Grogged Up Gaming – Resident Evil 7

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.

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and what a lovely bunch they are!

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.

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Mondays, am I right?

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.

One difference from previous games in the series seems to be the inclusion of randomly generated enemies, as opposed to the placed enemies in previous game. I played the game with a friend and as I went through levels he had previously completed, my experience was completely different. I had three enemy encounters in the same section of game where he had none.
Some enemy types had echoes of previous RE villains with the Molded, who were a similar design to the leech monsters from Resident Evil 0, but the inclusion of the insane, murderous Baker family was what made the game. The father Jack stalks you with glee through hallways and rooms. You can flee and attempt to hide because he doesn’t take chase, he just sort of meanders over to you with a giant weapon in hand. Jacks wife, Marguerite Baker has a decidedly different reaction when she encounters you in her house. She screams obscenities while running full tilt at you. It’s best to hide and stay quiet when you see her lantern light and swarm of bugs coming your way, though eventually you have to face her, and it isn’t pretty. Their son Lucas is also a treat, but unlike his parents he uses sadistic puzzles to terrorize you.  but out of all these wonderful folk, my most feared family member is the seemingly comatose woman that somehow ends up everywhere you are, moving from room to room and hallway to hallway, always where you need slowly sneak past her while her head tracks your every move.
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She unfortunately doesn’t hand out hard candies.

The game itself is beautiful, the game does a great job of lighting what you need to see, and sometimes not even that. The score is fantastic, and nothing is sweeter to my ears than the safe room music.  The characters and various fluids that are expelled from them all look great. The atmosphere alone is scary enough to keep you on your toes even if you’re sure theres no enemies around. But you’re never sure.
Despite its new look, Resident Evil 7 is definitely a must play for any horror game fan. It’s definitely a return to the horror game basics we all love and have been missing in recent years. The only negative thing I have to say about the game is the length. It seems like this game could be finished within a few hours, but there are enough collectibles, hidden treasures and unlockables to keep you coming back.  I’ve screamed and sweated my way through this game and I’ve been having a blast doing it.
Resident Evil 7 is available for Xbox One, PC, Playstation 4 and, if you have huge brass balls, Playstation VR.

-Rigby (@Rigbot)

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