Horror in the Bayou: Resident Evil VII Review

You can tell a lot by a gamer by what their favorite Resident Evil game is; so, is this going to replace RE2 as my favorite, or is this going to fall in line with RE6?

*MINOR SPOILERS*

Resident Evil VII starts right before the demo, with a video from Mia, Ethan’s wife that has been presumed dead for 3 years. Now, real quick, plot hole kicks in, why didn’t Ethan at least attempt to call the authorities? Anyways, I digress, Ethan drives to this weird, creepy house in the Bayou of Louisiana to find his lost love. Here, we find Mia, all is going well, we play a similar style to the demo, and then the scares show up as we meet the Baker’s. I consider them a family, much like that from “The Hill’s have Eyes.” We are captured, and taken to a beautiful homemade dinner made by Mommy Margurite, were we proceed to eat none of the presumed human parts, and well, shit hits the fan as a cop pulls up outside, and you attempt to escape. Now, this leads us to the meats and potatoes of the game, the puzzles and the Bakers as your enemy.

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REVII brings back the item box, and the fun, yet sometimes confusing puzzles. The house is a giant maze, with tunnels leading back to rooms you’ve already been too, and it just makes trying to escape that much more difficult, yet makes getting to the next puzzle, level, etc. that much better and rewarding. We go back to the moments when we had to conserve ammo, and had to use our brain to defeat each character, boss, level, which is amazing. Each of the Baker’s are a boss battle, and boy-oh-boy, are they fun. James, the dad, starts out with a bang as he chops the officer’s head off with a shovel, and you’re stuck in the garage trying to defeat him. He’s not insanely fast, but he’s strong, and rather smart at stopping you from doing what you want. Margurite, the mom, is fast, and control’s insects and spiders…which can make a man jump faster and further than any other jump scare. Lucas, the brother, is a man who loves his puzzles, and has some strength to him. As for the grandma, well, I’ll just let you find out. Overall, the atmosphere and villain characters are well done, and the first half of the game is up there as one of the scarier games I’ve played in a long time.

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The sounds of REVII are some of the best heard in a game in sometime. Honestly, when I thought about it, this goes up there with The Last of Us, Final Fantasy, and Silent Hill when it comes to sounds and the way the music was used to put that sense of fear, urge, or safety into your mind. Capcom doesn’t do a lot of things right in the recent past, but they always proceed to give us great soundtracks.

The story, overall, is a cliché horror story, which is fine, TLOU was cliché. Unlike TLOU, REVII just doesn’t get you to truly enjoy the characters. Besides the Bakers, I didn’t care about Ethan, Mia, or Zoe; they just didn’t seem interesting. Besides the Baker’s, we are shown the molded, which after the first basement level become boring, and trivial. They aren’t truly that difficult, 3-5 head shots or a bomb, and they’re gone, and you move on. The biggest problem I had with this game was the pacing. After defeating Lucas, the story becomes boring, and you become OP, which ruins the atmosphere. The boat scene should have been a blast, but overall, it was just a letdown. I won’t ruin the ending, but for myself, it wasn’t a good ending, but you’ll have to make that decision on your own.

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This brings me to another complaint I had with the game, and I’m not the only one. “You could have slapped any horror name onto this game, and it would have been just as good, if not better.” – Friend discussing REVII.

I have to agree with him, overall, the tie-ins into the other REVII games, felt unnecessary or pushed. The game is truly a good game, even enjoyable, and has some good scares, but this had more of a Silent Dead feel, not a Resident Evil feel, in my opinion.

PSVR – REVII also allows for the use of the PSVR, which, honestly, was scary and has caused several people to be sick. Overall, the experience, for myself, was fun, but it didn’t feel like it gave anything more to it. The scares were good, but it wasn’t the greatest experience I’ve ever had.

Overall, this game is miles better than 5 and 6, and puts Resident Evil back on the map as a good horror game. After playing it, however, I didn’t feel the need to replay it, to want to continue on. It’s a good game to red box, and if you’re a horror game, or RE fan, it’s worth it.

Gamer Pantheon Score: 82%

 


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