Well after months of everyone playing and replaying the demo for the new Residen Evil, it’s finally here. I got hands on with the game recently and I have to say, I loved what I saw. I was a bit skeptical from what I had seen of gameplay demos and trailers for the game, I was mainly put off by the change from 3rd to 1st person which I assumed was an attempt to cash in on the success of the PT demo (RIP Silent Hills) I was convinced this game started as something else entirely and they just decided to slap the Resident Evil name on it at the last minute. I was originally planning on skipping this instalment of the series which, in my opinion, had peaked at RE4 ( I love you Salazar!) but one of my friends picked it up so we poured some drinks and spent some time with the lovely Baker family.
The games protagonist is Ethan Winters who, after receiving a recording from his missing wife Mia, travels to a farmhouse in rural Louisiana. Obviously, shit goes sideways almost immediately as Ethan wanders the rooms and corridors of a seemingly abandoned decrepit and sprawling Louisiana property. I have to give it up for the level design in this game because after I spent awhile wandering around the hallways of the disgusting houses, I started feeling grimy and uncomfortable. AS you explore the house you can pick up VHS tapes and play them to find out what happened to other victims of the family. I thought this was a really cool addition to the main game, it gives you a peak into some backstory and anything you interact with in the VHS will carry over when you swap back to Ethans narrative. It also shows environments Ethan has yet to encounter, which gives you a bit of a leg up when you get to those areas. I thought it was a really neat storytelling device that I haven’t seen in any other horror games. In the mail game, you actually find the missing Mia pretty early on, but that’s really the start of the true horror. You soon find yourself trying to unlock the mystery of what happened to this family and caused them to become the monsters they are.
There are a few marked difference between this game and previous instalments in the series, along with the change from 3rd to 1st person view. You’re not playing as Leon, Chris, Barry, or any other skillful combatants, you’re just a civilian. As such, you run slower, aim worse and stumble your way through environments. This absolutely adds to your sense of helplessness in the scenario you find yourself thrown into and my heart was in my throat a few times as I ran away from enemies and I would be lying if I said I didn’t scream a few times when an enemy flung a door open or burst through a wall unexpectedly.
Despite the combat changes, this is a Resident Evil game through and through. Right down to the marked doors that need corresponding keys, the obtuse puzzles, the scattered files and photos, and it wouldn’t be a Resident Evil game without having to collect a handful of crests and a fistful of herbs. The game also includes its own variation on the Resident Evil staple attache case, along with a safe room and a number of collectibles. There is an interesting inclusion of antique coins that you find littered throughout that game that you can use to purchase health upgrades, stamina or better weapons.