Friday, January 25, 2019

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard - Final Thoughts

Over the last two weekends I've been (finally) playing my copy of Resident Evil 7 on the PS4. I'm not an early adopter to video games usually, but that has it's advantages. I paid $20 for the game and if I had the VR headset then I could play that version of the game as it's all on one disc.

As much as I love horror movies, I'm not a big fan of the survival horror genre of games. My experience w/ Resident Evil is rather short, only previously playing RE2 on the N64 back in the day. That's it believe it or not. I have bought other versions of the game, but they have gotten lost in the back log of games to be played.

I'm not sure what drew me to purchasing RE7, but once I finally sat down to play the game I was hooked. I was on edge too. The setting of the Louisiana bayou was creepy enough, then Capcom had to throw in a old house and a crazy cast of characters. Before picking up the game, I had pretty much stayed away from any coverage of the game so I really didn't know what the story was going in, or even that the point of view had been changed from the normal 3rd person to 1st person perspective.

The game looks beautiful, even though parts of it are down right terrifying at times. The controls are really good and responsive for the most part. I'm not the biggest fan of the Dual Shock 4 controller, but the more PS4 games I play the more I'm beginning to get comfortable with the layout. Even though the game is from the 1st perspective and you have weapons, it doesn't feel like or play like a shooter in my opinion. Whether you agree with that statement or not, it doesn't take away from the feeling that this is a fun game.

I have read that parts 5 and 6 of the series were more action oriented, so Capcom wanted to take the series back to it's roots for part 7. While I haven't played much of the original game, I can see the similarities. The action in the game is up and down. It's not full on action, giving way to story telling and puzzle solving at times. I particularly liked the way the game handled the VHS cassette parts of the game.

By now I doubt I'd be spoiling the game for anyone, but you take control of Ethan Winters, trying to track down the whereabouts of your missing, formally presumed dead, wife. The Baker family (above) are your main protagonists and this scene reminded me immediately of when Sally met the Sawyer family in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Coincidence? I think not. Anyhow, you are tied to a chair at dinner time and let's just say I doubt Ethan is very hungry after he sees his choices on the table. Once you escape, you are trapped in one part of the Baker's house, looking for away to escape. During this time the father, Jack Baker, patrols the house looking for you. You also start to realize that things aren't what they seem.

As the game progresses you find more clues that not only help advance the story, but helps shed some light to the mystery of just what the heck is going on. Personally, I was on the edge of my sofa while playing as I couldn't wait to find out what happens next. As with previous RE games, there are safe houses (rooms) where you can save your game. Instead of the old typewriters from previous games, now you use a cassette recorder (it is 2017 after all - at least in the game). There are also those large storage chests where you can store your items and they'll magically appear when you find chests later in the game. Initially you are limited to the number of items you can carry so you have to be smart about what you carry with you. You can combine herbs and other items to create medicine and ammo. Later on you can find backpacks that increase the amount of items you can carry.

During the game you'll also find multiple weapons, from a simple survival knife, to handguns, shotguns, flamethrower, grenade launcher, machine gun and a chainsaw. Ammo is limited, but depending on the level of difficulty you play on the enemies will take less shots. My first play through was on easy and I ended up with a surplus of ammo for just about every weapon.

I don't recall the number of hours it took me to complete the game, but I enjoyed every minute. The story is compelling and the game play is fun. I played several 3-4 hour sessions at night once the family was in bed a few nights for two weeks before I was able to get to the end. Speaking of the end, depending on a choice you make in the game after the mid-way point, you can get one of two different endings. The choice is fairly obvious to get the better ending, but I saved my game right before you have to make this choice so I intend on going back to that other save game and playing it again to get the other ending.

I already mentioned I played the game on easy, but it was so much fun I will be playing it again on normal. I already unlocked Madhouse difficulty and an exclusive weapon, but I'm not sure that I'm ready for that yet! I enjoyed this game so much that I made me regret waiting so long to play it, but it also has me thinking about revisiting some of the previous games. If you've been sitting on the sideline w/ RE7 and you enjoy horror movies/games or even 1st person shooters, you ought to give this game a try. I really should move onto the next game in my stack of unplayed games, but I'm not sure I'm ready to leave the Bakers behind yet. There are 3 different DLC packs after you finish the main game, one of which is free! I believe all 3 of these either help flesh out the story or continue the story. I'm looking forward to jumping into those very soon.

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