Originally posted on Jan. 31, 2017.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is scary. It’s scary in that it has jump scares, creepy maybe-dead wives, cardboard graphics and attaches itself to the ‘creepy hillbillies’ trope that’s been so overdone that a parody comic was made into a cult-classic movie.
The plot follows Ethan Winters on his search of his supposedly-dead wife, Mia, three years after she’s gone missing. He travels to a Louisiana swamp to a plantation that looks like Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. There he finds Mia, who attempts to help him escape before she’s possessed by some unknown force and attacks him.
Ethan then meets the Bakers, the family who live on the plantation and that players may recognize from the PlayStation 4 demo released late 2016. The family seems to be under the same possession that Mia was, and Ethan must escape the hellish plantation.
The game starts with a video of Mia telling Ethan that everything is okay and she’ll be home soon, with her terrifyingly thin hair falling into her uncanny-valley face.
The graphics in this game, if players don’t have to see too many of the non-player characters or plants, are great. They’re similar to P.T.’s singular hallway: small details that didn’t even have to be in the game make it creepier and more realistic.
Sadly, the NPCs’ faces have so many points of movement that, unless they’re already possessed like the Bakers, they look scarier than the main enemies or mold monsters. Players will see Mia’s first cutscene in their nightmares more than Jack Baker stumbling towards them while he’s on fire.
In the first playable scene of the game, Ethan travels through the Louisiana swamp country, full of foliage and what look like animal sacrifices. The dead animals look amazing, the flora and fauna do not. The leaves never really move, even if you run into them. They look one-dimensional and haphazardly cut, like a set piece for a middle school play.
The game feeds on the tired trope of “backwoods weirdos,” but also twists it to where they aren’t killing for fun. Sure, they eat intestines, torture the protagonist and basically be as creepy as possible, but Capcom makes sure that new players are surprised to the source of their insanity. Veteran Resident Evil players already know what to expect.
The gameplay follows in similar style of previous games, with a limited inventory, save stations, a constant sense of doom and the urge to waste all the bullets in the inventory as soon as a monster jumps out.
Overall, the gameplay makes the graphical weirdness worth it. Players should look forward to huddling in a corner after a few hours.
Resident Evil 7 is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC for $60 on the PlayStation Store, the Windows Store, the Xbox Store, Steam and all major game retailers.