Resident Evil VII: Biohazard Review

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard Review Darryl Linington
Storyline
Gameplay
Graphics
Sound
Lasting Appeal
9.2
Game of the Year Contender
User Rating: 8.9 (2 votes)

Developed and published by Capcom, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is the latest title in the Resident Evil series to grace the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. While previous titles in the series have been played from a third-person perspective, this is the first time the developers have made a Resident Evil title that plays from a first-person perspective. To add to the features, the game can also be played by using a virtual reality headset; however, this – at the moment – is exclusive to PlayStation 4 owners who have invested in the PlayStation VR headset.

With that out of the way,  let’s get straight into the review. Resident Evil VII: Biohazard follows the story of Ethan Winters, who is just an ordinary guy who is still coming to terms with the death/disappearance of his wife. Just as Ethan begins to accept that he will never see his wife Mia ever again he receives a message from “beyond the grave” from Mia, which states that he must come get her in Dulvey, Louisiana. Desperate to find his wife, Ethan finds himself in a derelict plantation where he begins to explore an abandoned house.

Once inside the house, after a bit of tense and nerve-wracking search, Ethan finds Mia locked in a room. Ethan rescues her; however, while trying to escape, a possessed Mia attacks Ethan causing him grievous bodily harm. Ethan defends himself and ultimately kills Mia. When approaching her body Ethan is knocked unconscious by Jack Baker, the owner of the property. Moments later, Ethan regains consciousness; however, he is bound to a chair and ultimately begins to be harassed by the Baker family. Without giving too much away, Ethan escapes dinner and has to fight for his life against a seemingly super-powered Jack Baker. To avoid any further spoilers, I will leave the synopsis there.

When it comes to storyline, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard has one that is excellent in every way, shape, and form. Ethan’s desperate attempt to survive and escape is thwarted at every turn by not only the Bakers, but also by mysterious bio-weapon monsters. To add to the experience, the storyline is further extended upon by numerous collectables scattered throughout the environment. These give clues to how the Bakers became the people they are today, and what drives them to do the things they do. While I won’t divulge any further information, to avoid spoilers, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard features a storyline that is both terrifying as well as brilliant from start to finish. Capcom should be applauded for returning the series back to its roots as this is by far one of the best titles in the series.

Apart from its excellent storyline, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard plays rather well too. During the first few hours of the game, players will need to avoid conflict more often than not. To add to the survival-horror aspect of the game, Ethan is severely underpowered and underequipped compared to the Baker family. While this seems unfair at first, things start balancing themselves out once the player obtains, which is not an easy task, a variety of weapons and explosives. While this eases the tension slightly, there are a number of well-implemented jump scares that make the player uncertain of whether they are truly safe or not.

During my playthrough, there were many times where I would find myself creeping around corners in anticipation of being attacked. Even when an area was cleared of monsters, I would find myself examining an item only to have Jack burst into the room and snap my neck. There would be other times where my health would be so low that I’d be too scared to explore any further and just switch off my console; however, not even 2 hours later my console would be back on with me making an attempt to gain more health and ammunition in an attempt to survive. It’s an intense experience, but well-worth it in the end.

To add to the gameplay, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard features a number of puzzles to solve. While a handful of them were excellent… others were, unfortunately, a tad bit too easy to solve. There was even one that I managed to solve by accident…or pure skill, I’m still not too sure. This is where Capcom can essentially improve on the, as excellent as it is, gameplay by implementing harder to solve puzzles. In addition to the puzzles and a wide range of collectables to find, the game also features multiple endings; however, the ending you receive will depend on choices you make throughout the game.

Adding to the experience is the on-the-fly crafting system. There are various items scattered throughout the game that allows the player to craft various items such as health kits, bullets, stimulants, and even – while few in number – makeshift weapons. This makes surviving slightly easier, especially if you find yourself running low on health and ammunition. Just be warned… As this is a survival-horror title health items and ammunition are scarce… so think twice before using health items or ammo during the early stages of this game. I found myself doing this and eventually had to restart from the very beginning as I had no ammo, no health, and was gravely injured, which ultimately lead to me dying multiple times and forcing me to restart the game.

Moving away from gameplay, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is by far one of the best looking titles I have had the pleasure of playing. The abandoned house is eerie and frightening, while the Baker mansion sets off a multitude of emotions. While I was down searching the basement I felt rather terrified; however, while I was upstairs I felt slightly calmer. When stepping into the kitchen I felt slightly nauseous and while venturing outside I felt fearful and alone. Each set piece draws out a different emotion including, relief, stress, anxiety, and fear as well. This makes Resident Evil VII: Biohazard an atmospheric masterpiece.

What also adds to the overall experience is, as mentioned above, the well-written script and rather excellent voice acting. Hearing Jack taunt you when you hide is terrifying as well as unsettling… while Hearing Marguerite Baker scuffle about searching for you is equally as terrifying. While these characters aggressively seek you out, Lucas Baker tends to attack you in a psychological sense. Lucas comes across crazier than the rest of the family; however, he is ultimately the smartest Baker in the family. Not only does he taunt you, but there is also a set piece that can only be described as something out of a Saw movie.

Conclusion:
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is an excellent game, and an early contender for Game of the Year 2017. It features a fantastic storyline, visually stunning graphics, and a terrifying atmosphere that will keep you on your toes from start to finish. To add to its praise, it features some pretty slick gameplay mechanics and a fantastic on-the-fly crafting system. To add to its lasting appeal, you will also get bonuses for completing it such as new weapons, character perks, and after your first playthrough a new difficulty unlocks – Madhouse – that will have the designers throwing everything they have at you all game long. While it definitely scores high in these areas, it does feature some rather easy to solve puzzles, which was a bit unfortunate to experience.

Overall, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is a brilliant title and a must buy for any fan of the franchise as it’s a welcome return to the series’ roots… Just be warned, it contains extreme violence and features an intense environment that may not sit well with those who suffer from anxiety or high levels of stress.

Resident Evil VII:Biohazard was reviewed by Darryl Linington
Contact:
Darryl@techitout.co.za
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Editor of Tech IT Out. Former radio host of Cliffcentral.com. Former Editor of IT News Africa and ITF Gaming. All round techie, gamer and entrepreneur. For Editorial Enquiries Contact: Darryl@techitout.co.za or via +27788021400.