Arriving a day late from Amazon (cheers Royal Mail) I’m delighted to finally have the new Resident Evil game. Now, I’ll be honest and state I have not played a RE game for years, with the Gamecube version of RE4 being the last title I played. I have no idea what the score is with story development since I last played, but what I had read about RE7 suggests this won’t matter. Excellent, so after a brief software update I was ready to step into the RE universe for the first time in over a decade.
Although now played from a first person perspective this still feels very much like a RE game, the graphics, although much improved, still have a similar style to previous titles. Making me feel right at home was the inventory system, from what I remember it doesn’t seem to of changed at all, items like the first aid kits, herbs and basic weapons are all here present and correct. In classic RE tradition, it was only after I had killed an early enemy with my handgun that I knew that ammunition would also be in short supply. Additionally, it still appears that passing through doors, like in the early games, is the chance for data loading to occur. Loads times thus far have been quick and have not effected gameplay.
BEWARE! STORY SPOILERS!
The games lead is a seemingly normal civilian called Ethan Winters, whose partner, Mia, has been missing for three years and presumed dead. So why has Ethan just received a message from Mia requesting he goes to find her in Louisiana? Upon arrival, Ethan discovers an abandoned farmhouse, which of course he will enter to investigate. Locked in the basement, Ethan finds a dishevelled Mia, who after being freed is desperate to escape the house before ‘Daddy’ finds them. Mia starts to panic, Ethan consoles her and lets her rest whilst he checks out the room next door, returning after hearing a scream, he finds Mia has gone. He has to find her! Deep into the house now, a frenzied Mia appears and attacks Ethan, after a short tussle she’s overpowered and falls to the floor with a fatal looking wound. A phone rings out in the corridor, Ethan answers, it’s a woman called Zoe who says that there is a way to escape the house via the attic. As Ethan climbs the ladder that leads out of the attic, Mia reappears, she has a demonic appearance and attacks with a chainsaw. Again, Ethan overpowers her and seemingly kills her, but there is no time to relax, Jack Baker, the family Patriarch, appears and knocks Ethan out, the last words he hears from ‘Daddy’… ‘welcome to the family son’
Ethan regains consciousness to find himself tied to a chair at a table, heaving with food. The Baker family are also present, there is Jack, his wife Marguerite , their son Lucas and a woman in a wheelchair, who I’m assuming is the Grandmother. Jack tries to force feed Ethan some of the questionable meat that is on the table. When Ethan refuses, Jack starts to torture him, only stopping when the phone starts ringing. All the family have left the room except the woman in the wheelchair, this is Ethan’s chance to escape. He manages to break free of the chair and sets about trying to get out of the house. Ethan finds himself on the wrong side of a locked exterior door. The other side of the door is a police officer, who is investigating a missing persons report, after a brief explanation of whats going on in the house, he oddly gives Ethan a pocket knife and tells him to get to the garage. In the garage, Ethan and police officer face off, only for Jack to appear and kill the officer in a ridiculously gratuitous way. In a very bizarre boss battle involving a car, you face off against Jack. In defeating Jack, it’s revealed that he and his family all have regenerative abilities, making them seemingly unstoppable. Ethan escapes down into the basement where he receives another phone call from Zoe, (who reveals herself as Jacks daughter) this time telling him he needs to get to the Main Hall.
I stopped playing at this point, with just over 2 hours of gameplay under my belt.
The games main strength is its clever use of sound, the house creaks, you can hear things moving off down corridors just out of sight. There is a constant sense of dread,you are on edge, peeking round corners with only your torchlight leading the way. Fortunately the game (so far) has not relied on cheap jump scares, although there was one where I nearly leapt 6 foot in the air! One thing I do find odd is that enemies are pretty easy to avoid, I’ve not waited to see if they even give up looking for you, but the chase slowed up so much that I could solve a couple of puzzles and then let the enemy spot me again to resume the chase. If I was ever caught then it was pretty easy to get a kill even with the pocket knife, I’m assuming the difficulty will ramp up considerably once I progress further. Something that has not been difficult so far have been the puzzles, they have been incredibly straight forward.
To summarise, two hours in and RE7 has been great fun! I’m intrigued about the Baker family and why they are like they are. A few odd acting moments aside this game been thoroughly engrossing.
I’ll do an update for each day I play RE7, with a final review once completed.