Since it’s that spooky time of the year, I decided to play a game from one of the scariest franchises: Resident Evil. I specifically chose Resident Evil 7 (RE7), as many people consider it the scariest of the series. I played on the normal difficulty; however, I would recommend playing on easy to people who are new to survival-horror games.
Gameplay: Resident Evil 5 and 6 were criticized for focusing too much on action rather than horror, and this game definitely listened to the fans. RE7 has fun gameplay, but it is toned down in terms of action more so than previous entries. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, RE7 may have cut down slightly too much. This was the first Resident Evil to be in a first-person perspective, which can be disorienting at times, but makes the game much scarier overall. The choice of weaponry is satisfying, however, the enemy variety is lacking. The only enemies throughout the game are the molded, which are pretty boring to fight, and the bugs, which are just annoying. The boss fights make up for this, however, which are all unique and have their own gimmick. Although not too difficult, I enjoyed the puzzles, which vary the gameplay just enough so as to not get too repetitive. I give the gameplay 7/10, as it is fun, but a little lacking in variety.
Story: The great thing about RE7’s story is that it’s mostly disconnected from the rest of the series. This means anyone can jump in and play it and understand what’s going on. This was perfect for me since the only other Resident Evil I’ve played is the Resident Evil 2 remake. The protagonist is a pretty bland character named Ethan Winters, however, the characters around him more than makeup for his lack of personality. Without spoiling anything, he is looking for his missing wife in a supposedly abandoned Louisiana home, only to discover that it isn’t abandoned after all. The family inside has been infected with an unknown virus, giving each member strength and regenerative powers, as well as disgusting and violent personalities. Ethan has to figure out what’s going on while trying to create a serum to cure the infected family and save his wife. Overall, it’s a great story that has lots of memorable characters and locations. I give the story an 8/10, as it kept me engaged most of the way through, but fell apart somewhat toward the end.
Fear Factor: The first-person perspective makes the game much scarier than previous entries since it’s more immersive. It can keep you constantly looking around just to make sure nothing is sneaking up behind you. One thing I really enjoyed about RE7 was the atmosphere. Although it used its fair share of jump scares, a lot of the horror comes from the environment. The soundtrack, the locations, and the ambient noises always kept me on my toes. The first half of the game especially feels very claustrophobic (in a good way). Towards the end, however, the game became much less scary. It began to focus more on the action aspect rather than the horror aspect. This means you have many more resources, which makes you feel too powerful to be scared by anything. RE7 also has virtual reality support. Although I haven’t played it myself, I’m sure it’s much scarier when it feels as though you’re inside the game. I give the fear factor a 9/10 since it fluctuates throughout the game.
Overall, I highly recommend playing Resident Evil 7. There aren’t any huge problems with it, and it definitely scared me. It balances the different aspects of the gameplay well, and I was never bored playing it.