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Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Developers: CapcomTechnicolor Games Publisher: Capcom
24 January 2017
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard - cover art
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3.83 / 5.0
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1,989 Ratings / 15 Reviews
#437 All-time
#19 for 2017
Ethan Winters travels to rural Louisiana after receiving a disturbing video message from his missing wife Mia two years ago and stumbles into a mansion only to discover that Mia has been infected by a strange disease and is held hostage by the deranged Baker family.
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2017 Capcom Technicolor  
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RU 5 055060 900604 CUSA 03842
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2017 Capcom  
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DE 5 055060 965900
2017 Capcom Technicolor  
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XNA 0 13388 56040 0 CUSA-09643
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Title
There's a scene a few kills into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre where Leatherface has a tantrum by the window, visibly super anxious about these kids who keep coming into his house and won't just get in their van and drive off. He's not repentant or anything like that, but his stress is enough to show a crack in the surface of evil. Up until that point he appears as the grim reaper, quickly and with a sense of horrifying finality removing the kids from the realm of the living, like a full stop. Later still we come to learn that when he's not the embodiment of death, Leatherface plays the role of a caring mother sweating to keep her family together even if just for the duration a dinner she's lovingly prepared. Hooper's films are built with a stoned elasticity that means that as many complementary and conflicting things can be true or untrue about them as the viewer is willing to work for, and the appearances of the Sawyer family are no exception. Depictions of abuse within a family-unit for whom violence is so commonplace that it's as ritualised as a family dinner are the essence of that film as they are of Resident Evil 7.

We are made to witness moments of connection between family members, not so that we can excuse their behaviour, but so we can see that they belong to a unit in which they are functionally heinous. We come to understand them within the context of their world, whether this means pitying or just hating them more deeply than we would an abstraction. The family unit is taken for granted as a context for normalcy in the majority of narrative works that do not make family an explicit concern, but this is frequently upset in horror films. Something like The Witch looks at the oppressive nature of the nuclear family, but its break is gained too easily: the family in it is an abstraction, entirely without heart. Hooper's works and Resident Evil 7 on the other hand understand that to dissolve the glue is not a clean process. Regardless of whether there is genuine love binding any of the Bakers or Sawyers, violence will be present under love's guise.

An abuser is a master manipulator that works their way into the abused's body and soul. The abuser will convince the abused that they are everywhere, that they need them, that there is no escape. Hooper's works subject us to the idea of a potentially boundless horror, but also give us the bloodied tools to break out and expose it as pathetic, finite. For its first act, Resident Evil 7 explores the emotional ramifications and ambiguities of Hooper's best to excellent ends. It is a game that traps us, tortures us, makes us feel weak, but also demands that we fight our way out of it. The game has been celebrated by many as a return to form, and it narratively and mechanically emphasises itself as a return home for the developer as well. The original Resident Evil was most frightening for its clunkiness, for the way that instead of breaking immersion, frustrations encountered outside the gameworld made their way into the player's identification with the happenings on screen. Curiously, this new one is strictly in first person, emphasising that our return home must be viewed in terms of a new game body. We are trapped in our game body, and we are trapped in both a literal home, and the game body itself. To return home is to be trapped there.

There is much to be said about Resident Evil 7 as a first person game that works against conventional instincts. Where we might expect to transform into a digital body that can act and react with a speed and fluidity that easily transcends our own (particularly as parkour-ish flailing arms show no sign of disappearing from AAA games any time soon), Resident Evil 7 imprisons the player in a slow-moving body that is less a superhuman avatar than a kind of awkward cage. Immersion, it was at some stage decided, occurs as the player becomes a centrally privileged torrent of power rushing through an environment-as-playground, but Resident Evil 7 makes the case that a more chilling form occurs when the environment answers back: the world of the game encloses on our digital body, and our digital body encloses on us. Where in a typical action game the world arranges itself around the player, rendering itself for, but pretending not to see her (effectively performing as indifferent but also submissive), Resident Evil 7 makes us believe that there are all eyes on the player at all times. What is key, what is home, is this claustrophobic sense of mechanical friction between what we are and what we want to be.

