Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Ever since it first debuted with PlayStation in 1996, the Resident Evil series has enjoyed widespread success, spawning films, books, comics, and countless volumes of merchandise. However, none can deny the huge impact that the series has had on the horror genre of video games, combining action and suspense in a way that no other series has done.
Fans and critics agree, however, that recent installments in the series have been bland and underwhelming, choosing to repeat tired action sequences rather than bring something new. This has all changed with the newest installment, “Resident Evil 7.” It seeks to return the series to its horror roots, steering away from action and focusing on survival, much like the earlier titles.
Though this new game takes place after the events of “Resident Evil 6,” it follows a brand new story that really doesn’t require any knowledge of past “Resident Evil” games to jump into. The new story follows everyman Ethan Winters, who receives a mysterious email from his wife, Mia, who’s been missing for three years, telling him to come find her at a rural property nestled deep in the bayous of Louisiana.
What follows is a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque tale of killer hillbillies and a bit of the supernatural, all trying to prevent Ethan from escaping. To say any more would spoil the fun that comes with exploring the story, but needless to say the game manages to balance action and horror relatively well.
The biggest change made in this installment is that of a first-person camera, rather than the traditional fixed camera or third-person view seen in previous games. “RE 7” still keeps some classic staples of the series, such as the use of herbs for healing, inventory management, and in-depth puzzle solving to advance to new areas and find new items.
The only real flaw the game presents is the lack of depth that begins to present itself in the second half of the game. The action gets ramped up in a way that conflicts with the tense, helpless atmosphere the game maintains in the first half. In some ways it feels like the game is leading you on, only to steer you in another direction. Despite this, none of the players’ questions will remain unanswered, and depending on choices made in the game, multiple endings are available.
By Truman Templeton