I’ll only briefly touch the story. Even though I’m sure most of you have already played RE7 by now I wouldn’t want to give away any spoilers, just in case. The gist of the story is that a man named Ethan Winters receives a message from his wife Mia asking him to come to get her from a small town in Louisiana named Dulvey. Sure, nothing out of the ordinary, except for the fact that Mia was missing for three years and presumed dead. What’s that, you say? A bereaved man gets a surprise letter from his supposedly deceased wife asking him to come to a creepy, isolated place filled with horrific monsters and untold nightmares to see her again, and you think it sounds a lot like the premise of Silent Hill 2? Don’t be stupid, Silent Hill 2 has more fog. Moving on, then! So once Ethan gets there, he is promptly captured by the Bakers: an insane family of murderous hill-people with ill intentions. Alone and surrounded by evil, Ethan must find Mia and escape the plantation while avoiding the Bakers and all the other horrors that lurk in the darkness.
The combat is not quite like any of RE7’s predecessors. For the first time in a main entry of the series, the game takes place entirely in a first-person view. Ammo is scarce, enemies don’t go down easily, aiming is purposefully not as precise as it would be in a standard FPS and most of the game is made up of confined spaces; so don’t expect a Call of Duty-like experience. One of the most underappreciated features in RE7 is the ability to block. Blocking the attack of an enemy doesn’t completely negate the damage received, but it does reduce it a decent amount. It is absolutely vital that you get used to blocking, or else you’ll be burning through your healing items in no time. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Resident Evil game if you didn’t get have a knife of some kind at your disposal. The knife is still present, but it really is a last resort weapon, as it’s not very useful in combat. I mostly just used it to bust open crates to find items so I didn’t have to waste bullets. Using it against enemies on the higher difficulties almost always resulted in my grisly demise. There is also a minor stealth element in play here, although it isn’t that robust of a feature. At certain points of the game you’ll bump into one of the Bakers patrolling the premises, most of the time it’s the father, Jack. He can be put down, but not killed permanently. This is a waste of ammo though so it would be best for you to tread lightly. I found that hiding behind objects and in shadows didn’t help at all, he spots you too easily. The only way I found that I could consistently avoid him was to hide around hallway corners and behind closed doors. Luckily you can partially open doors to get a peek into the next room. The first time I bumped into Jack I was getting pretty aggravated because he kept catching me so quickly, but it got a lot better once I figured out the safest ways to avoid him.
So Resident Evil 7 has pretty much toned down the action and amped up the horror while changing up the standard viewpoints of the series in favor of a first-person one. The end result? Capcom has managed to pull off an abrupt about-face, successfully bringing the Resident Evil series right back to where it belongs: to the forefront of the survival horror genre. For me personally, I felt that the death and cancellation of the never-to-be Silent Hill game by the hands of Konami dealt an earth-shattering blow to survival horror games in general. The last couple of RE entries weren’t scary at all, so with Silent Hill doomed I felt in my heart that with two of the most important horror franchises defanged, the genre would eventually fall to the wayside and into obscurity. However, Resident Evil 7 has restored my faith in the series AND in Capcom, proving that the survival horror genre is still alive and screaming in the madhouse that Capcom built. Here’s to many more fights and frights in the foreseeable future.
Final Score: 10/10
+Horror at its finest
of weird textures