That the player is encouraged to roam around and collect VHS tapes throughout the game makes explicit Nakanishi's appreciation of found footage horror movies, where a similar negotiation of power occurs. In found footage, the viewer is no longer detached from the world of the film, passively receiving images they can trust, but rather becomes 'grounded' in it, vulnerable because to see is to be seen, to take part in it. No concrete truth, no safety. At its most effective Resident Evil 7 exploits the rift between belief and knowledge, withholding information and providing ambiguous sounds and light effects such that the viewer fills in the blanks themselves. Its entire currency is unrealised, individually felt fears. It is in these paranoid minutes that we become participants in generating our own sense of terror, believing ourselves to be in hell where our new father Jack is controlling everything. Resident Evil 7 knows that whatever we imagine to be behind the curtain, whatever we believe caused the crashing sound upstairs, is far more frightening than anything the game could ever depict, because we are home where Jack sees everything. Some gamers will balk at the comparison, but the developers of Resident Evil 7 clearly learned a lot from Gone Home.

Not that it in any way flirts with becoming an outright art game- it is of at least two minds where suggestion and realisation are concerned, and Nakanishi ultimately betrays the conceit for a mounting silliness more Sam Raimi than Blair Witch. The Bakers are an invasive, shrill presence across the screen, and wherever they appear the game switches its shallow-focus subjectivity for a filmic kineticism that is critically withheld from us and the ability of our game body. The developers' decision to not gift Ethan with the movement capacities of his tormentors brings about moments of frustration that can break the spell of the game, particularly during boss fights, but it gives small fights the slow, lumbering inevitability of a George Romero film. This echoing of someone else's cinematic dread through mechanical unresponsiveness is a bold move, but one that is reflexively necessary. Friction, entrapment, terror, home.

Another notable game to make the player feel helplessly trapped in first person perspective was Bioshock, which similarly demanded getting to know an environment in shallow focus. That game was economical in the sense that it reused environments by backtracking us into tedium, but the level design here is more sophisticated. Resident Evil 7 is economical in that it might take the gamer body the same amount of time to get to the end of a hallway as it would Franklin in Grand Theft Auto to run the way through multiple houses. Every bit of peeling wallpaper feels like it matters enough to take note of, every section of the floor not carpeted feels like the difference between life and death: Jack hearing and not hearing our footsteps. Resident Evil 7 is designed to make the backtracking process feel radial, as though we are returning to the centre of something having learned more about ourselves, and about that which threatens us. We may be pathetic, we may throw the controller down in fear when something scrapes at the window as we walk past, but now we know that the noise upstairs was just creaky floorboards. They're not always watching us, they're looking for us, and that's a big difference.

Resident Evil 7 is most scary when we feel most mortal, and we feel most mortal when we're weighing up how a conflict will go, before we fail and our game body dies. There is invariably a use by date cooked into the game and its terror (it has to scale in difficulty, meaning more deaths through problem solving), but this occurs after the game's early climax: as the player for the first time leaves the house. We charge out, screaming, and we turn to the house that trapped us and tortured us, and we look for the eyes of evil and we can't find them. We see the house and it's just a house. We believed it was infinite, but now we can say 'I see you too.' The game trapped us in Jack's house, but now the stage set has collapsed, and we can see it was a tree banging against the side of the house, and the wind howling through the boards. We've traced the tracks to the cause, the real cause, and it's more and less than the man who told us he was in control of everything.

Later on the shadow of Jack lingers over us, the reminder of the power that he once had over us, but also of the family that perversely worked for him. The greatest gag in Resident Evil 7 is not the ultraviolence, but the fact that as a part of the Baker family we must close doors behind us to stop evil coming our way. Whether we like it or not, we will play by the family rules. Its most disarming moment is when the tenacious patriarch begins screaming 'You killed my beautiful wife!,' which, yeah, we did. It's mournful as it is bizarre, and also completely heartbreaking- the only time that its baroque catharsis works to echo its hesitant, freaked out steps toward freedom.

Unfortunately these distinct modes are otherwise never reconciled in the game, and in truth jumping back and forth between horrorshow grotesquerie and psychological fear eventually leaves us numb to both. When we come to meet Marguerite, our mother, the loudness of the game is amplified such that we're in a rush to defeat her, and as our inventory fills up we are left with two conclusions: either we're too well stocked, or we're going to have to play trial and error with our equipment. Either way it leads to action rather than caution, the antithesis of the first act. By the time we find Lucas, Nakanishi has toyed with so many horror formats that he figures he might as well throw in post-Saw torture porn too. At this point the game enforces trial and error, as we are well and truly too well stocked in arms and health to feel in any way threatened.

