With the newest update to Resident Evil 7’s wonderfully chilling demo – suitably titled ‘Midnight’ – and ahead of the January 24th release, I thought I’d go through the several reasons that I’m pumped to give Capcom’s latest entry into the survival horror series a go. Five, in fact. Here they are:
1. first person camera
For anybody who’s been following Resi 7’s trickle of information since announcement, it should come as no surprise that the game places you firmly in the shoes of your protagonist by forcing the player to share their view.
This is first time this has happened in the series, and I for one think the change in perspective to a first person camera is a genius idea – and I’m sure anybody who’s played the demo would agree. The in-your-face scares and atmospheric environments of this newest instalment simply wouldn’t play out as well with the traditionally third person camera, and that’s coming from somebody who absolutely loves the original title and its fixed cameras. Take the Blair Witch-ish segment in the demo, for example: could that really have replicated the terror it managed of descending into the basement if we viewed the character from an elevated, slightly angled perspective? I think not. For a game striving to fully push the ‘horror’ elements it was once known for, I think this radical new step is one firmly in the right direction.
2. new characters
We all love Resident Evil 4’s poster boy Leon, or the burly Chris Redfield, and even Jill ‘Sandwich’ Valentine. But the thing is, trying to create a sense of terror with a character already familiar with this universe simply wouldn’t work; where new protagonist Ethan would run and hide, one of the aforementioned figures would snort some herbs and charge in headfirst. It’s a pretty successful storytelling trope to have the protagonist learn of this world as the audience does, and the terrifying Baker family of Resident Evil 7 are going to seem even more so when coupled with the helplessness of a fresh-faced lead.
3. non-linear storytelling
I couldn’t believe how clever the videotapes of Resident Evil 7 could be when it came to telling the story of the game, and then I finally got around to playing the Opening Hour demo. It’s been confirmed that the full game will have several of these tapes, and that they may even change up certain gameplay elements as you play them.
What’s truly ingenious, however, is that the tapes all take place within the areas you’ll be traversing throughout the main game. In the demo, this meant that you learnt how to open a secret doorway into the cellar, even though it simultaneously terrified you into doing so. In the full game, this could be expanded upon to explain how many victims the Baker family has taken over the years, and how grisly each of their demises were. Not only does this break up the pacing of the game, but it adds character depth and could even play a crucial role in puzzle solving. Super spooky stuff.
4. Genuinely scary enemies
I don’t know about you, but once I’ve mowed down hordes of zombies, they start to become part of the scenery. Sure, everybody (including me) loves Resident Evil 4. The thing is, even that suffered from zombie fatigue after not too long. Where Resident Evil 7 hopes to change this is with the Baker family. Hearkening back to the original instalment, where every encounter was a challenge, this seventh game pits you primarily against the Bakers as you navigate your way around their compound.
Of course, there’s other more biological enemies, like the basement dwelling beast in the latest demo update, but it’s Jack Baker – the father of the family – who inspires the most fear. If you can imagine a mix of Jason Voorhees and Leatherface, but with a lot more menacing dialogue, you’re not far off. Couple this with the fact they’re seemingly immune to traditional forms of weaponry, and you’ve got a family to be reckoned with.
5. Returning to the roots
It might seem strange that one of the things I’m looking forwards to with Resident Evil 7 was originally found in the original Resident Evil, but it’s a sign that Capcom are headed in the right direction and listening to the fans. It’s been confirmed that the upcoming title with see the return of the Item Box – a key gameplay mechanic that handled inventory management.
Not only does the box itself mark a nice nod to the game’s roots, but its presence hints at the fact we’ll be getting a much more methodical, puzzle-orientated game this time around. In the brief clip below, you can see how the player has a “stone statuette” tucked away in the box, along with some ammo. This surely shows that the new game intends on forcing players to conserve ammunition where necessary, as well as manage their items in order to bring only what’s needed with them. Remember in the original title, where you’d push a statue off the banister, only to shatter it and retrieve a gem from inside? Expect that kind of puzzling.
So these are the five reasons I’m really anticipating the new Resident Evil – how about you? Feel free to comment below on why you’re just as excited as I am, or even if you’re cautious about the new direction the series is being taken. And remember the game’s out on the 24th of January next year (barring any delays), so it’s not long before we finally have our hands on it!