Capcom, best known for ruining or discontinuing the powerful franchises they create, has most recently destroyed the reputation of Marvel vs Capcom. The backlash for shoddy graphics, removing classic characters while keeping the old roster, and an overall lack of focus has given DragonBall Z a chance to completely outshine Capcom in their specialty. Still, I love Crapcom, no matter how terrible, and the small glimmer of hope for their future can be found in the game as equally terrifying as their failures: Resident Evil 7.
Picking up what Five Nights at Freddy dropped, Resident Evil‘s combat-centric, third-person shooter playstyle has been replaced by a first-person survival horror. Resident Evil 6 disappointed fans as it completed its diverge from the horror genre: not a second of the game was frightening. Sure, Resident Evil 5 was fun and combat-focused, yet it, too, diverged from the horror genre. The attempt to replicate the success of Resident Evil 4 was the focus, leading the team to forget the real goal: to be scary.
Resident Evil 7 picks up immediately, and while the premise of being kidnapped by hillbillies and being injected with mushrooms might not sound that bad, it is. Jump-scares crowd the beginning of the game before you get a chance to get used to the graphics. Combining this with invincible enemies roaming the premises and narrow corridors with tone-perfect lighting, the feeling of helplessness you get is nearly paralyzing.
The tapes you play train you to intensely fear Jack and Margarite, to the point where you WILL scream. The music is subtle, yet powerful, the graphics are commanding, and the gameplay makes you dread going any further. This is the most emotion I’ve felt from any horror game over a long period of time.
This being said, please keep in mind that I have the courage equivalent of spoiled little white girl. I am not the best arbiter for scary, considering that if you jumped at me in real life from a dark corner I’d most likely soil myself. More importantly, the game is not actually that long, it’s around 10 hours if you take your time and give yourself ample time to, you know, be scared; those who won’t be scared will shred through this game at a rapid pace. This is especially true considering that after the second area, the old home with Margarite as the boss, the game dips in its fear factor. It’s still plenty scary, but the boat-flashback-section had little atmosphere to back up the suspense, as if the section was there simply to patch up plot-holes (which, by the way, it totally was).
Of course, creating a long, consistently scary game is nearly impossible. What’s more important is the tone, mood, lighting, and unnerving sounds, which the game nails completely. In the long run, not much has changed, Capcom charges overpriced DLC for barely impressive side-content. Still, Resident Evil 7 gives players hope that Capcom is on its way back to making great decisions. They won’t make great decisions, believe me, but, hey, at least there’s hope now.