So, let’s talk about a complete WTF OMG BBQ game. It takes a lot to scare me nowadays due to my desensitization to horror games. Sure, some give me the spooks, but normally chalk it up to “good game, could have been scarier in certain ways”. I made the decision to buy Resident Evil VII because there was a lot of good hype being said and I had played the demos (which gave me multiple heart attacks). It was a game I was not expecting.
Let’s talk about the Bakers, a nice family from Dulvey, Louisiana that went missing for a period of three years until their presence was discovered by Ethan Winters (the protagonist) after he received a desperate message from his wife, Mia, asking him to find her at the Bakers farm. Ethan arrives in the middle of a swampy nowhere only to find a locked gate and an abandoned van. As he explores the wilderness around him, he finds the guest house and makes his way inside…
Ethan discovers a video tape of the crew who came to investigate the house which gives him the ultimate clue in moving forward into this house of horrors. It begins with him finding a locked-up Mia who has difficulty remembering what has happened and not realizing she has been missing for three years. There is something wrong with her, but Ethan doesn’t know until she disappears…then reappears in a possessed state. After he sticks an axe in her neck, he answers the phone and talks to another woman then returns to find Mia gone and streaks of blood leading you out. Ethan lowers the stairs, then gets attacked by an angry Mia, who stabs his hand into a wall with a screw driver then proceeds to cut the other off with a chainsaw and then disappear. Ethan goes into the attic and is confronted with Mia one last time, whom he takes down. Ethan gazes at her then hears a shuffle. Ethan is turned around and greeted, “Welcome to the family son” then knocked out. When Ethan comes to and is tied to a chair to enjoy dinner with the Bakers-Jack, Marguerite, Lucas, and an unnamed old lady in a wheel chair (I call her Nana).
As you progress through the game, you are presented with many mysteries. One of the biggest mysteries you encounter is who is Eveline, the mysterious force behind this supposed insanity? You come across many clues that come in the form of pictures, children’s drawings, and newspaper clippings. You also encounter enemies known as the Molded that appear out of black piles of goo you find in the environment which adds to the mystery on what is going on at the Baker farm. When it comes to Marguerite though, she is the bug queen and sends wasps and spiders at you when you invade her space. The bosses have a combination Silent Hill and classic Resident Evil feel in that it starts out freaky due to lighting and environment and then gets more and more B.O.W. status as you begin to learn more of what really happened to the family and what is causing the Mold to grow.
Something that is unique to this game is the first-person perspective that puts you more into the role of the character. The camera holds on in a fixed manner and requires you to turn and face whatever is near you and greatly increases the level of suspense (and fear). Something that fans of Resident Evil have asked for is for the series to return to its true survival horror roots and, at least in my opinion, that is what was delivered. The puzzle elements and doors held that classic feel of having to find strange artifacts to unlock and move forward, there are safe rooms that hold the classic green chest for storage, inventory space is limited, and there is even the shotgun puzzle (which is dangerous in its own way).
This is the most terrifying game that I have played in a while, and frankly am a bit obsessed with it at the moment. The adrenaline rush adds to the experience and the challenge (it’s hard to unlock a door when something is chasing you!) and that combined with the flat out screaming has made this game memorable. Resident Evil VII is available on Playstation 4, Playstation VR, Xbox One, and Steam for $59.99. DLC is available on PS4 right now for $9.99 and will be available on Xbox and Steam on the 21st.
Review by Meghan Rodriguez (Twitter: @collins_m81)