker areas. The game's difficulty also notably drops after leaving the main house, because the second major area isn't populated by many enemies. And once you get used to blocking attacks in tight situations, you also quickly start to build up reserves of healing items. Still, the movement speed of your characters is pathetic when you aren't going forward, so Resident Evil 7 might as well have fallen back on the classic shoot or move gameplay.
The story is creepy and features plenty of jump scares, but ultimately it remains quite bland. None of the good characters are particularly memorable. The same holds true for the soundtrack or even the whole game. Sure, the ninth installment of Resident Evil clicks after a mostly bad start, but it never accomplishes anything great. I suppose Resident Evil 6 was so terrible that things were mostly played safe in this reboot. There's a lot of shock value with the depiction of violence in the first couple of hours, but that dissipates eventually.
Resident Evil 7: biohazard is a rather short game. Unlike previous titles in the series that fell into this category, there aren't choices like playing with a different character or at least something like decisions in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis that would make additional playthroughs more worthwhile. There is Madhouse difficulty which changes up item and enemy locations, but the difficulty balance is so off. As mentioned before, it's really tough in the beginning and then eases up. I got the second ending on another playthrough on normal difficulty to become more familiar with the game's controls and mechanics, but by the time I moved on to Madhouse, I didn't really feel it anymore and left the game alone after getting killed a few times. Resident Evil 7 is a good survival horror game on its own, but it definitely doesn't live up to the quality of most of the classic entries in the series.
|Controls||10||The sensitivity needs to be increased because the default option
is too slow. Movement while aiming resembles a snail.
|Gameplay||Survival horror in first person. Manage your resources,
kill enemies and solve eyebrow-raising puzzles.
|Story||Ethan Winters travels to a desolated house in Louisiana
to find his wife Mia who disappeared three years ago.
|Single-player||Visit locations that have become staples of the genre.
The game gets better after a mixed start.
|Graphics||Looks great inside of buildings, but outside of them
the graphics engine is quite limited and doesn't impress.
|Sound||Sound effects and voice acting create an appropriate atmosphere,
but the music is lacking for a Resident Evil title.
|Value||The story can be comfortably finished under ten hours.
Madhouse difficulty rearranges item and enemy locations.
|Replay Value||An alternative ending invites another playthrough, but
the abundance of unskippable scripted events is annoying.
|Score||7||Resident Evil 7 is a reboot that isn't really a return to the
series' roots. It's different, mostly for the worse.