Resident Evil: Return To Horror

(Credit: Capcom)

I have been a long time fan of the Resident Evil series. Playing a friend’s copy of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, was my main reason for getting a Playstation 2 (the series was a Playstation exclusive at the time).

With the last few games the series has moved away from survival horror and become more action oriented. The last entry in the main storyline, Resident Evil 6, with it’s heavy reliance on QTEs (Quick Time Encounters) making the gameplay unbearable, is the best example. Thankfully with 7 they are returning to their survival horror roots.

Resident Evil 7 will take place in the fictional Dulvey, Louisiana. The protagonist you play is Ethan Winters who is searching for his wife he believed was dead. His wife Mia was seen at the home of the twisted Baker family. There will be the classic puzzle solving and scarcity of weapons, a return from games earlier in the series. It will be the first game in the main series to be first person (some side games that were mostly shooters were first person).

The Baker Family (Credit: Capcom)

While found footage is a tired trope in movies, it is rarely used in games and appears to be component in Resident Evil 7. You’ll be able to interact to a degree with the environment in the video, which will help you later in parts of the game outside the videos.

The other interesting thing about the game is the title. The name of the series in Japan has always been Biohazard, while Resident Evil was the American name. The latest will be known as Biohazard 7: Resident Evil in Japan and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard in the States, incorporating both names for the first time in the series history. Supposedly it’s a clue the nature of the game. Also the number 7 is incorporated in an interesting fashion in the name (and not just replacing a letter with a number.)

Japan/US titles (Credit: Capcom)

This past summer the demo for the game was released. While it’s not the actual game it’s more of a prologue to show the engine and some of the gameplay. There are several versions of the demo. This is my latest playthrough with the one I got for my PS4 (also there may have been something I missed and may need to replay it again.)

Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour

Before the demo starts, I watch a found footage video of someone trying to free my character from his bonds, when the rescuer hears something behind him. After that I start out with the character waking up on the floor of a den, with a couch, fireplace, a desk and chair with a TV and VCR on it, and a coffee table with a note saying “I shall dash them against the stones.” There is a fuse box missing a fuse, and a piano that will snap close if you try to play it.

I leave the room and go through the moldy door (it was previously locked in an earlier version of the demo) there is a long hallway with a bathroom to the right and a locked basement door at the end. In the bathroom you see a bathtub and toilet filled with bloody water. There is a pipe with a missing turn off valve. In the medicine cabinet there is some handgun ammo. A table near the bathroom contains a blank notebook found in the drawer.

I go back to the main hallway and find a dummy finger in a side table drawer, there is another small room near the starting den room, that doesn’t have much in it. I go upstairs to the attic and see three dummies facing the wall they are against. There is a button on a post that seems to be inoperable. As I walk to the lighted table, I hear a noise. When I turn around the dummy’s are facing the me and a fourth dummy has appeared out of nowhere in front of the stairs also facing me.

Dummies in the Attic (Credit: Capcom)

Going back downstairs, I go to the kitchen, there is rotting food on the table, and a dead animal in the microwave. When I open the refrigerator there is more rotten meat and a disgusting sticky film that hangs between the door and the fridge. On the other side of the kitchen there are two hutches, one with with a locked drawer the other hutch is empty.

Off the other side of the kitchen is a hallway that leads to the backdoor. A locked cabinet is chained to the right of the door exiting the kitchen. I turn left and go down the hall to open the door to a small room with the backdoor. On the floor are rotting cow carcasses, one with bolt cutters sticking out. After checking the back door, which is locked, I pick up the bolt cutters. As I do a creepy doll falls in front of me. I take the bolt cutters and open up the locked cabinet and find a video tape.

I take the video tape back to the room with the TV and VCR. As I watch the tape, I become the cameraman, named Clancy, of a reality show that visits haunted houses (they weren’t exactly ghost hunters). You get to interact to a degree with the environment in the found footage. We (the cameraman, show producer Andre, and host Pete) enter the house from the backdoor. The house is the same for the most part, but there are no rotting carcasses in the back room or mold around the door to the back hallway.

I enter the kitchen where Pete is checking out the kitchen and setting up the intro for the show. Pete starts talking to Andre when he realizes he is gone. We start searching for him and find the den. Pete manages to find a secret lever in the fireplace. A panel in the wall opens up when he pulls it.

Pete and I enter the passage and find a hole with a ladder that leads down to the basement. We see Andre at the bottom staring at the wall ignoring Pete’s calls. Pete makes me go down the ladder first. I approach Andre when he turns around with blood on his face and a dead look. I fall to the ground screaming with Andre falling on me.

The video then goes to the opening scene. I am Clancy the cameraman on the floor, and Pete finds a knife to cut my bonds. While he is cutting my them, he hears a noise behind him. He is suddenly attacked by a crazed woman before the video ends.

After the video has ended I notice the note from earlier has moved from the coffee table to the TV table and has “YOU” written over “them”. I find the secret lever in the fireplace, and enter the passage. I notice the ladder is no longer there and I can’t go down, but near the hole to the basement is a key for the back door. As I enter the back room where the door is, the dummy that mysteriously appeared in the attic now falls in front of me. I open the door to leave the house, as a do I am grabbed by a crazed man and pulled inside (this is one of the possible endings to the demo)

While this isn’t part of the actual game, it makes me excited for a new Resident Evil. After the horrible gameplay of the last one, I looking for a return to its survival horror roots. And even though I am sick of found footage movies, making interactive found footage a part of a game is new and refreshing. Resident Evil 7 comes out January 24, 2017 for PS4, XBone, and PC.

Resident Evil 7 trailers: