Resident Evil 7 Demo (First Impressions) – Xbox One
Resident Evil is right up there with my all time favorite game series, although in the past few years, it seems that Capcom has been doing everything possible to change my thinking. The first 3 installments on the original PlayStation paved the way for the horror genre, each bringing something new. The original Resident Evil was more than just a game about zombies in a creepy mansion, it relied on the combination of the environment, monsters, and resource conservation to add to the scare factor. You couldn’t just blast your way to victory because there simply wasn’t enough ammo for that. Having to pick your battles and leave some enemies for later is pretty well unheard of these days. Resident Evil 2 expanded on this with its 2 scenarios for its 2 main characters, and Resident Evil 3 added the horrifying pursuer, Nemesis.
The next installment into the main series was Resident Evil 4, released in 2005. It was the first modern shooter to introduce the 3rd person over the shoulder camera angle and for the series, the first to feature more action than scares. It was a new direction for the franchise, for sure, but one I really liked. It enjoyed some pretty high praise, which led to Resident Evil 5. Logically, Capcom wanted to expand on its predecessor, so they added co-op to the mix. Although it was more action based than RE4, I found that being able to play along side a friend was a really enjoyable experience, despite the game itself getting a bit further away from the franchise’s beginning. By most counts, Resident Evil 6 was a disappointment. It featured co-op play again but with 3 campaigns featuring 3 sets of characters. While a few cool gameplay elements were added, RE6 was about as far from feeling like a Resident Evil game as possible, and rated about a 1/10 on scare factor.
When I first heard about Resident Evil 7, I didn’t come in with high hopes because frankly, Capcom didn’t give much reason to. Then, much to my surprise, I read that Capcom listened to the feedback from fans who wanted more scares and less being like every other shooter out there and they actually responded. The demo for Resident Evil 7 was released for the PlayStation 4 a few months ago and I had seen a few play-through’s online. I am very happy to report that Capcom seems to be taking the series in a positive direction.
I’ve played through the demo a few times and here are my first impressions:
- Despite the change to first person view, which is brand new to the series, it truly looks like horror will be a main focus for this installment. I could not be more thrilled about that.
- Visually, the game looks stunning. It’s taking advantage of the graphics capabilities of the next gen consoles.
- If the demo is any indication, resource management/conservation will be a key factor in survival, another great sign that will really add to the scare level.
- No familiar characters have been directly introduced which leads me to wonder if any will even be a main focus in the game. I’m sure there will at minimum be mention of at least a few characters we know.
- The mysterious and creepy Baker family will be a constant threat, pursuing you throughout at least part of the game. It’s unclear whether they will be able to be killed but the initial feeling I get reminds me a lot of Alien: Isolation. This is a very good thing as that is one of the best horror games I have ever played.
- Puzzle solving is making a return, and not just pushing boxes. Manipulation of items in 3D will be needed in some cases.
- The limited area of play in the demo is an old house full of rotting food, boarded up windows, and body bags in the basement. Many objects move and make sounds if bumped into and you never know if that sound you heard was an approaching scare or just sounds of an old house. I found myself navigating the house with a true feeling of anxiety and fear, not knowing what would be around the corner or behind me when I turned around. That’s what we’ve been missing from Resident Evil.
- Based on the below teaser video, it looks like Resident Evil 7 will feature a protagonist searching for a supposedly deceased wife, which sounds a bit too much like Silent Hill 2, but I’ll hold out judgement until we see where they go with this story.
Overall, I am more than excited to play the full version of Resident Evil 7 when it’s released on January 24, 2017 and look forward to writing a full review. I’m hopeful that it will be a positive turning point for the franchise. There are signs pointing that way, so here’s hoping.
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