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Resident Evil VII Biohazard: First Play Thoughts

 *Minor Spoilers for the game's opening plot follow*

As a long standing fan of the series, I was apprehensive, yet excited to pick up Resident Evil VII. After playing the demo, over and over, with all the various intricate updates, and watching as many YouTube videos as I could on the game, I fired up my PS4 to delve myself into absolute horror and dread, and I'm glad to say, I was not disappointed. Whilst fairly cliche the scene the game set's lines up a believable and substantially less over the top story than more recent entries of the franchise have given us. Lead character Ethan, sets off to find his 'missing' wife Mia, we quickly learn she's been missing for the last three years, but she's gotten in touch, seemingly out of the blue and as a result, we find ourselves in the bayous of the deep dark south. I'm currently about 4 hours into the game, and there is a fantastic constant feeling of tension created, interestingly enough, not through music, but intelligent sound design. There always seems to be a thud, or a scraping from somrwhere, and when needed, the diminished string quartet crescendo to add emphasis. This simple use of poignant musical flourishes throughout really amplifies the dread. 

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard's prologue, helps you briefly learn the mechanics, and makes sure you learn them quickly. The focus isn't so much on the weapon play, but more on your ability to stay alive. You're thrown in the deep end and I found the first couple of events, probably the most intense and terrifying of any horror game I've ever played. I won't got into details, but yeah, shit.

Not the kind of family dinner you want to be 'invited' to!

A huge change from its predecessors, the first person view is a refreshing and immersive change of pace, that helps Resident Evil VII standout, yet it still feels distinctly like Resident Evil. The game retains the series' distint survival elements, with inventory management, and scavenging vital to your chance of suriving. You'll find the occasional herb, or handgun ammo, but your choice to save or consume, fight or flight really does make the difference in some circumstances and forces you to - in classic Resident Evil fashion - weigh up the value of everything. There's no doubt, I am hugely impressed with Resident Evil VII so far, and I'm very keen to 'survive' through the rest of the story to see where it all meets up. This game will absolutely have you on the edge of your seat, watching your back and doing the utmost you can to stay alive. If you're willing to give yourself a fright, and love the constant feeling of dread, it's right up your street (or weird abandoned Louisiana plantation mansion). End note: I will absolutely not be playing this in VR! It's terrifying enough without!

Nick Barlow | @nickybarlow

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