Resident Evil 7's need to contextualise itself within the franchise makes for a strangely anticlimactic final act, explaining the events we've witnessed within the larger picture of a catastrophic event. On the one hand this is frustrating because it doesn't matter, but on the other it works as a tragic eulogy for the Baker family, removed from the visibility of world events but nevertheless impacted by them. In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre we understand how violence and family are inextricably bound, about how movements toward Big Agriculture have left rural families without their livelihood. Similarly the Event of Resident Evil 7 occurs outside of our experience of the Baker home but it leads to starkly visualised ills: the mould could be a blind rage over their way of life crumbling, it could be substance (Jack's implied alcoholism), it could be the cycle of generational violence suffered and inflicted by everyone in the family line. Like Hooper's works it is contradictory, complementary, and elastic: it took the director twelve years to release a sequel that made it clear that the Sawyers are everything mentioned before but also greed and evil itself, whereas Resident Evil 7 moves in the opposite direction, arguing for the family as victims. Eveline's own quest for family holds its deal of pathos, but the picture is more complicated, more human, when family itself is the subject of its scrutiny: Marguerite's southern hospitality loaded with the anger of going unappreciated, Jack's performative father figure saying grace and beating the shit out of his son at the dinner table.
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nostalghia 2018-11-02T10:50:17Z
2018-11-02T10:50:17Z
3.5
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The first couple of hours of Resident Evil 7 are the most surprising and mysterious experience the entire franchise has to offer. Then the game becomes more predictable and closer to the standards of the series, and by the end, unfortunately, it loses momentum. However, it still feels like a breath of fresh air for the Resident Evil franchise.
The game's DLCs are mostly redundant, unnecessary, and skippable.
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5thDayAfterDeath 2024-03-29T22:30:34Z
2024-03-29T22:30:34Z
3.0
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This is a return to form for the resident evil franchise as it finally does away with the action and combat and instead sees us in a creepy household fighting off a family of rednecks infected with the t virus we need to escape from. While the premise of this game is brilliant, I'm afraid the same can't be said for the gameplay itself as outside of its puzzles, there isn't much to talk about in general.

The best way I can describe this game in terms of its gameplay is that it’s the third time they made the first game, we explore a rundown house and its facilities whilst avoiding its deranged inhabitants. The big difference here is that there's only one protagonist to play as here who is searching for his estranged wife who he lost contact with prior to the events of the game. It's clear the focus of this game was the story as he does find her early on but is attacked by her due to her being possessed by the virus, with the story leading to him trying to free her from the virus with the assistance of the one member of the family not infected by it (which of course is the daughter of the rednecks.) This likely only applies to me, but I don't like how this is played in first person given how we never see what our hero looks like in game, just what he's wearing which appears to be a business outfit which I feel is lame but could've been interesting from a third person perspective as we get to see how a cowardly businessman rises up to becoming the hero of the story if we played the game outside of his line of vision. I get why it's in first person mode as it does heighten the tension, but the environment is creepy enough and it's not like anything sneaks up from behind you in game which is the only disadvantage there would be for playing this in third person. I guess if I weren’t so familiar with the re franchise, I would find this more innovating than I do, however I feel this is a retread of the first game (or rather its 2002 remake) with an admittedly compelling story it tells to differentiate itself from its predecessor.

I can see why people love this game as it is a return to form for the franchise, however I only find it decent which is why I don't revisit it too often.
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Foxylover92 2023-02-10T07:23:04Z
2023-02-10T07:23:04Z
3.0
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Now this is tricky. I don't actually like the original resident evil games, I'm just not smart enough to get behind the camera angles, which never scared me that much, since zombies just don't do it unless you make them a. fast or b. weird. But this, this I really really fuck with. Backtracking, thinking about resources, struggling to survive, being tactical, its a really good mix.

Story gets a bit too whimsical and over-the-top, but nothing's really changed. The atmosphere is top notch, the writing is really fun, the enemies are scary and the areas are consistently great. Margueritte and her bug house are especially horrifying, and her bossfight was a big sticking point for me for a while, that I could just not get through.

