Quick quiz: What is the best Resident Evil game of all time. Ready? On the count of 3. 1. 2. 3. Resident Evil 6. What? I’m fucking with you. It’s Resident Evil 4. Although, I have a special place in my heart for Code Veronica: X, but maybe this is me wearing my Dreamcast feelings on my sleeve 18 years later. The reason why Resident Evil 4 was so great is the same reason that Resident Evil 7 is great. It throws away tried and true gameplay techniques used by previous iterations of the franchise, while keeping enough of the stuff that make it Resident Evil, and then dares you to not shit your pants. The best thing about Resident Evil 7 is its setting. The bayou in Louisiana has always intrinsically had a creepy factor to it, especially if you have never lived there and have watched anything like Hatchet, The Skeleton Key, or the first season of True Detective. Don’t worry, you won’t be going into the depths of Carcosa, but you may wish you had by the time you get finished exploring the Baker property. This chapter in the Resident Evil franchise has you playing as Ethan, a man who has been searching for his wife Mia for three years. He suddenly receives a message from her and tracks her down the the swamps of Louisiana and a piece of property that makes you think you will see a kid playing a banjo on a porch real soon. Before you get your pig-squealing panties in a bunch you find your way inside to find out that Mia has been living there for three years, caged up by the Baker family for some reason that she won’t tell you. Before long you meet the family at dinner and begin wondering where is grandpa and if he is going to try and hit you in the head with a hammer impotently. By now you should know, either by playing the demo, or watching videos that you escape and begin playing a cat and mouse game on the estate with the members of the Baker family and this is where the Resident Evil of old comes into play. When it was announced, rather brilliantly, by Capcom that the first-person horror game they were working on was Resident Evil 7 I, along with everyone else, wondered how the series would translate to first-person and still feel like a Resident Evil game. When your journey begins running and hiding from (Handsome) Jack Baker you see that you are searching for weapons and ammo as well as herbs and certain keys to open certain rooms. Puzzles are still there to obtain specialty weapons and find your way deeper into the house. While they are not as difficult as some RE games, they do have you thinking on the run a lot. You will be finding items like cranks and latch keys that aren’t meant to be used when you have them so you will have to figure out where they go. It’s like you are in the mansion again from RE1 except instead of the master of unlocking, you are the master of getting your hand cut off by your wife. Oh yeah...your wife is crazy and is trying to help you while trying to kill you at the same time.
Luckily you will find safe rooms that let you store your gear and save your progress. Instead of typewriters, you use tape players. So it is good to know that by Resident Evil 11 we should be using DVD players. Combining items is a staple of the series and it is used really well in RE7. Yes green herbs are here but combined with chemical fluid it makes a first aid liquid that heals you by pouring it on your hands even after having it cut almost off like in the Saw movies. I love video games. Also, using your crafting skills can net you enhanced ammo for your guns and other weapons you find like flamethrowers and grenade launchers. Why do you need big ass weapons like that? Well, besides the Baker family being nigh invulnerable due to whatever the hell they are on you will be dealing with creatures called the “molded”. These wonderful bundles of joy show up and generally make your House Hunters Serial Killer Edition way more annoying. There are varying types of molded each trying to make your hoarding of ammo worthwhile. If there was one gripe with RE7 it is that I did miss another variation of enemy. If you are not fighting one of the Bakers the only other enemy are the molded and while creepy, begin to lose their general scariness a good ways into the game. One of the best things about RE7 is not its jump scares, of which there are plenty, but its use of an overwhelming sense of dread. Sometime there is absolutely nothing in the house or surrounding areas for good spans of time, but it is the thought of something being there that makes you shoot at shadows and wonder what they hell that sound was. Seriously, the sound design is fucking fantastic. Resident Evil 7 wraps up with a satisfying ending that links to the franchise making me hope this is a hard restart for the series. After floundering for so long, I don’t want to see RE go backwards with the next installment. Keep it first-person. Keep it small and enclosed like you feel inside the Baker property. Keep it scary as shit. Stay that course and the franchise looks to be back in a big, big way. If Resident Evil 4 reinvented the wheel for the franchise, then Resident Evil 7 reinvented the whole damn car the series was driving.
9 Carcosas out of 10