"Baker's Descent": Resident Evil VII: Biohazard Review
Resident Evil VII is the latest game in the zombie horror franchise, which this game goes against and plays out a game other than zombies. You are probably thinking…what? Hear me out when I say that this game does indeed go away from the Resident Evil everyone is used to, but it does it so well. This game plays in first person and doesn’t rely on zombie scares, but something much better in my opinion. As I do with all my reviews, I will break this review down into sections so it can be better understood; so, without further ado, let’s get going!
Resident Evil VII follows your character, Ethan, through a story that takes you deep into the Louisiana Bayou. You have received word that your fiancé who has been missing for three years has been at a location all this time and it is up to you to save her. The location to be precise is the Baker estate. The Bakers are a family that closely resembles the Sawyer family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series. As you are looking for your missing fiancé, you are kidnapped and taken hostage by the Bakers. Events then transpire you escape, and you are sent on a creepy journey around the Baker estate to find your fiancé and get the hell out of dodge and figure out just what is going on with the highly volatile Baker family.
All right, I will say this straight off the bat; I absolutely loved this game. I respected Capcom for the change in this game, as it does play in first-person as said before and it also does not focus on zombies, but an enemy type called the "molders" and, of course, the Baker family are the main enemies. Let it also be known that horror games are my favorite genre of games, but the pickings are quite slim, so this was one of my most anticipated games of the year, and I was not disappointed.
It is safe to say that visually, Resident Evil VII takes the cake. These graphics can closely be compared to Battlefield 1 or Star Wars: Battlefront, but personally, I thought they were a bit better. This game is grossly detailed, meaning that there are blood stains on the carpet which are a weird thing to point out, but the carpets are incredibly detailed with blood stains and to be honest, just ‘gunk.' It’s seriously gross seeing how much detail was put into this game, but it is so beautiful to see that much thought be put into a game. I can promise you that visually, it almost cannot get better than this game. Now, like most games, there is the occasional blur, but other than that, I saw nothing wrong with the graphics. Now, usually I believe that if much thought was put into the graphics, the rest of the game is generally lacking, but I was wrong about this one.
The sounds of this game are super creepy and detailed, as well. The doors that creak ever so scary, the floorboards that creak when you step foot on them, the ambient sounds of dust falling and hitting the floor and the eerie music that plays throughout, and even worse, the dead silence. The silence factor to this game killed me, as I would be walking with said eerie music playing and then just stopping as I was about to cut a corner, and my scared ass was expecting something right around the corner… and nothing would be there. Capcom teased me multiple times this way, and I loved it. The fact that they didn’t need to rely on jump scares to make you pee your pants was awesome, and I hope to see more of this in the future. Either way, the sounds and music of this game are great, and I also loved the main theme song. It just gives a sense of eeriness.
Now, the gameplay is what I loved the most. Outlast and Amnesia: The Dark Descent pulled it off marvelously, and now Resident Evil VII has, as well. This aspect is first-person horror. It’s a risky road to take for a game series that is specifically known for cinematic camera angle third-person horror, but man did they pull this off. The atmosphere is what made this game horrifying to play in first-person. I would love to play this game in VR and hope to in the future. The gameplay does play like most first-person horror games. In fact, the controls are very simple which is great, because in horror games, there are more than likely going to be spontaneous moments and if you have to fumble with the controls, it can end horribly.
The guns in this game are also very, very helpful, but the ammo seems scarce, and that is survival horror at its finest. The series has returned to its old-school roots, and you can tell very noticeably. Survival-Horror, in my opinion, is not faithful to the genre unless there are limited weapons and scarce ammo. That is survival. You cannot just be handed loads of ammo and countless guns and be told to survive because obviously, it is easy to do so then. I went through this game with a not so powerful handgun, a powerful shotgun, a flamethrower that surprisingly, doesn’t do much damage and…. a pocket knife, which honestly came in handy more than the guns did, so keep that knife on you always.
All right, now onto the aspect that makes this game gold, the story. The story is one of the best I have ever seen in a horror game. It is full of questions that you want to be answered, therefore pulling you back into play and uncover the secrets of the Baker family. Let me mention that the Bakers are very memorable villains, to me at least. I loved them, in fact. The craziness of this family and wanting to know just what happened to them adds suspense and makes you want to play through the whole game in a day, which is possible, but I will get into that later. As the basis of the story is posted on the first paragraph of this review, I am going to continue from there. This story is filled with questions; I mean loads of them, which eventually do get answered. From the beginning of this game, I, in a weird way, felt sympathy for the Baker family. I just had a feeling there was no way they were intentionally this way, and fortunately, this question gets answered, and it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be, but better. From the intimidating Jack Baker, the head of the family, all the way to Lucas Baker, the son, the family is just all sorts of crazy and wicked. I must say, this story is hard to explain without spoilers so that I will leave it at the story is a great suspense and horror story and had me begging for more in the end. The Bakers are great villains, and it has many twists that I would have never guessed or soon coming.
I honestly only had one problem with this game, and that was the length, but I am not outraged over the fact. The game is only about 10-11 hours, depending on how you pace yourself. Surprisingly, there are many side things to do and many places to explore around the wretched Baker estate. The reason I am not outraged is due to Capcom stating themselves that the game would be this length. They didn’t say that the game would take you hours upon hours to beat, they just straight up told the fans that game is only about 10-11 hours, which I expected honestly. Resident Evil 2 could be beaten in about 2 hours and the franchise as a whole is known to have games that can be beaten relatively quick, so did the length surprise me? Of course not. I am more upset because I was enjoying the game so much that I did not want it to end. Each minute I played this game was a thrill ride and had my heart beating faster than a drum set at a Metallica concert. If the short length is making you second guess the 60-dollar price tag, or 90-dollar price tag if you buy the deluxe edition, that is perfectly understandable, but I can assure you from my standpoint, if you are a horror fan, it is well worth the money.
It brings me great pleasure to write a review and have little to no bad things about the game. The game is terrifying, heart-racing, mysterious and towards the end, a bit emotional to me. Resident Evil VII will go down for me as one of the greatest horror games I have played. To my readers, please give this game a chance even if you have doubts. It is a fantastic horror game that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The atmosphere is horrifying, the fact that you are being chased through a significant portion of the game by the Bakers makes your heart race, and it is an all-around well-constructed horror game, and I hope this inspires other studios to make games like this. Despite the short length, the game is a huge success in my book, whether it sells well or not. This is a game I would play multiple times, and that is a rare occasion for me. I am also happy to say that Resident Evil VII is the first game from me that will be given a perfect review; it is a must for horror fans. Until next time, from all of us at Kulture Shocked, stay scary!