Gaming, as a story telling medium, has changed a lot since the original Resident Evil was released back in 1996. The series set the foundation that has defined the horror survival genre while having grown to become a staple of pop-culture. It has also undergone changes to be more appealing and sometimes it has not worked out as it abandoned the horror factor.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a new beginning while also a return to what has made the series an icon. This title is the byproduct of listing to the fans while also examining the current trends with the genre then incorporating that into what made the series great. The result is Capcom has created the most ground breaking horror survival since Resident Evil 4.
As noted in previous statements, this is neither a reboot or a spin-off but a continuation of the series.
Set four years after the events of Resident Evil 6, players take on the role of Ethan Winters who has come to Dulvey, Louisiana in search of his wife at an abandon plantation. He finds Mia locked in a basement but soon is fighting to survive when she goes berserk. After the confrontation, he is knocked out by Jack Baker and is now a prisoner of the family. It’s now a race for survival as Ethan must find Mia and escape this nightmare.
Without giving away any plot spoilers, this is a true Resident Evil experience at its core. The plantation setting gives the feeling that one has returned to Spencer Mansion while trying survive the evils of unchecked scientific progress. At the same time it brings to the story its own mark so that it doesn’t feel like Capcom was trying to pander to nostalgia.
Depending on the gamer, the story is either classic or is too dependent on the tropes of both the series and the slasher genre. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is able to utilize both tropes very articulately, there are a few rare moments that they are used in a cliche manner.
The gameplay is a blend of a new setup that has incorporated elements of the original games. Like the original series, players are put in vulnerable situation with little hope and resources. At the same time players are once again forced to juggle between the resource they have acquired and the limited storage space they have.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard has to also be one of the most riskiest titles that has been developed because of the First-Person gameplay. Capcom took a big risk in making this a First-Person title given its murky track record with past titles (who remembers Resident Evil: Survivor). This however is more of a byproduct of learning from other titles then incorporating those lessons into a Resident Evil story. The end result being one of the most terrifying games ever made since the Silent Hills demo.
It should be noted that the horror on the standard console is nothing compared to playing the game in VR. However one can get the most of the standard version by playing at night with the lights off (that is not a joke, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is frighting).
Finally it’s never a Resident Evil title without a plethora of unlockable content that adds to the games replay value. Also it should be noted that Capcom did not shoehorn another multiplayer feature into the game, this is strictly a single-player experience.
The success of Resident Evil and Zero HD along with the demand for a Resident Evil 2 remake has demonstrated that fans prefer a traditional horror survival experience. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a return to that traditional experience while also redefining the series once again. In the end this is the horror experience that fans have wanted the series to aim for.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a return to the series roots while setting the foundation for a new era for the genre. This is the horror survival that fans have always wanted as it will take players to an unforgettable nightmare.
Final Score: 9/10
Disclaimer: The game used for this review was purchased at GameStop.