15 minutes with Resident Evil 7: Is this a return to form, or just a second rate P.T.?
Capcom has addressed complaints and steered Resident Evil in a new direction. Is this claustrophobic horror on course for a refreshing reboot, or should the iconic series stick to its guns?
This year's E3 conference was chock-full of surprises that many welcomed with open arms. One of the biggest surprises was the announcement of Resident Evil 7, the latest in the long-running survival horror franchise.
To say expectations are high is an understatement. In a move that mirrors Konami’s highly praised and sorely missed Silent Hills demo P.T, Capcom announced that a playable demo for Resident Evil 7 would drop on the PlayStation Store the moment the conference finished. Many, including myself, began downloading the demo immediately.
From what we have seen in the trailers and the demo itself, Resident Evil 7 will be a departure from the established framework created by its more recent predecessors.
With Resident Evil 7, Capcom has decided to ditch the action-heavy gameplay found in Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6, and has adopted a style that is reminiscent of games like Outlast and Amnesia. Like those games, the Resident Evil 7 demo is played through a first-person perspective and focuses more on exploration and story than big guns and explosions. Fans have been longing to return to the series' horror roots and changing up the gameplay for RE7 seems to be Capcom’s answer to that.
For the most part, Resident Evil 7's plot is still a mystery (even after several playthroughs of the demo), but here's what we could gather.
Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour, takes place in a derelict house in the American countryside. You play as an unknown protagonist who wakes up on the floor of the run-down house with a simple objective, get out of the house. To achieve this goal, you will be rummaging around the decaying home in search of a key, this exploration is where the game becomes interesting.
Depending on your level of curiosity, you may experience things other players will miss. You can just find the key and escape. That is a viable option with its own ending. Or, at your own risk, you can explore the property and try to uncover what mysteries lie within the rotten walls. Exploration has its own rewards and punishments, which grants the short demo with some replay value that the Resident Evil franchise is famous for.
As I have mentioned previously, the obvious comparison to the new Resident Evil demo is P.T., Konami’s Silent Hills demo. This is not an unfair comparison. Both games are from big companies who have created series that are loved by fans. Both games are answers to fans who are no longer happy with the direction the respective franchises were heading. Both have adopted a similar new style of gameplay. However, that's where the similarities end.
Unlike Resident Evil 7, P.T. was being created by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro, who are juggernauts in their respective industries and have their own distinct style that was on display within P.T. The Resident Evil 7 demo is lacking that "wow" factor that shocked P.T players last year. The changes implemented within Resident Evil 7 are welcomed, but it needs to differentiate itself from other games within the genre in order to be truly great.
Resident Evil 7 will be available on 14 January 2017 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, PC, and Xbox One.
Thomas Duff is a freelancer for finder who is currently knee-deep in Dark Souls II.