So while trying to catch up on games, Resident Evil 7 is one of those titles that I did, fortunately, get the time to play through multiple times.
I will admit that I “lost faith”. It wasn’t the first time, either. Capcom said multiple times “We’re going back to Resident Evil’s roots”, and it always turned out to be bullshit. Last time they said that was RE6. Do I need to reiterate how that ended? A colossal pile of dog feces on which someone graffiti’d an RE2 logo, which quickly fell apart on closer examination.
Capcom told us basically nothing about this game, pre-release. They said “It’s gonna be in the South on a plantation house!” They showed screenshots. The screenshots looked interesting and I think a lot of people were confused by the first person perspective, thinking that this was some mode exclusive to PS4 because only the PS4 version (so far) had VR support. Nope, that was the actual game, all first person. It was an interesting switch, too. Honestly I don’t know that it was necessary, but the reason they did it was pretty obvious – jump scares and claustrophobia.
So, the game came out, and as amazing as it may be – I didn’t and still don’t have any complaints about much of anything in the game itself – I like the game. I wouldn’t say I love the game, but Resident Evil 7 is fundamentally Resident Evil. There’s no question about that. It exudes all of the core gameplay mechanics and themes that defined the first game, and which continued to define the franchise until PlayStation 2 and GameCube. In the category of “Finally figuring it out”, I give Capcom a gold star on this one. RE7 felt more like RE1 / 2/ 3 than any game since and including 4. I’d even say it was better than Code Veronica – I really didn’t care for Code Veronica.
Mysterious item boxes connected by sub-space link to the same other-reality storage space? Check. Limited ammo? Check. Ammo crafting? Okay, that one’s from RE3, but it was a good mechanic and at least it made slightly more sense – maybe – than finding a whole bunch of 75% empty 9mm boxes (those things usually hold 50 or 60 bullets) scattered about. You also find those in RE7, anyway. Guns that aren’t very effective? Check. Finding some obscure parts to upgrade a seemingly crappy gun to a great one? Check. Claustrophobic areas? Creepy music? Cheesy dialog? Wonky movement or character control? Bioweapons? Check.
RE7 takes a break from the extremely tired old Leon / Ada / Chris rehashes, and puts you in the middle of nowhere playing a nobody who receives a mysterious message from his wife, who was presumed dead, asking him to come get her. You drive across Texas over to Louisana, call your friend and share some small talk about “Omgwtf is this real?” and then you’re off onto private property in the backwater of the Louisana bayou. Somewhere no one with common sense would ever go, without guns, at least not alone. I legitimately felt uneasy proceeding anywhere past the spot you park your car at, in the beginning – much less further. Although, I have this problem where I have common sense – so Texas Chainsaw type movies and the like really don’t resonate with me. I know better than to sneak into some rednecks house in bayou town. And almost immediately you get the first glimpse of one of the creepiest villains in the game. It only gets better from there, with slamming doors, shit moving around seemingly on its own, and then the chainsaw murdering comes out.
Then you start losing appendages and shit gets real, but totally hilarious and ridiculous too. That’s when you realize – yep, this is definitely Resident Evil.
I still have questions about the actual story and where or how this game ties into the overall canon. After all, there are multiple references to the events of previous games, or characters from them, but all of those references seem vague enough that this could still be a total reboot. Also, there’s that whole ending where you know who allegedly shows up and looks literally nothing like ANY of his past iterations whatsoever, not to mention his affiliations are entirely antithetical to everything we’ve ever known about said character since 1995, throughout seven appearances in the franchise (one by proxy kind of). But I am willing to give Capcom enough rope to hang themselves with, once again.
The internet apparently doesn’t seem willing to give the same benefit of the doubt (well, some people on forums) and has defaulted to what the internet does best – being toxic and combative and blindly hating on the game. At one point when Resident Evil 7 came out, I literally kept a spreadsheet to keep track of how many “This game isn’t Resident Evil. What is this?” threads were on the Steam user forums. Hint: the number was 13 before I bashed my head into a wall, hoping for the sweet release of lobotomy. I still have that spreadsheet on my OneDrive.
I said there were no issues with the game itself. Some people do have issues – namely with the price asked in comparison to the amount of the content available. The game itself can be beaten in literally 28 or 30 minutes – I’m not sure what the speedrun record is and those really don’t count anyway. That’s like saying you beat Fallout New Vegas in 5 minutes because you ran straight to Mr. House and finished the main quest by passing a skill check. Having said that, the game can be legitimately beaten in under 4 hours. It’s a requirement to get the tennis shoes, which make your character move faster.
That’s nothing new. Literally every Resident Evil game before RE4 could be beaten, and was meant to be beaten, in 2 hours or less. To get an S ranking, you had to beat the game in like 58 minutes, not save at all, and barely shoot anything or use any healing items. In today’s market, $60 for that apparently doesn’t fly. Even though the first playthrough will take you closer to 12 hours, and there are more playthroughs. An extra chunk of money for the season pass will get you all premium DLC thus far – which will add maybe 15 hours to the game, with familiar gametypes like Jack’s Birthday, which is basically this titles equivalent of Mercenaries mode.
There was a lot of whining about how “This game is just an Outlast ripoff.” “This is just a Texas Chainsaw ripoff.” “This is just a Hills Have Eyes ripoff.” “This is a House of 1000 Corpses Ripoff.” “This is blatantly ripping off PT.” “This is Silent Hill.” No. You’re all wrong. Never talk again. You want legitimate complaints, here you go:
There was, and still is , some extremely obscure bug with Nvidia cards where the Steam overlay literally will not work with the game. Multiple people reported it, I reported it and talked to Nvidia and got nowhere. This prevents all Steam functions from working – screenshots, streaming, Steam overlay, web browser, guides, achievements, literally everything. The only reason I even fixed the problem on my machine was on accident – I had to reinstall Windows as part of a video I did proving an alleged PS4 emulator was infested with malware.
Capcom has done nothing so far about that issue, and was slow to fix any other issues – when they were actively patching the game, they were fixing exactly 1 – 2 bugs per patch. They also dragged their feet when it came to old AMD Phenom processors (circa 2009). Capcom added support in the RE7 demo for outdated AMD Phenom processors , and the demo worked fine. When the game came out, these users had crashes within the first 20 minutes – all at the same spots. Capcom then had a PR guy come out and say “Your processor does not meet requirements and putting in this support in the demo was a mistake.” Then they had to backpedal and fix that. I thought it was hilarious.
My only complaint is that I’m still waiting for the free DLC that was supposed to continue the story and explain the ending. Other than this, I highly recommend this game if you are truly a fan of RE0, 1, 2, 3 and Code Veronica – or even Outbreak. It’s literally the same game, but in first person view.