Friday, September 15, 2017

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

The only other Resident Evil game I've played is the excellent 4th installment, but I had heard good things about the 7th. It tells the story of Ethan on the search for his wife Mia . She went missing and sent him a cryptic message telling him to forget about her and to avoid coming to look for her. So of course he goes searching for her, leading him to the dilapidated Baker family plantation house. Right when he walks up to the property, something is clearly wrong. Blood stained saws, bones, and other macabre decoration are hung around the property, bringing to mind the twisted Sawyer family of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The story is basically Ethan stumbling around the property, running into various family members and trying to find out what happened to Mia.

The game play is pretty fun. Along the way, you pick up weapons, medicine, various Baker family artifacts, videotapes, and other resources to survive. Sometimes you get ingredients to make ammo, medicine, fuel, and other resources. It adds a choice to create what you need, which is good, but sometimes I make the wrong decisions. I like the variety of weapons, which include handguns, a shotgun, a flame thrower, a grenade launcher, an assault rifle, remote bombs, When watching videotapes, you play as whoever is in the tape to learn how to deal with a future situation. It's kind of cool playing someone you know dies or becomes caught by the family. There are also some puzzles to solve that break up the point and shoot mold. Most of the game is shooting villains and snooping through things for items.

The terrain is creepy all around. The house is disgusting with hordes of trash and broken items. The sinks, refrigerators, and random boxes always have rotted meat of some kind or bugs. The family made the house into what they wanted, closing off some doors with boards and barbed wire. Some doors have markings or figures on it like a scorpion or a snake that needs the same type of key to open. The top floors of the house are like any house, but the basement holds a processing area with a dissection room, a morgue, and an incinerator. This part of the house is also often encased in black rot that will spread as the game goes on. Other locales include an older house, a boat house, a testing area, a huge wrecked ship, and finally the salt mines. The older house is much more dilapidated than the main house with huge parts of it caved in. The rickety walk up to it is lined in baby doll parts and the house is full of flying bug nests. Every part of the set was well crafted to make the creep factor sky high.

There are a variety of villains in the game. The main villains appear to be the Baker family. The patriarch Jack antagonizes you through the first part of the game. The whole family are some kind of zombie that is incredibly hard to kill. Even gunshots to the head barely phase them. The Jack fights are usually fending him off until he challenges you to a chainsaw duel. You wield a normal chainsaw while he has two gigantic chainsaws that are crossed to make scissors. When he's beaten, he returns in a more monstrous form than before. His wife Marguerite is no less imposing and also returns in a grotesque form. Their psychotic son Lucas pops up later with a Saw-type sadistic game that you first see in a tape and then try to avoid the pitfalls that killed the previous person. He taunts you through most of the game with phone calls while his sister Zoe tries to help you.

Other smaller villains include the Molded, which are much easier to dispatch. They are tall and strong with huge teeth and large claws. They are covered with the black rot and can vary in ability. Some crawl on the floor and move quickly while others are stronger but slower moving. They are ever present while the big baddies show up once in a while. Bugs can also attack, especially Marguerite's swarming flying ones that can do a surprising amount of damage.

The horror in the game can be serious like the dread the setting and Molded bring. Other parts of it can be incredibly cheesy and over the top. In one of the first scenes of the game, Ethan's hand is chopped off and then sewn back on. During the chainsaw duel with Jack, he saws Ethan's foot off and you have to think quick to reattach it with the help of medicine. Those moments made me laugh out loud. Lots of different types of horror and tropes are included like a creepy clown automaton, a creepy child with a strange power, a psycho redneck family, and sadistic games that end in murder.

Resident Evil 7 is a fun game that kept me on the edge of my seat. If anyone came into my room while I played it, I jumped because the atmosphere is so well crafted. The music amps up when something will pop out at you and some parts of the game feel safe, which more seasoned players may not like. The only problems I had were with some of the boss fights that were hard to figure out what I was supposed to do, the final boss fight is too easy, and the overall look of the animation. Other than that, this crazy game has so much I like about the horror genre.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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