It’s no secret that my most anticipated game since this year’s E3 is “Resident Evil VII: Biohazard“. I’ve scoured every corner of the Beginning Hour demo with every subsequent update, and I loved the VR preview I was lucky enough to play at PlayStation Experience. I finally got to play a chapter of the nearly-finished game, though and I have no idea how I’m going to pass the time until the final product launches on January 24, 2017.
Annoyingly, I can’t get too specific with the demo I got to sit down and dig into, but if you’ve seen the Lantern trailer, the Tape-2 trailer, or the recent TV spot, you have a pretty decent glimpse already at what I saw. The biggest takeaway from actually playing the game is that it’s a more grounded experience that pulls from gorefest classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and House of 1000 Corpses all while never losing that hokey “Resident Evil” charm.
The chunk I played which was about an hour into the game provided me with a knife, a pistol and a shotgun, but what made me let out a sigh of relief was how much ammo I was able to find and craft throughout my experience. I even started to feel like I had too much ammo at one point, but then the game presented it’s sadistic counter to that sentiment: Jack Baker.
Jack’s slowly and methodically stalked me while I was exploring the mansion the Baker family is holed up in, and every time I saw him it made me jump. Even if he was just standing in a hallway when I turned a corner. No doubt you’ve thought of “Outlast” when watching gameplay of “Resident Evil 7”, and these were the parts that made me think about it too. But even with the design of an enemy much stronger than me hunting me through tight spaces, the added element of puzzle solving and combat makes it a different and more engaging experience.
I can’t really speak to the story since I played such a small chunk of the game, but the small bits I did see made me want to know more about what was going on. In addition to having it delivered from other characters like the Bakers or a smalltown police officer, Ethan can learn more by playing through VHS tape flashbacks that are littered around the world. The flashback I encountered was the portion from the Lantern trailer, and since I had already seen that I decided to move on.
Something I really enjoyed in my demo was the crafting. There’s the classic herb-combining of course, but a new substance called Chem Fluids that when paired with different objects like gun powder creates things like better healing potions, ammo and more. It’s rare though, so deciding when to use it to make ammo and when to give yourself a health boost drives the tension home.
I only encountered one of the Molded enemies that I wrote about in my last preview, but this time I just shut the door and ran away since I was told he wasn’t hiding anything important and my time with the demo was limited. The puzzle solving itself finds a great middle ground between the so hard you want to throw your controller puzzles of “Resident Evil” and “Resident Evil: 0” and the “Wow, this is a lot of padding.” fetch-quest style puzzles in “Resident Evil 4.” I was able to solve the critical puzzles to advance the plot, but there were others that I started and didn’t get a chance to finish.
I didn’t know it was possible, but I’m even more excited to play “Resident Evil 7” when it launches on January 24, 2017.