A couple of hours into the brand new installment of the Resident Evil series, I was really enjoying myself. Cautiously peeking round corners, reserving ammo and occasionally jumping six-foot in the air whilst trying to get my nerves back under control. This was great fun…would the next gaming session bring the same rewards?
BEWARE! STORY SPOILERS!
As Ethans investigation continues, Zoe provides more information, first, Mia is still alive! Problem is, she has the same infection as the Bakers. Secondly, Zoe wants to escape from the Bakers clutches, but before they can leave they need to find a cure. This comes in the form of a special serum, the ingredients for which are back in the house, and here lies the next part of Ethans story. Back in the house, Ethan rediscovers, and manages to evade Jack, who is back and looking pissed off! Continued exploration reveals plenty of puzzles and items for his inventory. Deeper into the house now and finding himself in a morgue (every house should have one!), Ethan spots the last dogs head puzzle piece hanging from chains. Obviously a trap, Ethan grabs the head only for Jack to reappear behind him and kick him down to the level below. Body bags are hanging from the ceiling, Jack jumps down to eventually pull out a giant chainsaw which opens like scissors. he attacks Ethan with great ferocity. Fortunately there is another, smaller, standard chainsaw available for Ethan to grab. And so begins a chainsaw battle that should have excited, but in reality was somewhat annoying as it mostly relied on button mashing. Eventually, you realise that the regenerative effects are much quicker on Jacks flesh wounds, lunging with the chainsaw and causing deep tissue damage is now the way to go! This is wonderfully gory and resulted in an amusing pay off where just Jacks lower body was, albeit briefly, walking about, the rest of him a bloody pulp. Finally, with all three of the puzzle pieces in his possession, Ethan returns to the Main Hall and unlocks the door to go out into the yard.
In the yard is a trailer, from here new instructions are issued, two new items are to be discovered. Back inside the house, more investigations and puzzle solving bring you into contact with Marguerite. the reasonably fast paced encounters you had with Jack are now gone, Marguerite offers a stealth based experience. Ethan has to hide a lot and keep out of the light of her lantern. If spotted, Marguerite sends forth a swarm of insects that are a real pain to deal with. Fortunately a make shift flame thrower is very useful for dealing with these bugs. Ethan eventually finds himself in the greenhouse, here Marguerite appears but this time she has mutated, she moves very much like a spider, her arms elongated with growths all over her body. This is a long battle, with lots of different areas for attacks to spring from. Ethan eventually wins through with Marguerite turning to dust leaving her lantern behind. This lantern acts as a puzzle piece to unlock another door that brings you into a very spooky childs bedroom. Investigating the room Ethan discovers an altar, the first of the required items is also here. As you go to leave, another phone call arrives, again it’s Zoe saying they should meet back at the trailer.
Arriving at the trailer triggers another phone call, but not Zoe as expected, it’s Lucas, the Bakers son, he has captured both Mia and Zoe, and if Ethan want to see either of them alive he must find two key cards to gain access to where they are. Again, Ethan heads off into the house to find them.
I stopped playing just after this point. I actually found both the key cards and will be ready to move on and see if I can rescue Mia and Zoe.
Now I’m into the meat of the game, I’m starting to see negatives and positives and feel in more of a place to comment.
The most obvious thing for me is that the game, although remaining fairly tense, has lost a lot of what made it originally scary. This game is starting to feel quite different to the opening two hours I played yesterday. The building tension and dread has now been replaced with an episodic and reasonably scare free experience. Minimal interaction with enemies means I am running about a gorgeous looking, spooky house, with no real sense of jeopardy. The fact you can run away from enemies so easily has made them something to not be fearful of. Any time I have died, it’s been mostly down to an error on my part (running into a corner) and not being outplayed by the enemy.
To summarise, I’m roughly 5 hours in and RE7 is still great fun! But it’s not now matching the expectations set from the first couple of hours gameplay. The story is keeping my interest, but that is now more to see how they are going to tie this all into the RE universe than anything else. The game has turned into a running from A to B, solving some very easy puzzles and then moving on. There were also a few moments of clipping and characters getting stuck in doors, but nothing game breaking.
There will be more updates as I progress further into the game, with a final review once completed.