Every time someone claims a video game will be the scariest game ever, I laugh. The only pixelated horror that ever terrified me was Superman 64, because I couldn’t believe something so awful was released to the general public. Given the opportunity to check out the Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, I didn’t expect too much. After all, this franchise has become like Police Academy, with a new cash-in being released every odd month until everyone wants to burn it with fire. The controversial Resident Evil 6 was nearly the final nail in this series’ coffin, so could this latest instalment save it from extinction?
The story introduces us to a new character named Ethan Winters, whose search for his missing wife, Mia, leads him to a derelict plantation mansion. Unlike previous RE characters, Ethan is an ordinary fellow who has the combat skills of a 12-year-old boy in a schoolyard shoving match. This actually makes for more entertainment since he could be anybody, really, and is far from ready for what awaits him in this hell.
Let’s get the controversial topic out of the way: the first-person perspective. Even though the gameplay’s different from before, don’t expect this to be another FPS. You’ll still need to solve puzzles and manage your resources in between combat scenarios. You might wonder what the point is then, but the developers’ decision pays off when you see how this mechanics complement this claustrophobic environment. Dying Light utilised the first-person gameplay decently enough, but its open world ended up being its downfall since you could see the scares a mile away. In Resident Evil 7, the realistic graphics, jumpy camera and first-person angle in a tight area pull you into the horror even more. There’s just something about dark, enclosed spaces that’ll make your skin crawl.
When it comes to horror I’m not a jumper. If something scares me, I sort of close my eyes and peek until the scene is over. Well, congratulations, Resident Evil 7, my girlfriend hates you because she has to wash my underwear. No matter how many damn doors you close behind you, you never really know if you’re alone. The creepy creaks and knocks on wood also don’t help settle your nerves, as you’re constantly on edge and looking over your shoulder. Quick tip: if you see someone walking in a particular direction, chances are they’ll make an appearance soon enough. It sounds dreadfully obvious, but I found it out in the worst way possible: a chainsaw attack to the gonads.
Overall, Resident Evil 7 is the most fun I’ve had where my heart’s longevity was seriously in question. It’s genuinely frightening and thrilling, sending you on a spine-chilling roller-coaster ride. Combine that with some of the best graphics ever seen on the PS4 and this survival horror’s already an early contender for Game of Year.