Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (known in Japan as BIOHA7ARD) is a first-person survival horror game developed and published by Capcom. The title was released in 2017 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Capcom is an experienced company within the Resident Evil franchise. Besides creating the Survival Horror genre with its first installment, the Japanese company founded in 1978 launched 24 titles of this saga among several consoles.
This is the seventh numbered entry of the series, which already has a confirmed continuation for 2021, named Resident Evil 8: Village.
Resident Evil: Rise, Fall, and Redemption
Having started with three installations that are now considered the leading exponents of Survival Horror, Resident Evil gradually evolved over time. Although it has been a commercial success, Resident Evil 4 moved away from the original formula and was the first sign that the franchise was experimenting with the Action genre.
After this, Resident Evil 5 and 6 almost totally abandoned any horror elements, receiving a lot of criticism in the last one and losing many fans in the process. This took the saga out of its seriousness and raised very low expectations for the development of its seventh part.
In 2014, a demo called P.T. will revolutionize the world of video games. Later revealed as a new installment of the Silent Hill saga, the game encapsulated perfectly how the horror genre should be handled. With the creative participation of Guillermo del Toro and with the actor Norman Reedus playing the main character, it was expected to be the best horror game in history.
Unfortunately, its development was canceled a year later. However, Capcom took note of how the title was done and released a similar demo shortly after. This would be the basis of Resident Evil 7, a game that filled the hole left by the cancellation of its competition and restored its users’ faith in the company.
Enter The Bakers, the charismatic antagonists
The protagonist of this new story is Ethan Winters, a character unknown until now. After three years of disappearance, he receives a very strange video from his wife, Mia Winters, where she asks him not to look for her for any reason.
Ignoring the warning, Ethan discovers that she is in a small town in Louisiana. When he finds her in the basement of an abandoned house, a possessed version of his wife brutally attacks him. Although he manages to stop her, he soon discovers that this house is inhabited by far worse threats.
Finally, Lucas is the son of this couple and his presence is very referential to several films in the style of Saw. Here, the player’s intellect is put to the test in large sections based on very complicated puzzles.
As the adventure progresses, several secrets, unexpected allies, and new enemies and villains are revealed. All this without losing sight of Ethan’s main objectives, which are to escape the town and save Mia.
A new formula of success
This entry has various new features. First, it returns the first-person view, previously used in projects that were considered failures, such as the Resident Evil: Survivor of the PSX.
Also, the player can now cover himself to reduce the damage, very useful for classic players used to tank controls, which do not make a return.
Finally, the developers decided to add replay value to the title. This is achieved with a mid-game decision that leads to two different endings. Also starting a New Game+ at a higher difficulty changes the place of items, puzzle-solving, and random appearance of enemies and bosses.
As if this wasn’t enough, the company launched several DLCs and bonus games, each with new and creative approaches to gameplay. Among them are: Not a Hero, which uses a classic franchise character, The End of Zoe and Banned footage Vol I and II, each with three different mini-games.
A new engine for a new beginning
For this new entry into the world of terror, Capcom decided to create a new graphic engine, which they later called RE Engine. This one was used for the remakes of Resident Evil 2, 3, and for the last releases of the Devil May Cry saga. Among the advantages that it brings, there are the underground dispersions, whose function is to generate a very realistic skin on the characters. It also added dynamic shadows, techniques that allow the game to achieve 4K graphics, and even a VR mode.
The color palette chosen is very varied, but all share the premise that they should be as realistic and less vivid as possible. This last choice is because the atmosphere of the adventure is sunk in a shadow that consumes the entire screen in much of the game.
On the other hand, instead of emphasizing light sources as in titles like Amnesia, the developers decided to add a little extra brightness to the overall picture. More than a help to the player, this is to implement weaker flashlights and candles, so in a big part of the game, the user is in semi-darkness.
In short, Resident Evil VII is not just a second chance Capcom had to redeem the series but to do the same for the whole genre. Thus, this title took the place destined for P.T and its resounding popularity caused a new wave of horror titles, which culminated in even greater success in Resident Evil 2: Remake.
With a setback in Resident Evil 3: Remake, but with much expectation for its eighth installment, Capcom is at a great time. This wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for Resident Evil VII, the game that (RE)started all.
Image credits; Capcom