Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Xbox One Review

March 9, 2021 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Game: Resident Evil 7  Publisher: Capcom  Developer: Capcom  Genre: Horror  Players:

Age Rating: 18+ Other console/handheld formats: PS4  Related Sites: Capcom, Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is without a doubt one of the scariest games I have played in a long time, probably since I played the GameCube REmake, and Amnesia. Action, for the most part, has taken a back step with the focus being on horror, with lots of atmosphere and build up of tension as you walk around a rundown shack of a house, uncovering its dark secrets.

I don’t scare easily, but here I did. Every time an enemy jumped out on me while I was mindlessly exploring, I gave a squeal of surprise, even actually screamed a couple of times. You might think these jump scares are cheap, but Resident Evil 7 is still able to rebuild any lost tension and give you a good scare a second, third or fourth time; I previously wrote about why I believe jumpscares in games work better than in films. There’s little in variety in enemies in Resident Evil 7, but what are here certainly made me feel hesitant to continue exploring, in a good way.

You play as Ethan, not the most prominent character in the game considering he is the hero of the story, but his grounded personality is a change from the usual smart-alecky hero, and serves as a stark contrast to the villains, who act aggressive and loony. Ethan is out looking for his girlfriend, Mia, who has been missing for three years. He soon comes across a creepy house and ventures inside. Ethan manages to find Mia quite quickly, but things aren’t exactly what they seem…

Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7 is oozing with atmosphere.

Gameplay-wise, you play from the first person perspective, giving you an even closer view of all the horror. Unlike the last couple of Resident Evil game outings, here the environments are a little more open to exploration; go here, find an object, go there, use said item, discover something else, maybe backtrack a bit. While open to exploration, environments still feel claustrophobic, even more so considering, in the same vein as RE2 and RE3, you are pursued by an enemy, and in such tight spaces too. Thankfully you’re given a bit more breathing room (in that there are sections where you can explore freely uninterrupted), but when enemies are on the lookout for you, they can still be relentless in trying to hunt you down. You can hide from enemies and crouch down to lessen the noise of your steps as you sneak away, but one mechanic that would have been appreciated here would have been the ability to peek around corners. It can be difficult to pinpoint where enemies are when you are hiding, and I found myself running into them from time to time, but it all adds to the scare and panic factor the game successfully creates.

Inventory management is back, and as is typical of any Resi game, there is a plethora of weapons and items for you to collect. Lockpicks, herbs and first aid sprays are all here, as is the ability to examine and combine items. You can also collect maps as well as guns, which are all typical of Resident Evil – 9mm handgun, the very important shotgun, grenade launcher, machine gun. You can also craft ammo by combining gunpowder and chemical fluid. Ethan can also find psychostimulants that help him to discover item locations, and can also use stabilizers and steroids to increase max health and defense, useful against tough enemies. As you play, you can also find collectible antique coins, which can be used in coin-operated bird cages that house useful items, such as the aforementioned stabilizers, steroids and, in one cage, the handy-dandy Magnum gun.

The first half of Resident Evil 7 is the best part and the most relatable, taking place inside a rundown house and building apprehension with creaking background noises, out of sight footsteps and all things that go bump in the night. Puzzles make a brief return as well, with special keys needed to open particular doors. The game is very reminiscent of the Resident Evil’s of old, and does a good job of incorporating old mechanics and giving them a slight new twist.

The second half of the game is where gameplay becomes a lot more action focused, à la Resident Evil 4. At least in Resident Evil 7 it doesn’t feel overly repetitive, and enemies are here to hinder your progress while exploring and solving puzzles as opposed to slowing down gameplay by coming at you in their droves – the balance of enemy combat and gameplay is a lot better here.

Resident Evil 7

The Baker family are always hot on your heels.

For those longing for more, there are also two DLC’s you can play, one in which you take control of Chris Redfield in Not a Hero, the other being End of Zoe, in which you control the brother of one of the enemies of the main game. These DLC’s are more action-oriented, but are different enough from each other that they both give a different play experience; I was surprised that, in End of Zoe, you basically run around punching the lights out of enemies!

In a long-running franchise you’ll definitely get some hits and misses, and Resident Evil 5 & 6, while playable, were still definitely misses, but Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a huge turnaround for the series, and with Resident Evil 8 on the way, hopefully that trend will continue.