Experience true fear with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (review)

It’s been 7 months since Capcom announced Resident Evil 7: Biohazard at E3 2016, and during the presentation, the biggest reveal was the change to a first-person perspective. Another being that the game will be going back to its roots, in terms of its main focus on survival and horror. Resident Evil has always been considered the game that defined the survival-horror genre since 1996, so it’s good to hear that the scare factor has been brought back. The teaser demo gave us a good look at what to expect, but did Capcom deliver on the fear we felt from the first game? A lot of this game has some really defining moments that should be experienced first hand, so this will contain minor spoilers.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a huge step forward for the franchise. From the zombie action that RE5 and RE6 were known for, it does stay true to its roots. The main focus is solely on survival with very limited resources. As Ethan Winters, you begin his search for his missing wife, Mia, at what appears to be an abandoned house in Dulvey, Louisiana. The eeriness of Biohazard is shown early in broad daylight with boarded-up doors and windows, hanging dolls and carcasses, and the sealed interior of the home, keeping you from any source of light. At first, the house is completely abandoned, but once you find Mia, you begin to slowly unravel the deep, dark secrets buried inside. The rescue mission suddenly turns into survival, as you are trapped inside with the psychotic Baker family holding you hostage. The family themselves are far too gone to be considered just crazy. As you start your escape, you search everywhere for any clues that you can find that’ll lead you outside, and away from the madness that lurks inside.

Once you enter the house, it’s clearly survival from the start, and Capcom created an experience like no other. With limited resources available, there are times to just run and hide than to face the threat head on. Finding a gun or knife can only do so much. Shot after shot you find yourself scrambling for ammo or pushing your way through. But with the resources, you do find come choices that can mean survival or death. Do you focus on medicine or bullets? Bullets or fuel? Each decision affects what you can or can’t do once you have a threat in front of you, and not everything works evenly. The threats can either be the Molded, a bio-type creature, or the family themselves. And each member has their own way of putting you down, such as the father, Jack, who stalks around the house wielding a shovel or ax. Each time you encounter them, you’ll find yourself going through every resource you have until you can move on.

The Molded ramp up the danger, seeing as they can come out from anywhere. If there is mold on the walls, they can spawn from it. You can either defend yourself and run or try to kill them, but it’s not easy, even with heavy weaponry like a shotgun. These aren’t slow walking zombies; they can kill you with a few hits and can disappear and respawn in another room if you don’t kill them. The Bakers are a threat on their own, seemingly infected with some type of virus that gives them super strength while also driving them mad. You’ll mainly encounter the father, but the rest have their own encounter that’ll test your wits and fear. And it’s easy to get lost, as you’re running from each threat in the mansion that seemingly grows larger as you progress. And in their true Resident Evil fashion, there’s a locked door with a hidden key somewhere, and you’ll have to find a way to even get the key. Each puzzle is created to have you retrace your steps and encounter what had already made you scream.

The demo gave us a glimpse of fear, but nothing like the full game has to offer. Most horror games rely on jump scares to produce fear. Biohazard takes that method and defines what fear is again. Each encounter is designed to test your courage, and touch your deepest fears as you crawl your way through the mad house. With each door slammed, scratched wall, loud footstep, and banging windows, you soon realize that they are more than just there to give you chills. The whole environment is created around your will to survive and complete the game. Rush through and something will jump out and make you scream, even if it wasn’t meant to. And each time you face the Molded, or the Baker family, you get that chill down your spine, knowing what you’ve gone through and what you need to do to continue and it won’t be easy.

Final Reaction

It’s hard to find any faults with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Capcom only had one goal and it was to make you pee your pants. This is completely different from any Resident Evil game before it, and the main change was the perspective. That alone makes the game more engaging, as you get lost in the game and react with fear. You feel as if you are Ethan and you feel real danger with each encounter you come across. The story will have you fearing the night again. A lot of games give you goosebumps, but Biohazard makes you experience fear like you’ve never seen before. A truly mesmerizing experience, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard will remind you what fear truly is.

Rating: 5/5 Atoms

Resident Evil 7: Bioharazd is available now on PlayStation 4 with VR Support, XBOX One, and PC.

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