Let’s be honest: the Resident Evil franchise hasn’t been in good shape for a while. Ever since Resident Evil 4‘s success in 2005, Capcom has seemed to forget what made the survival horror series such a joy to play: survival horror.
However, twelve years after Resident Evil 4 started the series’ slow descent into mediocrity, Resident Evil 7 biohazard aims to be a return to form for the twenty-year-old franchise. Does Resident Evil 7 biohazard bring the fear, or should you avoid it like the plague?
Resident Evil 7 biohazard
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Reviewed on PS4)
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Price: $59.99 (Review Copy Purchased)
This is a review coupled with a supplemental video review. You can watch the video review above, or read the full review of the game below.
First thing’s first: this game’s graphics are absolutely stunning. The photo-realism offered by the RE Engine makes Resident Evil 7‘s old mansions and backwater bayous a starkly realistic and terrifying place to behold. The whole game runs at a smooth 1080p 60FPS, which is a very impressive feat, seeing the graphical fidelity shown in game. While the VR mode removes anti-aliasing and drops the resolution, the Baker mansion still looks just as horrific with PSVR.
Also, put your mind to rest: not only does first-person Resident Evil work, it works well. The game’s focus on immersion keeps you constantly on edge and worried about what you can’t see, as well as what you can. The Baker family are a terrifying presence and are not too dissimilar to Nemesis or Lisa Trevor. This constant tension, along with the game’s graphics and lack of HUD, gives an incredible sense of immersion.
In VR, this immersion is increased tenfold. If you have a PlayStation VR, stop reading the review, order the game off Amazon (or off Play-Asia using our affiliate code NICHE wink-wink), and come back so I can tell you how good of a purchase you just made.
Resident Evil 7 in VR is truly one of the greatest experiences I have had playing video games. The dynamic change in VR is amazing, because, unlike when you’re playing on a TV, there is no escape.
You don’t get to look away. You don’t get to pause for a second to catch your breath. The game tries its absolute hardest to never break immersion, and it makes sure you feel just as hopeless as the world around you.
Resident Evil 7‘s VR mode only breaks the immersion when absolutely necessary, to make sure the player doesn’t experience motion sickness. However, this probably one of the worst parts of the experience.
One of the worst ways it does this is during cutscenes, where it violently yanks you out of the world and places the action on a screen in front of you. I can see why Capcom decided to do this, but the option to have stayed in VR mode would have been appreciated, especially when there are so many options already.
As I already touched on, VR mode has plenty of customization options to help make the experience comfortable for the players. Is there too much blood on your screen when you’re low on health? You can turn it down.
Does the instant crouch feel too odd for you? You can change it back to normal. Resident Evil 7‘s VR options allow you to set the perfect balance between maneuverability and not getting motion sick, and it comes appreciated in a VR game that lasts 10 hours.
In Resident Evil 7, you play as Ethan Winters, an ordinary guy. Yes, an ordinary guy. Don’t expect him to shatter boulders or save the president’s daughter. You follow Ethan as he tracks down his missing wife, Mia, to the abandoned Baker Mansion in Dulvey, Louisiana.
Needless to say, the house still has some residents (and evil ones, at that). While the Bakers do seem like generic knockoffs of every horror film franchise of the past three decades, you’ll slowly uncover that there’s much more going on with them, and by the end, you’ll truly feed bad for the family.
Unsurprisingly, the consistent quality continues with the sound. Unlike most horror games (or horror anything, for that matter), Resident Evil 7 understands the value of not having music blare in your ears during an encounter. In fact, the only place you’ll usually hear music is in the safe rooms, with an eerie track that reminds you of the horrors that await you when you leave.
This silence also amplifies the game’s pitch-perfect sound effects. The creaky floorboards and far away screams are usually one of your only ways of tracking a member of the Baker family and knowing when to hide.
Overall, Resident Evil 7: biohazard is quite honestly the best horror game to come out this generation. The first person shift keeps you on your toes, VR keeps you constantly on edge, and the terrifying presence of the Bakers means that you’re always unsafe. This fear is amplified by the game’s disgustingly realistic graphics, sparse use of music, and eerily lifelike sound effects.
While the immersion breaks sometimes in VR, Resident Evil 7 never stops being terrifying and, most importantly, fun. Even outside of VR, this game is 100% worth your time. In VR, however, this is a true horror experience that can’t be missed.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR using a review copy purchased by Niche Gamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.
The Verdict: 9
- Beautiful, photorealistic graphics
- Keeps you on edge
- The game is very scary
- Very immersive, even outside of VR
- The setting and Baker family are classic Resident Evil
- Immersion breaks sometimes during VR
- VR graphics lack anti-aliasing, causing a lot of jagged models
- 10 hours may be too short for some
Editor’s Note: We’re aware of the audio issues in our video review – we’re ensuring this won’t happen again in future reviews.