After a slate of terrible Resident Evil games over the past couple years, CAPCOM has promised us a “Return to the series roots” and at first glance Resident Evil 7 Biohazard seems to do just that but dig a little deeper and the game feels like a mash-up of 80’s Horror movies with Resident Evil slapped on the title. The story was interesting…when it existed…you have the generic save the girl storyline in the beginning but then it grinds to a halt while you work your way through an ever-winding labyrinth and picks up again towards the end of the game. Now don’t get me wrong, the level design is fantastic and there are certain areas which give a really nice call back to the original Resident Evil games (even some written references here and there).
The most obnoxious part of the game is the persistent enemies, they very quickly went from being a heart-racing attempt at avoiding getting killed to “Oh great, this guy…again!”, the horror just stopped being there because the enemies showed up so much and with so little downtime in-between that they just became an inconvenient nuisance. Almost as annoying as the boss battles themselves, without spoiling too much, one in particular would have the game prompting to do a chainsaw thrust attack whenever the enemy was ‘down’ only problem is the chainsaw thrust attack did bugger all, the solution in the end was just to wail on the boss with a chainsaw as if you were Leatherface himself. All this wouldn’t be so bad if there wasn’t so few enemy types in the game, hell not even Resident Evil’s iconic Zombie Dogs made an appearance, additionally there was an eerie lack of ambient noise throughout the game something that could have really been used to increase the intensity of upcoming encounters or generally creep you out as you explore the derelict environments.
There were also parts in the game where it would force you to stop or wait for certain events to happen like npcs showing up, whilst on the topic of npcs let’s talk about character development…yeah…there’s none, you have the crazy girlfriend, the idiot that goes after her and the other seriously screwed up individuals who make an appearance and that is essentially the extent of what we know of all the characters throughout the whole game besides some minor attempts to push the plot forward, honestly the way the characters were acting it started to feel like one of those poorly written $20 Steam horror games there was no connection to the characters whatsoever, the original Resident Evil games did a far better job with character development besides the infamously poorly written dialogue.
Overall the game feels like it’s missing that Resident Evil charm, an effort was clearly made to bring it closer to the original Resident Evil games with the puzzles, references and level design but it just doesn’t feel like it’s quite there, if it were a standalone title then sure, it would be a rather decent horror game but as a Resident Evil title it just doesn’t feel like a part of the series, the soul of Resident Evil is just not there, it was more like a mashup of 80’s horror movie elements with Resident Evil sprinkled on top to give it an excuse to join the series, where’s the vast Resident Evil creature design, more fleshed out characters? Add on the fact that the average playtime for the game is around 6-8 hours it just doesn’t feel worth it’s standard Triple A release price. Here’s the part where I do a 180 on the whole review…the game IS good, it has good horror elements when they are not being overused, level design is fantastic and the game is graphically pleasing but their attempt to reign back the feel of Resident Evils of old ultimately failed and as a sequel it has to be judged on that, if there is to be any positives from this game it is that it is a huge improvement on the previous two games in the series, CAPCOM are heading in the right direction but they are just not there yet.
- Fantastic Level Design
- Has a good number of horror elements
- Graphically well designed
- Obnoxious persistent enemies
- Random pauses in gameplay while NPCs catchup or events trigger
- Lacking the feel of the Resident Evil franchise
- Poor enemy design and variation
- Lacking story throughout
- Poor Character Development
- Lack of ambient noise