Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Review – Louisiana Chainsaw Massacre

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
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Reviewed on PS4)
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Players: 1
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

The Good:

  • 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

The Bad:

  • 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.

FEATURED GAME

  • Travis Touchdown

    Switch port or no sale.

  • Mr0303

    Kind of strange that they didn’t leave the option to properly experience the cutscenes in VR, but it’s somewhat reasonable for those with weaker inner ear.

    I’d like to try the game in VR, but I’m not a huge fan of survival horror games and given that it’s Capcom a complete edition may be on its way.

  • Jumanji Joe

    “The game is very scary”

    If you’re five years old maybe. I liked the game, but aside from a few jump scares it wasn’t scary at all.

  • sanic

    I wish there was a way to have the cheesy ones like 5 and 6 and the actual horror games like this, I enjoy playing 5 and 6 with friends.

  • 2501

    It’s interesting to see where Capcom goes with this direction of RE. You can argue that it’s a cash-in on the VR trend but it’s really refreshing to see RE go back to being a horror game.

  • This is not a resident evil game.

  • It’s funny how you want a port and not just a similar version. Enjoy your downgraded scraps Nintendo dicksucker.

  • Phasmatis75

    Yeah got to say, love the series, but it didn’t feel very scare. Tense at times yes, but never really scary.

  • OSad

    I’ve played through the game twice, once on Normal and once on Madhouse, and I find it baffling how critics are unanimously showering this game with praise.

    – It’s unbelievably easy.
    – Very poor enemy variety. Like, VERY poor.
    – Has a poor assortment of firearms compared to other RE’s.
    – Tension drops to almost nothing once you get a couple of backpack upgrades, and can carry stacks of herbs, ammo and weapons on your back.
    – It’s very mechanics-lite, no fancy melee moves this time around, movement feels clunky and slow, gunpowder mixing kinda rears its face but it’s underdeveloped again (just like in RE:Revelations), though I won’t hold it against the game since some people might not like all that stuff.

    It feels like it was made as Youtuber bait. Things grab the camera frequently, pop in front of your face, and try to jumpscare you as you walk across the mansion. Some critics only recommend playing the game with VR or else you’re not experiencing the game right, which says a lot about the nature of the game itself, how it was made with VR in mind.

    Sure, it’s a very technically proficient game, and an okay horror game (I also agree with the folks who say they weren’t scared by it at all). The setting is fresh and the characters are acted perfectly. But it’s a poor Resident Evil game. Tension in the old RE’s came from being in an unfamiliar enviorment, exploring under tight inventory constraints, and not knowing what the game was going to throw at you next, if you were going to make it to a safe room. RE4 achieved tension by making you feel alone and like a “stranger” inside of a hostile country in a hostile enviorment. RE7 throws these promises at you at the beginning beautifully but ditches it almost immediately past the first area of the game.

    It’s a step in the right direction but deserves nowhere near the acclaim it’s getting.

  • Eldhin Hellknight

    That shit will explode just in the main menu

  • OSad

    Considering it ran on PSVR, it’s not unfeasible to remaster the assets for 720p and have it run comfortably on a Tegra 1 at 30fps. It would be the worst version of the game by *far* though, considering the strong emphasis the game has on its graphical fidelity.

    Plus it’s not really a good fit for the console. I’d expect some new Megaman or Monster Hunter title coming from Capcom, not Resident Evil.

  • Pading Fox

    I finally finished RE7 and indeed the graphics will blow you out even if every derelict scene is supposed to make you feel bad from the Baker estate to the shipwreck and the mines. It made me want to try out the game others say is the closest to RE7 which is Alien Isolation, and I’m kind of regretting playing the two one after the other since both do get in your nerves. They both frustrate and scare you at the same time which is what survival horror is.

  • ProxyDoug

    I honestly didn’t thought Capcom had it in them. Let’s hope they get DMC right if they ever try to do it again.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    Nintendo doesn’t do very gory games anymore. Not for a long time.

  • wavemotioncannon
  • wavemotioncannon

    I laughed like a fuckin hyena with the final boss. It was cheesy as hell.

  • Phasmatis75

    Yeah it was kind if eh. Jack’s final fight I liked the introduction to, but thought was really cliche. “Zoe you get.. your damn ass…back in that house…”

  • Phasmatis75

    I tried Madhouse but can’t get past the first boss. No matter how well I do bitch won’t die. Any tips?

  • Phasmatis75

    They don’t do very well in sales either. Coincidence? Maybe.

  • OSad

    If you’re talking about Jack, there’s nothing to it besides shooting him in the head with the enhanced gunpowder bullets and going for the chainsaw when he rips open the chain link fence.

    The chainsaw is what trivializes that fight, you can go for a swing on him, which will always stagger him, wait for him to fuck up his retaliation, and do it again. He telegraphs his swings quite heavily which makes for easy blocks (abuse blocks, they cut down the damage you take from hits by more than half), and it also seems like you can straight up mitigate all damage from his charging scissor attack if you’re blocking when he does it. When he pops into a blob, make sure you’re near him so you can strong attack with the chainsaw. You do that two or three times and he’s done.

    If you’re sweating with Jack, you’re not going to have a fun time with Marguerite, that boss *is* actually pretty tough on both difficulties. The most valuable asset you have during that fight is the flamethrower, it makes her immediately back off when she’s charging you, which gives you a much needed breathing room to take out your other guns and shoot her with. But she is an unbelievable bullet sponge on Madhouse.

  • Scruffy, the Janitor

    See, I liked the direction they took in the first Revelation game. A mix of the atmosphere of the early games, and some of the gameplay elements (without throwing ammo at you) of RE4. I haven’t played 7 yet, and I hope it’s a good thing for the series. I am going to be a little miffed if what they tried in Revelations dies though.

    Revelations 2 was shit though.

  • Matthew Sigler

    If you’re talking about Mia, what I did was make her tear down all of the walls and doors and walk around in a circle. When she charges at you, block and she’ll be stunned. Hit her with the axe ONCE and run either back into the hallway or into the bedroom. It takes a long time but it worked.

  • Phasmatis75

    Thank you, I’ve been doing the walls and doors and then running around. Didn’t know block worked well.