Make yourself at home
Resident Evil 7 starts with Ethan searching for Mia. He got a message three years after her disappearing that he should come and get her from the house she was recently working in as a nanny.
After arraving at her previous working place, a big, shabby house in the woods he actually finds Mia (!). Unfortunately the eagerly awaited meeting doesn’t turn out as loving as expected. Mia seems to be a little bit absent and confused. However, the theory that being from her true love apart for such a long time drove her crazy seems pretty obvious 😀
So Ethan has to fight Mia, becomes seriously injured and fades out. He gains consciousness and finds himself sitting on a table with the nice Baker family. They are having dinner and in their generousness they also offer you (Ethan) some intestines. The problem is all that romantic drama with Mia kind of caused some troubles for your stomach and you refuse. Understandably the hosts are not really pleased that you refuse and kind of start a in a fight or hunt for live and death.
During running away from for example Jack or Margharete, only two adoarble family members, you are trying to find a serum wit Zoe. At first she is a mysterious voice you only reach via phone. The serum should help to cure Mia and get the peace restored.
At this point I do not want to spoil too much from the story but there’s a little bit you will need to understand my review. So you actually are able to make the serum but do not have enough shots for Zoe and Mia and have to chose one of the two for your escape. I personally chose Zoe at this point because – it’s kind of hard to admit – my breakup wounds were still pretty deep…
Resident Evil would not be Resident Evil when they let you go away so easily. You drive with (in my case) Zoe in a boat and come by a ship where Ethan gets captured and you get to play Zoe. From this point on the whole background story and causes are revealed 🙂
It begins quite spooky in the empty house with all the weird noises around you which just freak you out searching for Mia. That is an impressive start. Unfortunately the horror factor is pretty good during the whole game but is also weak in some scenes. According to the atmosphere the scenes on the ship are by far the best! They are really well made!
Besides the main story and also as part of the main story you get to play as part of a video. This gives you the opportunity to relive the past. I see those videos as very good gameplay elements. You break the common pattern, like searching for clues, keys or other items or fighting enemies, with something new that also differentiates in how it is presented.
In this case it is a video of poor quality. Such strategies not only help me to keep concentrated but also trigger different points of fear. So you do not get used to the horror as fast as when playing in the same setting all the time.
In my opinion there is also room for improvement when it comes to the videos and make them more realistic. In the first video you play the concept worked fine because your role is a camera man. Unfortunately in the others you simply have to ignore the question who is holding the camera…
In Resident Evil 7 you often have to decide whether it is worth it to shoot an enemy and lose valuable bullets or to try sneaking past them. This makes it even more exciting to play because although not shooting an enemy is frightning, not having any bullets at all afterwards is even more. This is also often part of the story when for any reasons you do not have weapons (maybe because they were taken from you).
After all it is a pity that quality seems to got dramatically reduced in the ending. The final enemy was more than easy to come up against and it was one of the shortest fights ever made. The one thing positive I can say is that you get to meet granny again – a character who really found a place in my heart 😀
Overall the gameplay is not very complex. They used some strategies to instil fear and are well known from previous games. The save points are rare, there is not much ammo around. I had the imagination that especially in the beginning the common enemies you are confronted with are pretty strong. For example one of the first end-fights, the one against jack (family father) with the chainsaw was not that easy for me. This might also have been because I kind of struggled with the controls in this part.
However such fights also show you what horror games are about. You actually do not want to run through it like going for a walk. You want the fights to be intense and you also want to feel as if you have achieved something when you win against enemies or finish an episode of the game. The fights were also presented really nice throughout the game. Melting persons, the kind of mutations they had and how Ethan or the other characters you played reacted to them, for example with personal statements like I hope he keeps dead…
This helps me getting more releated to the characters and the whole setting.
Which brings me to the next point the “riddles” you have to solve during the game. I do not know if you can actually name them riddles, it was more like searching for hints and clues and putting them together. There was not much brainpower needed, which can be really frustrating for you if you expect to find this in the game. For me it was ok to be that way but I definately have to say that more of a challenge would also have been appreciated 😉
I really liked playing Resident Evil 7 because I loved how it was presented as a classic horror game. I liked the story, the feelings of fear and anger it gave me during playing and the revealations in the ending. Unfortunately I also have to say that after all it also makes yourself torn between pure excitement for the settings and atmosphere and a little disappointment because of the wan and monotonous ending. This is especially sad because I think if video game makers would put more effort in making good and satisfying endings a better feeling would stay in the end. However, if you like horror and especially if you like the old Resident Evil games you should definately give it a shot and probably won’t be disappointed.