RES­I­DENT EVIL VII: BIOHAZARD

Cap­com was ready to serve up some freshly Baked hor­ror for se­ries fans – you’ll never for­get your first glimpse of that Kitchen

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - RESIDENT EVIL -

Af­ter the dense lore of Res­i­dent Evil 6, it was hard to see where the se­ries could go. The an­swer was ‘back to ba­sics’. In the same way RE4 stripped back what you knew about Resi to make the game more ac­tion-packed, so too did Res­i­dent Evil VII, but more dras­ti­cally. It is en­tirely in first-per­son, filled with new char­ac­ters, and with only hints of the pre-ex­ist­ing lore for most of the game.

What’s most bril­liant is it does so while be­ing more like Res­i­dent Evil than ever, mod­ernising that sur­vival hor­ror, and once again set­ting it in a small, de­tailed, and chill­ing lo­ca­tion: the Baker man­sion. You step into the shoes of Ethan Win­ters, who’s re­ceived a tip-off that his miss­ing wife has been seen near the derelict man­sion.

Turns out the man­sion isn’t so aban­doned, and Mia’s be­ing kept cap­tive as an adopted mem­ber of the Baker fam­ily, whose mem­bers have be­come un­stop­pable forces of na­ture. Ev­ery en­counter with them as you try to es­cape is over­whelm­ing, and none can be truly de­feated out­side of cer­tain mo­ments. The early part of the game where you are hunted through the house by daddy Baker is one of the scari­est things you’ll do in the se­ries. He’ll smash through some walls, grab you by the shoul­der as you run away, and in one sec­tion he can even chop of your leg and watch as you use their spe­cial heal­ing po­tion to grimly re-at­tach it.

SHAKER AND BAKER

The whole game doesn’t in­volve be­ing chased; there’s a great bal­ance be­tween run­ning scared and ner­vously press­ing on. It even has its fair share of clas­sic puz­zles. Each lo­ca­tion feels fresh, and fam­ily mem­bers give unique twists to the ar­eas they oc­cupy, such as the SAW-es­que death traps en­gi­neered by the de­vi­ous Lu­cas. Not to men­tion the Moulded; though they’re not zom­bies, they are creepy. These hulk­ing black things, vic­tims of the Baker fam­ily in whom the in­fec­tion didn’t take prop­erly, will lum­ber around try­ing to grab you.

As you press on, the frights give way to feel­ing more pow­er­ful, but the arc you move through to get to that point is sat­is­fy­ing – and by the end of it you’re ex­hausted, high on adren­a­line just like Ethan, just try­ing to make sense of the gaunt­let of hor­ror you made it through. You see it lit­er­ally through his eyes if you play in PS VR, which is sup­ported for the whole game, and re­mains one of the best vir­tual re­al­ity ex­pe­ri­ences on the sys­tem.

The story is filled with twists, but never gets ahead of it­self, stay­ing fairly con­tained and us­ing hints of lore to give ev­ery­thing a creepy edge. Cap­com did the im­pos­si­ble: it re-in­vented the wheel. Res­i­dent Evil VII re-imag­ined what Resi was, and in do­ing so, felt truer to that first trip to the Spencer man­sion than ever be­fore.

Ev­ery time you deal with a mem­ber of the Baker fam­ily head-on, your heart will be in your mouth.

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