Resident Evil 7: Biohazard review

alex9234’s Sunday Review – Halloween Special 2019

(Review of the Xbox One version)

Well, it’s time for yet another game review. And it’s a rather recent one as well.

Anyway, the game I’m going to review is from a series that we’ve all heard of before. Yep, I have decided to try out the most recent installment in this popular Capcom franchise. Today, we’re looking at Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, which came out on the PS4 and Xbox One in 2017. Is it any good? Well, let’s find out.

The Plot

Biohazard takes place 5 years after the events of Resident Evil 6, and is set in Louisiana. The game follows a new protagonist, Ethan Winters, who drives to the swamp town of Dulvey, to find his wife, Mia Winters, who had been missing for three years. He finds Mia in the basement of a supposedly abandoned house. Just as the two of them are about to escape, Mia is possessed by an unknown force, becomes violent, and Ethan is forced to kill her. He then gets a call from a woman named Zoe Baker, who offers help, but then he is attacked by a revived Mia, however, Ethan “kills” her again. Ethan is then knocked out by Jack, the patriarch of the Baker family. Ethan is then tortured by the other members of the Baker family – Lucas, who is Jack’s son, and Marguerite, Jack’s wife. Ethan manages to escape, but he is constantly confronted by Jack, who has shown that he has the ability to heal many fatal wounds, such as head shots, severe burns, and total decapitation. Zoe then manages to contact Ethan again, and reveals to him that she, Mia and the rest of her family have been infected with a mysterious ailment, and must be cured with a special serum…

The Gameplay

RE7 is the first game in the main series to be set in first-person. Though it controls like your typical FPS like Call of Duty, the game is in no way like CoD. RE7 plays very much like any old-school Resident Evil game. It also adapts the old Metroidvania gameplay style of the older RE games, with many forks in the road, save points, and a map system. There are also some minor stealth elements as well, such as crouching to hide behind small objects and make less noise, and you’ll spend certain sections of the game trying to avoid Jack and Marguerite. Yep, this game takes a page from RE3’s playbook. Like Nemesis, if you engage either Jack or Marguerite in combat, you can only neutralize them temporarily until their respective boss battles.

Controls are rather simple. You can dash by pushing down on the upper control stick, you aim with LT and you fire with RT. To reload, you hold LT and press X.

To open up your inventory, press Y. And like in the old-school RE games, it’s a limited inventory, so you need to decide what you want to take with you. Regular items such as ammo and health items take up one slot, weapons like the Shotgun, Flamethrower, and .44 Magnum Automatic, take up two slots in your inventory. However, your inventory space does increase. You can do this by acquiring backpacks, and there are only two throughout the entire game. RE7 brings back the Item Boxes, which are available at most save points. The Item Boxes have unlimited space, and you can store excess items there.

There are Green Herbs and First Aid Med bottles that you can use to recover health. To make a First Aid Med bottle, you must combine a Green Herb with Chem Fluid, which you can find in most areas. Using a Strong Chem Fluid will make a Strong First Aid Med. Combining either type of Chem Fluid with Gunpowder will create either regular or Enhanced handgun ammo. You can also use either type of Chem Fluid with Solid Fuel blocks to create more Burner fuel for the Flamethrower or Flame Rounds for the Grenade Launcher. There is no way to create any ammo for the .44 Magnum.

Like RE4, there is an in-game currency. Throughout the game, you’ll be picking up Antique Coins, which you can use to unlock certain items that will aid you in your quest, such as the .44 Magnum, Steroids (which increase your max health), and a Stabilizer (which decreases reloading time).

Though there are many in-game documents that you can track down, new to this game are the VHS tapes, which are interactive in-game files. These are optional, but offer a much better understanding of the story, in addition to showing you areas yet to be discovered, as well as solutions to various puzzles. But unlike files, VHS tapes allow the player control of the character recording the film.

Another new addition is the Phone. This can be discovered in various areas of the game, and it is used to receive calls from Mia, who provides Ethan with tips and details regarding the serum and what have you.

The Characters

Ethan Winters – Age: 33 – Ethan is the main protagonist of RE7. You control him from a first person perspective, and you are not able to see his face for pretty much the entire game. After receiving an email from his wife Mia, who had been missing for three years, he drives down to Louisiana to go rescue her.

Mia Winters – Age: 32 – Mia is Ethan’s wife. After taking on a babysitting job 3 years ago, she vanished without a trace until she sent an email to Ethan – an email that she claims was never sent by her. Ethan discovers that she had been infected by a mysterious ailment, and tries to kill him twice, but is put down both times. She can only be cured by a special serum that requires certain ingredients.

Zoe Baker – Age: 23 – Zoe is the daughter of the Baker family, who has been infected with the same ailment as Mia. She talks with Ethan over the various phones that he comes across throughout the game, and tells him about the serum, which can cure both her and Mia. Like Mia, Zoe is also on the run from the infected members of the Baker family, and the two of them work together to try and escape the Baker property.

My Thoughts

After the disappointment that was RE6, I had little faith in the franchise going forward. After hearing that this game was developed by some of the people who worked on Revelations for the 3DS, I decided to try it out, so I got it for a friend of mine for his birthday. And I was quite surprised. This game is, well, not too bad. The controls are great, the story is solid, and the characters are decent, despite the fact that you don’t know too much about these newcomers to the series. It plays very much like an old school Resident Evil. You are forced to conserve resources, the Metroidvania gameplay works very well for a modern RE game, and it’s scary. Literally. I’d say it’s even scarier than the GameCube entries. Though some of these are jump scares, they are all well implemented. Plus, the stealth segments are scary as hell too and had me at the edge of my seat. Going first-person has also worked out very well, and I’d like to see another RE game like this. It’s also a lot less linear than previous entries (thank god!). This is what Resident Evil is supposed to be like, but, there are issues. Some characters, especially Mia, can be overdramatic at times. The controls can be clunky at times, especially when you’re trying to turn around. Another downer is that there isn’t a radar system, like in Metal Gear, to detect enemies. Something like that could have helped with the stealth sections where you’re trying to avoid Jack and Marguerite. Also, the game isn’t all that challenging, and could have been at bit harder.

But overall, Resident Evil 7 is not a bad game. This is by far the best game in the series since RE4, and though it’s not perfect, it’s a step in the right direction.

My score: 8.25/10

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resident_Evil_7%3A_Biohazard

http://residentevil.wikia.com/wiki/Resident_Evil_7:_Biohazard

Published by alex9234

A skeptical game writer who doesn't believe the gaming press.

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