I don't really have a problem with the hollow choice of ending, doesn't really bother me since there is one logical choice and that's Mia. Zoe is a shitstain the whole game who withholds crucial information from the player for no good reason, and Ethan has no good reason to take anything she says as real, whereas Mia did lie, but at least she realises that and does try and make some amends for it.

Boat section is probably a bit weaker than the other ones, not a big fan of wandering around desperately trying to figure out where to go, especially when there is nothing happening. The ending after that is a little weak, as is the section in the mines where it doesn't really feel like you are progressing. It all gets a bit Resident Evil 5, moving from level to level to level, which is a shame, because the main house is so awesome.

Another irksome point is the optional tapes you find throughout the game. Anyone ever get the sense that the Banned Footage DLCs were meant to be in the main game at some point? Like, cut content that got fully realised and stuck on at the end. I don't know about you but I think each one of those tapes pretty nicely latches onto the game (Nightmare as the first tape, 21 in Lucas' section, Bedroom in Margueritte's and Daughters in some of the more surreal Eveline sections later). The ones we get I always skip on repeat playthroughs because they never amount to much.

Gunplay, exploration, the bits of the Resident Evil Formula that transferred over to this, the tone, that save room theme. Its all really good, and I'm sure that fans of the series will be disappointed, but for an entry title to the series and a soft-reboot, this is really fantastic.
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sdj457 2023-05-20T09:37:44Z
2023-05-20T09:37:44Z
4.5
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Inspirado por hits dos anos 2010 como Amnesia: The Dark Descent e Outlast, Resident Evil 7 foca no terror como nunca antes na franquia. Pelo menos dois terços desse jogo tem um nível de tensão similar aos dos momentos mais aterrorizantes dos outros jogos - o primeiro Crimson Head em Resident Evil Remake, ou a aparição do Regenerador no 4.

Mas não só de terror vive o homem, e Resident Evil 7, em seus melhores momentos, é uma deliciosa experiência aos moldes da série, com um level design impecável em todo o “complexo” Baker e uma história intrigante que se revela aos poucos, com o auxílio de arquivos e dicas no cenário.

É uma pena, no entanto, que o terço final não acompanha a qualidade, como é o caso de quase todo jogo da série. A Mina de Sal, por exemplo, é basicamente um grande corredor linear até um boss no mínimo decepcionante. Aqui, pelo menos, a queda de qualidade é menos brusca que nas últimas horas de Resi 4 ou 5, por exemplo.

Uma coisa menor que me incomodou: o jogo podia ter avisado no momento anterior à fuga da casa. Fiquei bolado de não pegar todos os itens.
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gabrielctps 2023-05-07T22:24:09Z
2023-05-07T22:24:09Z
4.5
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Great horror game that rarely pushes the horror
I was very excited to play this game. REmake4 was the first experience Ive had with resident evil game and i fucking loved it, and was looking forward to what a first person RE game with actual horror elements would be like. I had heard from multiple people that this game was one of the scariest horror games out there, so as someone who cant even handle Five nights at Freddy's sometimes, I was kind of expecting to be terrified or at least spooked for the majority of my play-through.

Instead, I got a game that's maybe scary for about a 1/3 of it, and most of the game feels like a mediocre puzzle game mixed with some first person shooter elements that would be more than passable if the game was scary while doing so. And it sometimes is, but after the boss-fight with the hillbilly wife and the part where you sneak into the kid's room to get the D-series arm, (which are both legitimately terrifying) the game loses any sort of horror. Instead feeling (and looking) like an indie game that has enough good moments to become viral but enough bad moments to have me scratching my head asking "why its so popular?"

One of the key factors to immerse me in any sort of game is a believably structured world with believable logic and events. I can get pretty nit-picky with it, but I think it's fair to say its especially important in horror games. because how can I be scared by something that is so clearly not believable? If I'm constantly reminded it's just a game? And this is where RE 7 falls apart, because so many little cracks break any immersion I have.

