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The Resident Evil series has certainly seen its share of ups and downs over the years. As time went by the games started to put progressively more emphasis on action over horror, and when the time Resident Evil 6 rolled out it wasn’t exactly well received. Capcom apparently listened to their fans and decided to go back to RE’s horror roots. Which is why for nearly three years they have been developing Resident Evil 7. We have collected all the essential info, so you can see for yourself what kind of game it’s going to be.
Since times immemorial (which is to say good old 1996) core Resident Evil games have had a third-person perspective. It was a given, and little was changed over the years, other than how the camera behaved. And now Resident Evil 7 is coming up to mess with the proper order of things. And it may be one of the best things about this game, if the reactions are to be believed.
The first-person perspective taken up by RE 7 has two main advantages. One: it makes the game VR-friendly, and, indeed, VR-compatibility is an important point of interest for the developers. The second reason FPP is good is simple: immersion. Immersion has become sort of a buzzword recently, but it is absolutely essential for the horror genre. There is nothing quite like being limited to seeing only what’s ahead of you when you wish to establish a claustrophobic atmosphere, or even to throw some jump scares in. Merging the player’s and the character’s perspective works great for horror, which explains in part the popularity of the found footage genre (on this in a moment).
The third-person view works great for certain things, but there is little sense of dread when you feel like a voyeuristic puppeteer at worst or a movie audience at best. It can be, and has been, done to great effect, Silent Hill games are a testament to that. But by and large, FPP outperforms TPP in the horror-suitability department and Resident Evil finally decides to reach into this grab-bag of new tricks.
One of the most interesting features of Resident Evil 7 are going to be VHS tapes (AKA what people used to watch movies before the 21st century) left by a filming crew which visited the location sometime in the past. When we find a VCR we get to quite literally play the footage. As in: for a while we become one of the crew members and play through the events recorded on the tape. And it is going to be more than just a gimmick, too. It can give us clues about what is actually going on, as well some gameplay-relevant hint, like hidden levers etc.
RE7 takes some inspiration from the greatest in the genre. And it can be seen. A derelict mansion in the middle of nowhere, distinctly American in style, too, some ultraviolent residents hostile to visitors. There is a lot of potential here, and Resident Evil 7 clearly knows how to run with it.
A nice family dinner.
The developers intend to move slightly away from the zombieinfected horror and towards something more supernatural. It is an interesting direction and may nicely enrich the Resident Evil lore. And speaking of lore…
It has been confirmed, that RE7 is not a re-boot nor a re-make. It’s just RE, or more accurately, the next entry in the series. While the devs stated that the cameos from other entries are very unlikely at best, non-existent at worst, there will be connections to make. The familiar green herbs come back for another swing, now mixed into a healing concoction. Some easter eggs are likely to be found, but it remains unclear how story-essential they are going to be. Capcom purposefully keeps fans in the dark to maintain the sense of dreadful discovery.
There will be shooting in RE7, and there will be proper targets for your bullets, but rather than going for quantity, Capcom goes for quality. The enemies will be scarce, but each will pose a significant challenge, and a bit counter-intuitively won’t die even if you (apparently) kill them. If the scarce gameplay trailers are any hint, shooting your enemies will do better as a stalling tactic rather than a way to put them six feet under.
The decisions made by the developers may well lead to a revitalization of the franchise. Adopting FPP over TPP, moving back to Resident Evil’s horror roots, a new cast and themes rather than the recycled characters. RE7 may not be a reboot nor a remake, but it will definitely be a fresh start. Resident Evil 7 launches worldwide on 24 January 2017.
Sources: IGN Digital Spy Trusted Reviews Gamesradar