Resident Evil has always been a precarious series for me. On the one hand, I have fond memories of watching my dad play through the first three games of the series and being terrified the entire time. On the other hand, I’ve had the abysmal experience of playing through Resident 5 and 6 and wondered if the series had lost the magic it once had. Resident Evil 4 was the best outing in the franchise but also misled it from what made it so wonderful. I don’t mind action in my horror games, but at some point there are so many Michael Bay-esque explosions that you can’t handle it anymore and want a different game altogether.
Horror is a genre that is difficult to master. What makes a game scary? Constant loud noises? Gross monsters? Terrible AI? It’s impossible to pinpoint what exactly makes a game scary. For me, it’s the constant feeling of dread and hopelessness that you feel for the character. When you have to scrounge around for anything to aid you and only find yourself in a worse position, it makes you feel uneasy and terrified. When PT was released August 2014, it managed to scare people so badly that it got cancelled. While Silent Hills will never happen (Thanks Konami) it opened the door to new possibilities in the horror genre that we hadn’t seen before. Now everybody wants a piece of the spooky house with weird things happening in it game and Capcom has definitely taken note of the competition that they are dealing with.
During E3, no one was expecting an announcement of Resident Evil 7, nor was anyone expecting the direction they were heading with the series. While the demo doesn’t reflect the final product, it gives us a good idea of what tone they are going for. The mystery that the demo created for me was the biggest draw. The demo almost feels like you’re walking through a scene of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, because of the rotting corpses that litter sections of the house and one of the main villains that pops up during one of the multiple endings. At the end you’re only left with “Welcome to the family” and questions on what in the world just happened.
I have a lot of faith in Capcom and Resident Evil 7 but I will still be weary. I got caught up in the hype for the last two main games in the series and was met with disappointment and atrocious AI companions. I’m hoping with this release we get more of a survival horror game, more loyal to the beginning of the series, instead of the shoot ‘em up fests that they have evolved into.
Resident Evil 7 will be a single player experience and will be released January 24, 2017.