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Posted by on Apr 17, 2017

Everything Wrong With Resident Evil 7

Everything Wrong With Resident Evil 7

Since Resident Evil 7 has been credited with reviving Capcom’s horror franchise, I’d like to play devil’s advocate and bring up my thoughts on this so-called revival.

I may get a lot of flack for this, but just hear me out. First thing’s first, I did not finish Resident Evil 7. I would’ve rather tear my eyes out than try to force myself to keep playing. Second, I played the PS4 version, so some of the points I will touch may or may not reflect the Xbox One or PC versions.

While most of the gaming world has been seemingly praising the latest numbered chapter in the long running Resident Evil franchise as a return to the roots of the horror genre, I, for one, didn’t enjoy it. At all.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Resident Evil fan. I played almost all RE games (except Gaiden). I even enjoyed Survivor and Dead Aim. I loved Resident Evil 3: Nemesis so much that I’d play it over and over until I memorized everything. But I couldn’t stomach this one. Not because of the scares (which there was none; I’ll elaborate on that later), but it was tediously boring.

After a few hours (roughly five hours) of forcing myself to try and enjoy it, I let my feelings know via my Twitter account (which you can see below). Surprisingly, only one troll decided to call me “childish”. I still don’t know why I’m childish for thinking something sucks? Nevertheless, I didn’t bother finding out as I blocked him on the spot.

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: whether you admit it or not, Resident Evil 7 is a blatant P.T. clone; obviously more elaborate as Capcom’s game is a complete (that’s questionable) game. Capcom was smart because once they saw that Konami wouldn’t capitalize (for whatever reason) on the surprising success of what was to become Silent Hills, they saw how it got people talking and was very “in demand.”

Development for Resident Evil 7 began in February 2014, a few months before P.T. would invade PS4s all across the world. While we have no idea what was the general idea for the game in the early stages, it wouldn’t be surprising that Capcom went back to the drawing board after the release of P.T.. Admittedly, this cannot be confirmed nor denied, however it’s a big coincidence.

Jun Takeuchi, executive producer for Resident Evil, briefly mentioned that in order to bring back the horror, a first person perspective was the way to achieve that. But wait a minute. If you don’t consider Survivor and Dead Aim (which were designed as lightgun games), none of the previous Resident Evil games were from a first person’s point of view and they still manage to creep up scares all across the world. Ditto for Silent Hill, Clock Tower and any other horror franchises you can think of from the past. While, they might have brought up this idea, I firmly believe P.T.’s success confirmed Capcom’s idea of going with the perspective’s of the protagonist.

While on the subject of the first person perspective, it feels forced for VR’s sake. Anybody who’s played a first-person shooter can not vouch that RE7 plays like a fluid and fast first person experience. Capcom’s lack of experience with the FPS genre shows (I wouldn’t expect anything this sluggish from Infinity Ward or id Software for example). The more I played, the more I felt like it was moving sluggishly and didn’t feel as fluid as most shooters. The camera movement does feel adapted for VR and unfortunately, it makes for a poor experience for those who do not care about VR.

Next point will be short and sweet: what Ethan does is not running. When you’re trying to escape by “running”, it feels more like a casual quick walk. I can fully understand that Ethan is not a fully trained soldier, but I assume that most anyone can run faster than that. Especially under the circumstances the game puts him through.

The person responsible for Ethan’s English voiceover work sounds “lifeless”, emotionless even. For someone under such a stressful situation, he sure does sounds bored and not one bit terrified. How is this suppose to help me feel scared? Early on in the game, Ethan finds Mia and attempts to escape with her. Strangely, he doesn’t sound scared nor stressed out, which is surprising considering the circumstances he finds himself in. While his lover sounds petrified, worried and looking for a way out, our emotionless hero calmly asks her what’s going on. Good news, however, if you speak fluent Japanese or don’t mind subtitles, the Japanese voiceovers featured a more “frightened” and enjoyable Ethan.

Unfortunately, there were no scares, as far as I’m concerned. The game tried, but there was no tense atmosphere. With an emotionless protagonist, how am I suppose to feel “scared”? Being chased by one of the crazy family members just brings an annoying feel to the game that wasn’t felt in previous iterations. Honestly, I’ve had more scares in the Outlast 2 demo, which lasted a measly 30 minutes, than I’ve had in my time with Resident Evil 7. After deciding that I can’t force myself anymore, I returned to Resident Evil REmake which had more scares.

And to add to that, another reason with Resident Evil 7 isn’t scary (and doesn’t work with a first person perspective): you can see what’s coming ahead. While I willingly admit screaming like a little girl on multiple occasions during the Outlast 2 demo, it’s because Outlast is all about the supernatural and stuff that comes out of thin air. If a zombie manifests itself out of thin air in this type of game, it’s a glitch. What made Resident Evil scary, at least the earlier entries, was the fixed camera. Certain angles allowed players to have a full perspective on the room they’re investigating. Other times, camera angles were set so that you’d be jumped (and legitimately scared out of your wits) by a Hunter. Now that’s scary. Turn a corner while the camera changes perspective and end up nose to nose with a giant ass hairy spider? Now that’s fucking horrifying. Having a Resident Evil game with a first person view is counter-effective. It’s the same reason Resident Evil Survivor and Resident Evil Dead Aim (while shooting) weren’t scary.

This next point, maybe I just got unlucky, but there was questionable collision detection at times. The worst part being in the garage. Before I could figure out that I needed to use the car, Jack happily jumped in it in an attempt to run me over. Considering that Ethan does not run like a normal gaming character, I did my best to gauge Jack’s random behavior behind the wheel. Often times, I managed to figure it out and dodge the car, but I’d still get hit. Similar issues occurred as I was trying to hide. I managed to avoid Jack’s attack, only to be hit at a questionable distance. That’s a fun killer.

And finally. The game’s visuals. Thoroughly not impressive. We’ve entered the third year of this generation of consoles and while I suspect it was dumbed-down for VR purposes, there were parts of the visuals which felt like reused assets from last gen. While things looked good from afar, once you got closer, especially brick walls, you could definitely see some rough edges. There are launch games of this gen that still looks miles better than this. It’s baffling that this far in the lifespan of this generation, we have mediocre looking visuals. Characters looked great, but environments could’ve used a bit more polishing.

Here’s my live-tweeting of how I felt when I booted up the game on Day 1:

https://twitter.com/_DanBoise_/status/824090305355976704

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this alternate view on Resident Evil 7. I say “alternate” considering that I seem to be one of the rare ones that consider it worse than Resident Evil 6 (Yes, I went there).

Dan Laframboise

Gaming since I was 8, I've been loving every minute of it! Very open minded, I'll try any genre. Love games from Lumines to Call of Duty. To the most niche games like Cross Edge to Gears of War, I'll play anything once!

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