Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – Review (Xbox One)

resident-evil-7Alright, finally finished the main game in Resident Evil 7 and I’m actually curious to play through to see the other path through the game. In the end, the game was quite enjoyable even if I wasn’t wholly impressed with everything it had to offer. But let’s get more into detail on that.

Gameplay: 4/5 – In all, I think the gameplay was as good as  first-person game could be. Nothing really blew me away but I never lost track of what all the buttons did. The guard-mechanic was honestly not that central (except for the one part in the game where you absolutely had to use it). The inventory management also wasn’t nearly as big of a hassle as in prior games. I maybe got a little frustrated how hard it was to hit enemies sometimes (though that was probably intentional).

Graphics: 3½/5 – I gotta be frank, I wasn’t really a fan of the game’s aesthetics. There was at least a little bit of variety but it’s clear that the game was intentionally referencing back to the looks of some prior games, mainly the first two (though there was something slightly hearkening to RE5 as well). The people just looked terrible, I miss the semi-caricaturish, semi-realistic look of RE4 – 6 and, especially at the beginning of the game, the aesthetic seemed to mimic modern first person horror games. In the end, there’s nothing really horribly wrong with the graphics and nothing too distracting, I was just hoping the locales, enemies and characters would have been a bit more interesting.

Animation: 4½/5 – The game is quite cinematic in spite of its first-person perspective but in a vast improvement over RE6, I think the cinematic qualities aren’t as distracting. The game really gets under your skin at the beginning. So while I’m definitely not a fan of the game aping modern first person horror games, I do think the shock factor works (at least innitially). However, there are some inherent problems resulting from this view-angle, but they are admittedly not worth mentioning.

Music: 3½/5- Resident Evil’s never had the most showy soundtracks and so in this regard the game stays on track. I like the save room tunes and when the music indicates danger but that’s about it.

Sound: 3/5 – After some excellent performances in the last three games, I’m afraid to admit that the dialogue and acting is very vanilla (even if the zombie hillbillies are quite upsetting).

Replay value: 4/5 – The game goes through stages of being a nail-biting escape scenario, to being a puzzle shooter to actually just being an old-school RE game, just in first person. Strangely though, I found myself enjoying pretty much every segment of the game and there was even some really clever puzzle solving which made me happy. I think the game could have taken your helplessness against enemies even further (you eventually reach a point where you can kill enemies quite effortlessly) but it’s also nice that the game hasn’t completely lost touch with its roots either.

Score: 75% – I think Resident Evil as a franchise has started its rocky road to recovery on a good first step. My biggest complaint about the game really has nothing to do with its gameplay and almost entirely with the aesthetic, which honestly felt really removed from the series innitially. Most importantly though, it’s another true to its name survival horror game.

I would have appreciated a bit more recognisable characters or locations (possibly even a few monsters) but the game over-all is still really enjoyable. Nothing about it is really outstanding in my view – but it’s a genuinely scary game with a good atmosphere, nice puzzles and a little bit of monster shooting fun. Worth a try if you were disappointed with RE6 but maybe not the first Resident Evil you should try.