By Ashley Ring / February 13th, 2017
|Title||Resident Evil 7 : Biohazard|
|Release Date||January 24 2017|
|Platform||Playstation 4, PC, Xbox One|
Resident Evil is a series that I’ve been a big fan of since I was introduced to it by a friend back in 2001. Over several months, I gained a real appreciation for the genre. The way survival horror games presented their atmosphere with detailed backgrounds and cinematic camera angles was something that really resonated with me. It wasn’t just the atmospheric presentation though; it was the overall design and structure of these games that really hooked me. Exploring areas for items, having limited supplies, solving puzzles and reading plenty of notes to give more insight to the story; it all just felt so satisfying and fun to me. Over the years the series shifted into something a bit more action based, and it lost a lot of what made survival horror interesting for me. Now Resident Evil 7 is here and claims to be bringing back what I loved about classic survival horror, and I couldn’t be happier. Did this game manage to restore my waning faith in the Resident Evil series?
Resident Evil 7 starts off with a video from a woman named Mia, who just happens to be our main protagonist Ethan’s wife. She warns Ethan not to come after her and apologizes for lying to him. Three years after receiving her video warning, Ethan gets an e-mail from Mia saying where she’s located and to come pick her up. Concerned about his wife he thought was gone for good, Ethan goes after her and soon gets involved in a mess of horrifying events.
Shortly after the games introduction, Ethan will be kidnapped by the games main antagonists of Resident Evil 7, the Baker family. This is not your ordinary family, and they are undoubtedly my favorite aspect of Resident Evil 7’s story. Each member of the family is completely off their rocker and prone to some very intense anger issues as well as a mysterious ability to rapidly regenerate and seemingly not die. The family is the focus for most of the main storyline, and I would consider them to be some of the most memorable characters in the series. You’ll explore their dilapidated house, looking through all their belongings and getting a better idea of just what kind of people they really are. A lot of detail clearly went into the family and their home, and that made me happy. It brought back smaller, but more detailed and memorable areas like the older titles in the franchise. By the end of Resident Evil 7 the home felt really familiar, and so did the family, which made the experience unforgettable.
The father, Jack, is probably the most memorable of the family for me. He’s the first enemy that you’ll encounter in the game, and what a hell of a way to start. Right after meeting the family, you’re quickly thrown into exploring the Baker’s house, and Jack, without warning, starts pursuing you, and it happens several times for the first portion of the game. He walks almost as fast as you can run, and constantly taunts you. His insults are what made his character for me, as they are silly and over the top and reminded me a little bit of the way some of the silly dialogue in the old games was presented, but still managed to also differentiate itself. All of what he yells at you during encounters with him generally boils down to him taunting whatever it is you’re currently doing in a very silly and condescending manner or that he’s “gonna get’cha!!!!” . I could genuinely see his taunts terrifying some people, but I found them really amusing.
The other two family members are just as memorable, and the gameplay shifts its focus to fit each of member of the Baker family. The sections with Marguerite focuses on stealth and few enemy encounters, while Lucas focuses on a mix of very clever puzzle solving and a little bit more combat than the rest of the game.
There are also a few VHS videotapes that you’ll find throughout your adventure that you can insert into any VCR you discover and play through a mini scenario about other characters that have also been in the same situation that Ethan is currently in. They generally acts as a glimpse of what is to come later as the game progresses, and add a little bit more to the story as well. They all are mostly exploration and puzzle based, with a little bit of stealth thrown in too. This was a great way to add more development to the Baker family as well as show you just how long this situation with the Bakers has been going on for.
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