Resident Evil 7 brings back the survival horror experience that fans have been yearning for since the series became action-oriented with the fourth main entry. While many elements from the first Resident Evil games can be found here such as the fight or flight gameplay, puzzle solving, and a lot of backtracking, some are hesitant to try the game because it might be too scary. This is due to the game’s in-your-face horror experience as the camera angle is now set in the first-person perspective. So, is the game too scary for wimps?
Note: This reviewer only mustered his strength to finish Resident Evil 4 back in 2005 for the PS2 after he managed to print a full walkthrough of the game. Doing this helped him familiarize the layout of each area to avoid scares and panics.
Resident Evil 7 Scare Factor
The monsters aren’t the main reason that Resident Evil 7 feels scary. The eerily quiet surroundings, the chilling atmosphere, and the constant fear of the unknown are some of the elements that make Resident Evil 7 feel horrifying.
Simply opening doors felt difficult to do as it feels something dreadful might jump up on your character. Unlike other games where doors can be fully opened by a quick button press, opening doors feels like an experience in Resident Evil 7. There are multiple ways to open doors.
A simple button press will open a door slightly, just enough to take a peek on what lies beyond the other room. Another button press is needed to fully open the door. Another way of opening doors is by manually pushing your character’s body towards the door to have control on how much you open it. There’s no bash button to fully open a door in one press, even if you sprint towards it.
What makes opening doors scary in the first place is that each room in the game looks abandoned. Some areas are also pitch-black, never allowing the player to completely see his entire surrounding. For this game, I’ve used the suggested brightness setting, and it is definitely the best way to experience the game. Those who find the game too scary can boost the brightness according to their liking; however, it makes the game look washed out.
While these frightening areas might be too much for scaredy cats, there’s barely any jump scares in these sections. Capcom should be applauded because the scare-factor relies on the player’s own imagination to instill fear.
Another thing that makes the game feel scary is the audio. Resident Evil 7 mainly relies on ambient sounds where players can hear each squeaking and cracking noise in the area. Players can even hear their footsteps as well as their enemies’.
The game also relishes on keeping the main enemies and their backstory feel as mysterious as possible, making it difficult for the player to anticipate what horrors may come their way. Making some of the foes undefeatable also amps up the tension, as players must avoid being spotted by these foes while they try to collect items and solve puzzles in the area.
While players can put these undefeatable enemies down temporarily with their weapons, players must also conserve their ammo for later enemy encounters. This forces players to try to cautiously sneak around these foes who are meticulously surveying the area.
The game constantly propels the character into haunting areas. Resident Evil 7 packs tension throughout the experience that it literally caused a minor headache for this reviewer. Frequent short breaks might be necessary for some to push forward.
The game isn’t terrifying throughout. The main enemies here, called the Molded, simply feels like tough distractions that prevent you from exploring the game’s areas. They’re not scary in any way and seeing one of these usually means players are in for a few minutes of blasting with their weapons.
Combat feels simple and stiff–similar to the first three Resident Evil games where players must run back and create enough space to shoot their foes before it reaches them. It’s a standard first-person shooter affair in these non-scary sections where the Molded enemies spawn. The latter half of the game also gets less scarier as it focuses more on avoiding traps and engaging in combat.
Resident Evil 7 is a masterful return to survival horror for the franchise. While the game may be too scary for some, it subtly comforts players that it won’t use jump scares to frighten them. Its interesting story will also compel players to play it through the end. Resident Evil 7 gets a 9 out of 10.
- Great use of first-person perspective to create tension
- Interesting and mysterious story
- Successful return to horror roots with enough puzzle solving segments to keep things interesting
- Memorable boss fights
- Frightening Areas
- Too scary
- Fighting the Molded feels like a chore
- The latter half of the game drops its eeriness for mindless action gameplay
- Too scary
Final Score: 9/10
Note: The reviewer played the PS4 version of the game without PlayStation VR. The reviewer purchased his own copy of the game.