For the past several years, the Resident Evil franchise has been running away from its survival horror roots like a scream queen in a slasher flick. The games became increasingly action-obsessed to the point of absurdity. That changes with Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, a razor-sharp shift in direction that does away with Call of Duty-style set pieces, shrinks down the setting and takes things back to the old feel of the series. Part Silent Hill, part walking sim and all OG Resident Evil, this is the game fans have been clamoring for.
Games: Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, PC
Release Date: January 24
Capcom has been angling toward this game since releasing well-received remakes of the original title — set entirely in a haunted mansion — as well as the old-school entries Resident Evil Zero and Resident Evil 4. Once again, you find yourself in a creaky, run-down home, desperately looking for your lost wife. Resources are limited, and you’ll only survive if you manage to learn to avoid and evade your enemies. Much of the game is a battle with yourself, working under pressure to solve environmental puzzles while piecing together clues to advance to the next room. Gone are the notorious failures of the original games, such as tank-like controls or laborious backtracking.
Even though so much of what makes the sequel appealing is old in nature, it’s the new-for-the-series shift to first-person perspective that makes it feel fresh and new. The tendency of developers to mess with your mind by planting creepy visuals at the edge of your peripheral vision throws you into a state of constant paranoia, always worried about what’s lurking in the hidden recesses of whatever room you’re in. Lose your composure and it’s easy to fall into a spiral of panic that finds you making increasingly hapless efforts to save yourself. This is the sort of game that has you shaking one minute and laughing at yourself the next.
Both Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game pack stunningly sharp visuals. The liberal use of shadows and lighting — along with the ever-cramped quarters — allow developers to cheat a little, cramming an incredible amount of lifelike detail into the backgrounds, objects and creatures. Those who pick up the PS4 game will get a little something extra, including early access to DLC and a mode geared toward the PlayStation VR add-on. The PS4 version also packs slightly better visuals than that of the basic Xbox One, but the difference is negligible to the point that you can’t go wrong with either version of the game. Of course, those who rock a high-end gaming PC will get the best performance, followed closely by the souped-up PS4 Pro and Xbox One S.
If you happen to be one of the sad, bitter Resident Evil fans chased away by the ludicrous developments of the 5th and 6th numbered games in the series, the latest entry is the one to bring you back into the fold. Although it’s packed with as many oh-hell-no thrills as any game in the franchise, its most haunting moments come when things slow down, and the claustrophobic dread of being in over your head and being funneled toward certain doom takes over. This is a game for true horror geeks to lose themselves in, dimming the lights, strapping on some headphones and savoring every creaky board, muffled scream and dripping faucet. This is the sort of game that lingers in your nightmares.
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard Reviews Around The Web:
“It masterfully blends Eastern and Western horror sensibilities into a truly terrifying package that also harkens back to the series’ root.” –EGM
“Fans of action-angled survival horror like Dead Space or Dying Light may balk at the game’s deliberately poky controls and too easily grasped opponents.” –Time
“Its darkest and most disgusting iteration.” –3DJuegos
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard Screenshots
The publisher provided a review copy.
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