Resident Evil 7 biohazard is the reinvention that the long-running series needed. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Resident Evil 4’s move into action horror territory, with players blasting away at fast moving enemies with tons of ammo, but in transitioning into that gameplay focus, it also lost the original sense of lurking fear, vulnerability and impending doom that made it original so long ago. Resident Evil 7 biohazard is ultimately a return to form for the series, channeling modern trends in horror while bringing back the survival horror gameplay that made it great in the first place.
Resident Evil 7 biohazard
Developed and published by Capcom
Available on the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Reviewed on the PS4.
*Review code provided by Capcom
In Resident Evil 7 biohazard, players step into the shoes of Ethan Winters, who upon receiving a video recording from his wife Mia – who’s been missing for three years, travels to the fictional town of Dulvey, Louisiana in order to find her. The address however leads to the infamous Dulvey Haunted house, and upon searching the decrepit guest house, he finds out that evil still lurks within its halls. Soon enough, Ethan has to fight for his life and escape the horror within.
While the Resident Evil series has been known for crazy and convoluted plots, Resident Evil 7 biohazard does a solid job at crafting an entertaining tale that features plenty of scares, thrilling surprises and an engaging cast of characters. The Baker family is one of the best creations in the series so far, and having them hunt you down as you seek to escape and find Mia is truly terrifying stuff. The plot does lose itself in the latter half with some interesting choices, but overall, it’s an excellent tale that both newcomers and fans will enjoy.
Of course, visuals matter here as well, and Resident Evil 7 biohazard also delivers in that regard. The switch to a first-person perspective is a brilliant idea, as it really does a fantastic job at putting players right in the action and creating a strong sense of fear as they explore the immensely creepy Baker house and its haunting surroundings. The change to first person also adds to the overall dread, as the player’s field of view is now restricted due to the perspective, so players won’t be able to see if enemies are sneaking up behind them or what lurks around the corner without turning first, which is something that other first-person horror games have employed to devastating effect. Kudos to the developers for making a smart choice here. Then there’s all the other details, like excellent and realistic environments that’ll have you holding your breath as you explore, incredibly detailed and expressive character models that’ll freak you out, and horrible creatures that remain true to the series’ catalog of creative monsters. It’s a beautiful game.
When it comes to the gameplay, Resident Evil 7 biohazard plays similarly to the first entries of the series, with players exploring and backtracking through maze-like environments searching for keys and other tools to move on, open doors and proceed to the next location. Players can use weapons to keep enemies as bay, such as a knife, as well as use a couple of firearms, but ammunition is scarce. Players also have limited inventory space, so they’ll have to juggle with items by placing them in storage boxes. The controls are simple and easy to get a hang of, and combat feels good.
While players explore the dilapidated Baker house and its surroundings, they’ll be stalked by the Bakers themselves, who are ruthless and pretty much immortal beings that deal tons of damage and will pursue the player if they see Ethan. Players can fend them off temporarily using weapons, but after being knocked out they will rise after a while and continue their patrolling, taunting the player and chasing them until their line of sight is broken. It’s pretty terrifying being chased by these guys, and it perfectly captures the survival horror element that the series is known for. Running away is usually the best option, as it will conserve ammo and resources.
Another foe players will face off against are the Molded, and these guys are more commonplace though no less terrifying. These black goo monstrosities can be killed but often show up in numbers, which require players to be careful as they can take quite a few bullets (unless shot in the head, which is always the best option). They play the role of zombies here, and players can either bypass them or engage in order to move on.
The game also features boss battles, which mix up the gameplay as players get close and personal with the Bakers. These challenging encounters are occasionally difficult, as they require players to dodge attacks and respond in kind, but they are also pretty fun are some of the most creative encounters that the series has offered so far. They can be punishing at first, but they’re also quite entertaining.
While the first half of the game is about surviving pursuing horrors and hiding from them while solving puzzles and opening doors, the latter half of the game becomes more action-oriented as players will get access to stronger weapons that will give players a standing chance against the Molded and other threats. The availability of powerful weaponry reduces the fear factor of the game during the last parts of the game, but it still remains a fun and occasionally scary experience as players race to finish the game.
There’s quite a bit of replay value in Resident Evil 7 biohazard too, as players will be able to unlock new weapons if they complete certain criteria, as well as additional difficulty modes that make the experience more akin to early Resident Evil games with even less resources and limited save states. Then there’s also incoming DLC – both of the free and paid variety – to expand on the experience, as well as leaderboards for those looking to speed run through the game.
When it comes down to it, Resident Evil 7 biohazard is an excellent entry in the series and the breath of fresh air fans needed. The return to its survival horror roots and the first-person perspective is a welcome change, and the Baker family make for some of the best antagonists in the series so far. While it does lose some focus in the latter half, it’s an excellent game that satisfies with its solid gameplay and excellent story. If you love horror, you should definitively give Resident Evil 7 biohazard a chance.