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Opinion: Is Resident Evil VII Actually A Real Resident Evil Game?

Since Resident Evil VII’s exciting reveal earlier this year, the discovery that it will be fully playable in VR and more recently additional plot and gameplay details we’ve been wondering actually how true to the franchise the game will be? As many have noted including our own Nick Barlow - whose playthrough of the released demo found that to be atmospheric and creepy, yet distinctly un-Resident Evil like – the game seems be something of a divergence and potentially a fresh start for the series, but is that a negative or a brilliant way to breathe life into something that has, in more recent times, relied too heavily on action set-pieces and lost the true fright we all experienced playing earlier franchise entries?

Well actually yes, it’s probably a fantastic thing to be doing.

Whilst hard-core fans have played the likes of 5 & 6, which really focused on going out there with action and plot, they just felt like gears of war clones with a Resi skin on top and lost the true character of the series. Even Resident Evil 4 often lauded for being the high point in terms of its marriage of both gameplay and horror was a step away from the true heart of the series. This of course showed, as critically the games became less well received as time went on.

With such dingy aesthetics first person is sure to be unsettling
Clearly Capcom is aware of this and they want to put Resident Evil back at the forefront of the survival horror genre, to do this it seems they’ve decided to look at fundamentally, ‘what is’ Resident Evil and how can that be built into something fresh yet classic. The answer is a simple one, immersion, the brave move to take the game away from its third person, claustrophobic roots and force you to visually embody your character is a brilliant one. This change of view point makes the horror even more personal, the scares even closer and of course with the games ability to be played in VR a potentially horrific pant-wettingly terrifying experience.

Couple this with a return to the more restrictive, less action focused theology of the original game, forcing you to deal with unbearable, unknown odds with very limited weaponry at your disposal and almost nowhere to hide guarantees overwhelming tension and dread. Not only this but it seems that you’re likely to play a character unversed in these threats – unlike previous games STARS members – suggesting an inherit weakness and defenselessness that we rarely see within games these days. This is exactly what Resident Evil should feel like and if anything seems more true to Survival Horror than anything the franchise has produced.

Nope, Nope, Nope...
Capcom have confirmed that the game will still feature the puzzles and mystery that we all love, but as of yet seemingly this game will stand alone. Whilst it may be a numbered entry in the franchise it appears that this is potentially a fresh start for the beloved franchise with a story that doesn’t link to past entries and may very well stand on its own both in terms of its new gameplay and the horrors that lay within. It’s critical to note too, that at no point has the word ‘zombie’ been uttered with the games antagonists referred to a mutants, unsettling for sure and clearly Capcom are sticking true to a focus of revitalising the franchise with the unknown.

We think Resident Evil 7 will transcend the name, this is not simply another entry within the franchise, it’s a re-imagining of what Resident Evil stands for and a smart move by Capcom. This is a true return to survival horror and one that has been a long time overdue not only for series fans, but for survival horror fans in general. The king is back, and it’s Evil.

What are your thoughts on the new Resident Evil, do you feel it’s too far removed from the franchise or do you welcome this change of pace and returns to roots? Let us know in the comments.

Ben Corbett-Mills | @benleopards

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