Resident Evil 7 Speculations
Upon viewing the trailer for Resident Evil 7, admittedly it did leave me foaming at the mouth and I couldn’t wait to play the demo – has Capcom finally given us ardent fans the Resident Evil we have been waiting for? The answer? Sort of. While at this stage it is difficult to judge the entire game based on a few minutes of gameplay, the demo teaser we were given certainly says a lot in terms of where the series could be heading.
After the recent action packed outings, I love the slower pace of the opening of Resident Evil 7. You awake to find yourself alone in a dilapidated house, and it is your mission to escape, but it’s not as simple as it seems. The tension and suspense is definitely back in those opening moments, though whether this continues throughout the game remains to be seen. I also love the realism of the game and how it is rooted in a reality that is much more relatable. With a lot of popular zombie games these days, the focus is very much on realism and ordinary people, and the Resident Evil 7 demo has captured that well. The demo also showcases an eerie and claustrophobic atmosphere, something Resident Evil has been lacking for so many years. I felt emotionally joyous when I was exploring the house, picking up items, examining items, accessing the inventory that has now been much more simplified and is back to having a set number of slots as opposed to the attache that became popular in Resident Evil 4. It certainly gave me a sense that I was finally playing a Resident Evil game…. for the most part.
I would like to focus on other positives of the game, that being the gameplay. Not much was shown, though it does seem to have a new feature in which you are able to make multiple choices that affect the outcome. Upon starting the game, you explore the house, find some items and use them in some way, and you’ll get an ending and the demo will finish. You can then start the demo again, only this time upon exploring the house, you can try to do things in a different order and it will affect the outcome – will you get killed, will you survive? I’ve read articles, one of which you can read here, that also mention there are many smaller details that you can find, such as a ghost popping up here and there and mannequins turning to look at you or moving. A video you find serves as a type of time travel device and, as you watch the video, you control the main character as he and two others first enter the house, and it is certainly clever in how whatever choices you make in the video universe affects what happens to you in the present. There are many details to search for in the demo and it offers a lot of replayability to find all the little secrets and it strongly encourages exploration, with some puzzle solving, something that has also been lacking in recent Resi titles. At one point I was so immersed I was actually startled by a jumpscare (a good jumpscare), and it is extremely rare for that to happen to me considering I am an avid horror fan and have been pretty much desensitised to scares – at least I thought so.
I was going to write about the similarities of the new Resi to PT Silent Hills, as most players of the demo have already done, though having read more articles regarding Resident Evil 7, it seems that the demo is more of a representation of how the main game will play, with Capcom confirming to Eurogamer that the demo is not actually part of the game itself and will feature a different story and lead character. The demo, it seems, is there to show off the different mechanics, such as the way in which you collect multiple items and use them, the aforementioned inventory, weapons that might be featured, the first-person view, the multiple choices. Capcom also told Eurogamer there will be a lot less emphasis on gunplay, meaning that you could be using whatever you find at your disposal to protect yourself, such as the axe you can discover in the demo. Fans will be glad to know that Capcom have also said the game will be taking place all in one location, in the wilderness of Louisiana. This means that there could potentially be many puzzles for you to solve, and lots of backtracking as you move back and fourth between different areas as was the case in the early Resident Evil games – because of this, I wonder if crimson head zombies will make a return… It has been confirmed, however, that herbs will also be featured once again.
As fun as the demo is, as mentioned at the start, it is difficult to judge the final game based on the demo, especially now it has been confirmed that what is featured here is not going to be in the main game itself. Some of the mechanics used in the demo will possibly be staying, though you can say goodbye to Clancy, Andre and the other unnamed guy. As for the villain in the demo, it is not confirmed whether he will be staying either, though it seems unlikely to be the case.
It has also been confirmed that Resident Evil 7 still takes place in the same universe as the other games and is set after Resi 5 and 6, though whether the main characters will be making an appearance is not certain. However, if Capcom is looking to rebuild the game, as Koushi Nakanishi told Eurogamer, they probably want to keep the realism of Resi 7 and the outlandishness of the other games set apart, at least for now, so it is possible none of the other characters may feature. However, looking closely at the E3 trailer, and the fact the game ‘welcomes you to the family’, it seems Resident Evil 7 could be set around events involving the Spencer family.
Whatever the case may be, it seems Resident Evil 7 is certainly going to make for a refreshing change to the series, and a much needed one at that. Hopefully this will pave the way for new characters to take centre stage and will take the story in a different direction, offering something new but also going back to what made Resident Evil so great in the first place. I have concerns that perhaps some elements of the game could be so different that it will be at the other end of the scale now – trying so hard to get away from its emphasis on action and becoming too much like Silent Hill instead – that it still won’t feel like a Resident Evil game once again. Still, Capcom seem to be making a lot of effort to appease old fans and bring in new ones, and this could just be the Resident Evil to do that, and revive the series as a whole.