Resident Evil 7 Lantern demo
While at NYCC this year, Capcom invited me to check out an exclusive demo for their latest installment in their series, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. When I arrived at the Javits Center where NYCC was being held, it wasn’t long before I found their Biohazard booth. Inspired by the game, the Resident Evil NYCC Booth resembled a creepy old shack, similar to the one in the trailers and photos. I was soon escorted into a small room illuminated by the glow of a single TV screen. As I sat in a chair directly in front of the TV, I was told that I would soon have the opportunity to test out their new and exclusive demo for the Resident Evil game, called “Lantern.”
While several demos had been released to the public prior to my experience (the demo “Beginning Hour” was more to show the direction that the new game is headed), Lantern is the first demo being showcased that is directly from the Resident Evil 7 game. Before being told too much more, I was asked if I would like to experience it in VR or regular gameplay. Of course, I chose VR.
Now I have played most of the Resident Evil games in the series, with Resident Evil 1, 5, and 6 being my favorites. I have plenty of experience with the 3rd person, tag team, weapon upgrading gameplay that the series normally contained. However, Resident Evil 7 might as well be called Revival, because nearly everything about the original gameplay has changed. While in some cases that often spells out disaster for the franchise, I believe in this case Resident Evil 7 has the potential to make Horror Survival Games popular again. I was told that the game takes place sometime after the events of RE6, and that the characters I control in the demo are not from previous games.
With the PlayStation VR and soundproof headphones on, I found myself completely immersed within this virtual world. After completing a short tutorial to get used to the controls, I began to play through Lantern. In this demo, I played as an unknown girl, running and hiding through a broken down and creepy old home, avoiding a psychotic older woman who I could only assume was her mother. The demo took me several times to complete. I must admit I was crept out by the woman who stalked my character in the game and often ran out into her field of vision where she would attack me. This demo definitely required patience, which upped the creepy factor. You can practically hear your own heart beat as you hide behind old boxes, waiting for this woman to search leave into a different room.
The demo lasted maybe 15 minutes, but felt much longer than that. The demo was broken into two parts; the first being the girl escaping the older woman as previously mentioned and the second is much shorter and focuses on a male character. In this part of the demo, I was sat at a dinner table with several horrible and insane looking people, one of which was the older woman from the previous part. I could only assume this was some deranged family, similar to the one in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. At one point the father stands up and mutilates the arm of his adult son and attempts to force you to eat whatever it is that they had cooked. This scene was chilling.
After the demo, I had the opportunity to speak with the PR representative for the game. She explained to me that for now, they are being very secretive about the game’s details, but did assure me that this will be unlike any Resident Evil game I have played before. Having played the previous games in the franchise, I can fully agree with that statement. Resident Evil: Biohazard is different, and I personally believe it is this new gaming experience that will revive the Resident Evil franchise.