No surprise to fans, Resident Evil VII comes out tomorrow.
Stephen Sharp gives us his first impressions, genuinely positive, on why you should renew faith in the series and play the latest addition.
Resident Evil 7 Demo: The Storm Before the Storm
By Stephen Sharp
Okay, so we’ve all played the Resident Evil 7 Demo aptly subtitled “Beginning Hour”, right? No? Alright, that’s fine. Go download it and play it right now. I’ll wait.
I’m pretty sure your mind is doing something like this right now:
“Wait— what? Was that—? Did I just get scared from a Resident Evil game again? Was that a Resident Evil game? How did they—?”
It’s okay, buddy. I had the same reaction.
Yes. That is a standalone demo (or “teaser” if you’re into the whole brevity thing) for RE7: Biohazard scheduled to release January 24, 2017. And I, for one, cannot be more excited.
Comparisons to P.T. are hard to shake. They both start off with your character waking up on the floor disoriented and walking through a house. They are both set in first person. They both give you extremely limited interaction with your surroundings as a puzzle unfolds around you. But that’s pretty much where the comparisons end.
Before I move on, I’m going to give you a brief history of my love/hate relationship with the Resident Evil series, because I know you totally want to hear about it.
My first RE experience was RE2 on PS1. It was also the first zombie game I ever played AND my introduction to survival horror. It’s a bit dated now, but I dare anyone who played that as a young teen to not recall the opening. The flaming cars. Surrounded by zombies. Only a couple rounds left in your pistol. Injured. Your only choice: move forward or die.
I do have a couple confessions to make. I never finished Nemesis and I still have yet to play the original. I know, I know, but I didn’t own a PS1 as a kid and I had to borrow one to play RE2 (my adorable parents thought I was playing Final Fantasy), so just stick with me for a moment.
I’m often asked what my favorite game of all time is, and even though there are plenty near and dear to me, I always have to answer that it is unequivocally Resident Evil 4.
I annoyed the shit out of my roommates when that game came out. I had to use my friend’s Gamecube (and TV) to play it the first two times. Then, when it came out on PS2, I bought it again and played through it a third time, much to everyone’s chagrin.
I felt bad for about two seconds until I inserted the disc, cracked open a beer, and felt the world fade away (because I was an asshole roomie).
I fucking LOVE that game! The suspense, the tactical action, the never-ending-edge-of-your-seat of “I’m about to fucking die!” Damn, that’s a great game. The controls are a little outdated now, but hell, what an experience. It helped re-define what a horror game could be.
Then RE5 came out…. Continuous co-op? So… The fear of being alone and only being able to get through this horror yourself is out the window? Alright…. It was fun, but not really horror….
Oh, hey! RE6 has Leon back, his campaign is legit, and actual zombies again! Cool! This should be scary! …. Oh… action co-op game… Like the last one…. Except with bigger explosions? What is this series anymore?
Then a diamond in the rough came out called Resident Evil: Revelations on 3DS. It was a return to form. At least it felt like the game developers wanted to scare you again instead of throwing more and more action at you just because they could.
SO, now that I got that all out of the way, what’s up with RE7? Especially that demo.
It’s fucking awesome is what it is! If you don’t know, there are multiple endings and multiple paths you can take through the house. All you have to do is open one drawer or open one door to change the whole experience. And this is just the demo! If you’re brave and savvy enough to figure it out (or you know, just google it), go down in the basement. Enjoy yourself. Have a few laughs. Or, you know, get the shit scared out of you like I did. My wife was in the other room laughing at me during this section because I had my headphones on and all she could hear was me screaming, “HOLY FUCK! HOLY SHIT! WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?!?!”
Good times. I’d tell you what I was screaming at, but I don’t spoil.
Now here’s the end all question: Is it a Resident Evil experience? Hell yes it is, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The limited inventory is there. The going back and forth to find a key to exit an area. The sparse weaponry (yes, there is some if you can figure it out, or again, google it). The feeling of doom. Creepy atmosphere. Creatures and people out to kill you for no reason at all. In the main game I bet you’ll eventually find a lab with Wesker in it trying on some new sunglasses in the mirror asking himself, “Do these frame my face correctly? How exactly do I see in the dark with these on?”
Anyway, in my opinion, I believe the franchise is back on track. Going back to just scaring the bejesus out of you is the right direction. Did they rip off Silent Hills/P.T. by doing first person? Maybe, but game director, Koshi Nakanishi specifically spoke out about that saying that first person was their intention from the beginning. But whatever we end up getting, whether it’s just a haunted house or a bizarre forty hour RPG drama with horror elements, I’m down. If the demo is any indication of the final product, then it’s about to be pee pee city real soon (if you don’t get that zombie-related reference, then get out).
For more graphics, see our post: How Dead Space 3 Ruined Survival Horror.