Review: An unhealthy bond, ‘Resident Evil 7: Biohazard’

“Resident Evil 7” is a game that almost perfectly captivates the play­er from beginning to end. With its survival mechanics and immersive and horrific atmosphere, it keeps you constantly at the edge of their seat. The playable character is Ethan Win­ters who is trying to find his wife, Mia, who has been missing for three years. Ethan receives a message from Mia and he sets out to find her and bring her home. Things do not go as planned and Ethan finds himself cap­tured by a deranged family, the Bak­ers. Now Ethan must find his way to freedom while trying to solve the mystery of his wife’s disappearance.

The success of the narrative is strongly due to the immersion of the setting. In a horror game, it is impor­tant to have the player in a state of distress and “Resident Evil 7” takes full advantage of that distress. Every element in the game is surreal. From the dimly lit hallways to the music that changes with the situation — withering when things are nonthreat­ening and immediately spiking to violent when the situation becomes dangerous.

The survival elements of the gameplay also showcase the immer­sion. Being a survival first-person shooter game, resources such as ammo and health are scarce, causing players to be more cautious when using them. This lack of resources proves even more prominent in the game difficulty mode, madhouse, causing the game to become insane­ly harder. In madhouse mode, ene­mies have more health, weapons do less damage and the items in the game are also scattered — resulting in a loss of sense of familiarity with­in the game that promotes replay­ability.

The characters — or rather, the villains — help push the plot around. The game takes place on the prop­erty belonging to the Baker family, who are responsible for kidnapping Ethan. They give off a “Texas Chain­saw Massacre” vibe with their can­nibalistic ways, southern accents and the farm setting. Each Baker is both terrifying and exhilarating. For ex­ample, early in the game, Jack Baker will pursue the player and is unkill­able. This makes Jack taunt the play­er whenever they try to stop him. In another fight with Jack, the player has the option to use a vehicle against him — if the player is not fast enough, Jack will take the car and use it against them instead.

Besides the Bakers, there are also other enemies that Ethan must watch out for, such as the Molded that serve as the game’s repeating enemy. At first, these creatures are terrifying with their monstrous and gooey fea­tures, however the feeling wanes as the player constantly faces these crea­tures that have little to no variety among them.

This lack of variety causes the gameplay to become repetitive. The Molded have only one primary move: Get close and attack. The combat then quickly turns into a game of keep away, keeping the Molded at a distance while shooting them to stun and kill them.

Despite these few negatives, “Res­ident Evil 7” is an amazing game. As part of the horror genre, it nails its immersive atmosphere and has replay value that make it a must play for both fans of the series and of horror.

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