Fear and isolation seep through the walls of an abandoned southern farmhouse. '7' marks a new beginning for survival horror with the “Isolated View” of the visceral new first-person perspective. Powered by the RE Engine, horror reaches incredible heights of immersion as players enter a terrifyingly new world of fear as they fight to survive.
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Resident Evil 7 attempts to bring the series back to the survival focused gameplay of the older series entries and away from the action focus of the last few games, for me it completely fails at this. The atmosphere of the starting few areas are what the game does well with good details and gives you areas that you want to explore, unfortunately even this drops in quality in the final two places you go to that have a very bland and uninteresting look to them. The VHS tapes that you find are a nice addition, playing them allows you to see past events and play as different characters, there are only four of these though, and two of them don't even make sense in regards to how they were recorded. Previews of the game seemed to imply that you would be chased around by the Baker family members who were strong and un-killable, forcing you to hide from them. This is actually not true at all as it really only happens once very early in the game and avoiding the character is easily done by just going into the save room and shutting the door on him, a strategy that also works on regular enemies with any door. The combat is poor and awkward with guns and melee weapons almost always feeling weak (with the exception of the shotgun) and not being fun to use, the knife is somehow unable to hit downed enemies unless you duck, your character moves very slowly and can only manage a slightly faster forward walk when you want to get away from something. The enemies themselves are dull, three types of oil like monsters (one that you only see maybe three times) and two types of bugs in one area. They are slow, weak, and can be defeated by doors or just slowly walking past them. Sometimes shots will stagger enemies, sometimes they won't, sometimes they will take five head shots, sometimes they will take 12 it never really makes any sense. Boss fights are horribly designed glitchy messes where they can clearly miss you but still hit, do attacks that clip through objects to hit you, and get stuck on random things in the environment. The survival elements are practically non-existent as we have lost the powerful or one shot kill enemies that have been around for some time, I ended up finishing the game on normal (the most difficult mode available at the start), by only using two items that fully healed me and raised my max health, I could have made about 40+ medkits and had other healing supplies, at no point could the game be considered remotely difficult or tense because of this. Plot necessary items taking inventory space is a time wasting needless thing to bring back, as is the smaller inventory, you will run into sections where you will be caring very few things, you will go into a room with so many items that you will then need to travel back to the storage box with no enemies or things of interest in your way, sometimes even needing to make multiple trips if you want to collect everything, this seems like it was added to the game to pad out the short length. The story is pretty uninteresting with obvious reveals. The main character barely seem to be effected by anything but moves worse than almost any horror main character I've ever seen, he seemed to have more of a negative reaction to being surrounded by caterpillars in a crawl space than almost anything that happened to him. At times it felt like they wanted to make him a funny B movie style character, which would actually fit well with the main antagonists. In one boss fight the guy you are fighting tears open a fence, grabs a giant pair of scissors, and says "Groovy." Your character then says, "That's no groovy," you can then pick up a chainsaw and I was expecting him to say something like, "This is groovy," instead he says nothing making it all just awkward lines and like they forgot that he is just some average guy who shouldn't be delivering one liners to mutated people while surrounded by body bags. It also feels like they couldn't fully abandon the more action oriented titles of the past by having you fight some giant mutated creatures, one battle being a ridiculous affair where you can just keep jumping from the second story of the area to the first and then slowly climbing back up a ladder to easily avoid the attacks of your enemy. The game is full of jump scares meant for VR where people suddenly appear on screen (sometimes letting you even look in the direction they were supposed to come from, allowing you to see them just appear out of nowhere), grab you, and then scream in your face. The game is actually far more gross than scary, like watching a bad "horror" movie like Drag Me To Hell where somehow vomit and bugs are supposed to scare you. They start making cheap attempts to scare you such as having random noises around the area and sounds from monsters that will never show up but anyone who has played enough video games will know this, and even if I was worried about being suddenly attacked you are so well equipped to handle everything that it wouldn't matter. I was willing to give them some credit by never having the little girl start singing but they even managed to throw that cliche in near the very end. The game also includes two endings, with almost nothing changing from a gameplay perspective, seeing them requires you to play the worst parts of the game again after making a choice in the previous section. They didn't even have the decency to give you a save point after the game's worst boss fight, forcing you to fight it over again to get back to the choice. Another attempt that feels like them trying to add to the length of the game. I didn't think it would be possible, but I actually liked Resident Evil 6 more than this, if only because of the few decent moments it had and the so bad it's funny moments in it.
The series has truly returned to form. There is a renewed focus on horror and atmosphere in the title and it pays off. Environments have personality and are atmospheric. The scares are great and the payoff is always worth it. The monsters are gruesome and the villains terrifying. Puzzles are used well to break up the pacing and allow you to take in the environments.The graphics are amazing. The only flaw is it drags on a bit too long. I recommend it.
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