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Resident Evil 7: Survival Horror’s Triumphant Return

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is the latest installment from one of the successful video game franchises of all time. There was a lot riding on this game as it not only had to live up to the high commercial expectations set by its predecessors Resident Evil 5 & 6 which sold 13 million copies combined; it also had to please fans and critics after years of complaints about the lack of horror from previous installments. Can Resident Evil 7 please fans, critics, AND shareholders? Let’s find out.

First and foremost, HUGE props to Capcom for taking Resident Evil 7 into a brand new direction. In this day and age, it’s really commendable to see a company put creativity, innovation, and quality ahead of making a profit. They could have easily stuck to the same format as Resident Evil 5 or 6 because despite mixed receptions, these games still made a lot of money! Resident Evil 6 is Capcom’s 2nd best-selling game of all time! One can only imagine how shareholders responded to Capcom’s decision to take a huge risk by taking Resident Evil 7 in a completely new direction instead of following a predictable formula that would’ve guaranteed a decent amount of money. But before I talk about the game itself, let’s look at Resident Evil’s history to see how things started and how they’ve changed.

We’re here to make MONEY! Not good quality video games. Sheesh!

In 1996, Resident Evil 1 created a brand new video game category: survival-horror. Despite the graphic limitations of the Playstation 1, they scared millions of players with the effective use of suspenseful music, long and narrow hallways, and limited ammunition. Furthermore, Resident Evil 1 inspired other companies to follow suit (e.g., Silent Hill, Parasite Eve, Fatal Frame, etc.). After a few sequels, the company decided to take the franchise in a brand new direction with Resident Evil 4 in 2005.

This looks silly today, but in 1996 this gave people nightmares!

Resident Evil 4 was a commercial and critical success but this was the beginning of the decline of horror and emphasis on action. Resident Evil 5 and 6 continued down this path with the inclusion of co-op, excessive quick-time events, and long cut-scenes. Despite their flaws, I actually really liked these games. They were a lot of fun, especially when playing with a friend. But that’s the thing – these games were fun as opposed to scary. So at the end of the day, I guess it really depends on what you want from Resident Evil: something fun or something scary. Resident Evil wasn’t the only franchise to ditch horror in exchange for action and convoluted stories as several other franchises followed the same trend in hopes of making easy money (Dead Space, Silent Hill, etc.).

It seemed like survival-horror video games were a thing of the past but luckily for us, Resident Evil 7 ditched the boulder-punching, roundhouse kicks, quick time events, and long cut scenes for suspenseful music, long and narrow hallways, limited ammunition, and something new to the franchise: first person point of view. I personally don’t like POV games but surprisingly, I love Resident Evil 7. I know a lot of fans believe this departure from the older formula would make the game something else instead of being a Resident Evil game, but I can assure you, it still is. The inclusion of save rooms is completely unnecessary in 2017 when auto-save is a standard for modern games. But it’s the little things like the save rooms, item crates, herbs, puzzles, whacky keys, and a magnum that captures the essence of Resident Evil. And let’s face it, what’s more Resident Evilish than herbs and a magnum?

Small cut? Bitten by a zombie? Leg chopped off? No problem. Just have a green herb!

The spirit of Resident Evil is captured beautifully in this game but more importantly, it’s a terrifying and intense experience. Yes of course, there are jump scares, but the first person point of view really makes things frightening because you can’t see everything, thus, sometimes a quick 180 turn will lead you right into a monster. I know this repetitive, but I really have to praise the small things that are in the game: long and narrow hallways, doors opening slowly, poor lighting, and my favourite – random noises. There’s nothing more terrifying when you’re standing still and you hear footsteps from another room – so crank up your surround sound to get the full experience!

I think I’ll keep the lights on when I play this game

Resident Evil 7 is an incredibly important game for our time. Not only is it a top-tier game that you can play from start to finish in VR (which got great reviews), it’s also the rebirth of survival-horror games, and more importantly, it’s a shining example to other video game companies that if you listen to your fans and focus on quality, it is possible to have a critical and commercial success. I can’t wait for Resident Evil 8 and hopefully for other franchises to return to their survival-horror roots *cough! Dead Space! cough*

Until next time, nerd out.

 

1 ping

  1. E3 2017: Who Won? » Not Enough Nerds says:

    […] or even an update like Metroid Prime 4’s teaser, I can only assume that Capcom is focusing on Resident Evil 7 DLCs, Resident Evil 8, and leaving behind a huge moneymaker like a Resident Evil 2 […]

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