The relationship between The protagonist Ethan and his wife, Mia, is extremely bland for two characters who should be in love, and are going through something incredibly dramatic. And their initial reunion is so underwhelming you'd think they'd have been apart for just 3 hours, not 3 years. Or the fact that most monsters and enemies will just... stop following you if you past the specific area the game doesn't get them go. Ruining any sort of terror if I just run the other way. The hillbilly family is incredibly memorable, but the flashbacks in the form of videotapes is another area where the game just falls flat. Half the time it makes no sense why a character would still be videoing their experience, especially the ones with Mia, where she's either having a near death experience or trying to stop a supernatural, incredibly dangerous person, and there's no reason for her to even have a camera on in the first place. It may be considered a nitpick to some but moment's like these genuinely ruin any sort of horror for me. I feel for a game like this to feel scary I can't have all those things be circling around in my head while I try to fully immerse myself in the experience.

The few moments this game really did cause me to feel genuine terror, are the exceptions. When the hillbilly wife becomes some sort of half spider abomination, and you are trapped in that small house, and you always know she's around the corner, is when the game succeeds, because you CAN'T run away, and that combined with the fact that you have to stop and craft your healing items while still being pursued really adds to that thrill. Stopping to craft a healing item and managing to use it seconds before she gets you, not being able to take a second and breathe, that's when I felt the most terror playing. Shortly after, you are sent in the house, the "detention room" to get a D-series arm (whatever that means?) and the haunting atmosphere and effects also prove to make this truly scary, because you don't know what's going to turn the corner nor can you run, but the tension and build up eventually dissipates and you never really hit that ever again. Because shortly after this the game sends you through a short backtracking trip and, by this point the game has run out of tricks.

But hey, maybe it's not all that scary but is supposed to be fun to play, but honestly looking through those lens the game is even worse. Most of the puzzles are very unfun and are usually dependent on you hovering over a button prompt (that can be missed, sending you on a half hour search wondering what to do) or just have you look around for the one thing you need. The gunplay isn't anything special, which again would be fine if there was actual substance in the puzzles and horror, because it would work more than fine in the context of survival horror. But like I've said the survival horror elements reach their peak like, 3 hours into the game. By the end it turns into a third-rate action game. Where you are shooting a big monster, dodging its vomit, and shooting again. It feels like once you get the two keycards to get into the son's house, any survival horror element is just... gone.

After the admittedly good boss fight between you and the dad, the game takes a complete tonal shift, and while the lore revealed about eveline is very well done, it loses the magic of the crazed hillbilly mansion setting. And once you are in the mines, it straight up is just a bad action game with a very very scripted bossfight that drops the ball completely.

the Family is honestly where RE7 shows the most personality, and watching them talk to Eveline before it's revealed who she actually is and that they're actually talking to someone in their head is brilliant. Like during the videotape that their son gives you. It appears as if he's talking to someone off screen, but the whole game's narrative and little moments like that are given way more depth when you find out the truth. I loved moments like this, along with the genuinely crazy antics of the family and especially the first scene.

Eveline's story is a unique one, and I did truly enjoy those moments, I loved the hillbilly family, the concept of a horror game taking place entirely in a house by some crazed people, all of that really works well. I just wish the game committed to being a horror game that really made you feel helpless.
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  • Resident Evil VII
  • Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
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  • Previous comments (66) Loading...
  • dropthesocram 2023-07-12 23:00:00.459925+00
    wow this went up a lot recently. i think this is scarier than village but village's gothic funhouse of horrors aesthetic and setup is really fun and it's more consistently good
    reply
    • dropthesocram 2023-07-12 23:02:06.834162+00
      would need to replay both tho
    • faux_homo_fash 2023-08-31 01:26:27.493013+00
      hide Removed by mod
      This post was removed by a site moderator.
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  • InYourBlood 2023-10-31 01:28:23.737963+00
    got to the ship part and didnt play for like months, facing the molded unarmed scared the shit out of me
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  • renegadexavier06 2024-01-01 06:17:22.024496+00
    Metalcore album cover
    reply
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  • moonisharp 2024-02-20 03:08:57.695942+00
    Probably the scariest RE game. Underrated as fuck
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  • cassio_ 2024-02-26 18:14:44.07287+00
    man if wasn't for that awful ship section...
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  • Adrian347 2024-04-01 00:35:47.919199+00
    Metalcore album cover [2] Converge vibes
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  • fighuass 2024-04-03 21:39:14.405771+00
    Looks kinda nu metal ish to me tbh
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  • Cheating_Squid 2024-04-07 19:53:22.195016+00
    yeah based on fear factor alone, this is so underrated and one of the best horror games of all time. stands proudly among REmake, RE2 and RE4
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