Since its reveal at this year’s E3, Resident Evil 7 has amounted to one of the industry’s best-kept secrets. The playable prologue may have given us a small sampling of what Capcom has in store, but since its summer release, we’ve only been privy to a series of short, ominous videos showcasing bits of RE7’s narrative and features.
All of that changed today, however, as Resident Evil 7’s first wave of previews hit the Internet. We’ve seen bits and pieces of the game so far, but this new information sheds much more light on the former enigma known as Resident Evil 7. And, despite its new, first-person perspective, this latest installment sticks closer to the original’s “survival horror” concept than previously assumed.
Resident Evil 7’s Gameplay: A True Horror Experience
As with the first Resident Evil, part 7 places an emphasis on getting to know every nook and cranny of a singular, somewhat convoluted location. But instead of the stately Spencer Mansion, Resident Evil 7 drops you within the confines of the dilapidated Baker house. And while combat serves some purpose inside its walls, your basic actions don’t differ much from what the 1996 series debut offers. In a nutshell, Resident Evil 7 presents a back-to-basics focus on solving puzzles, backtracking, and managing your resources—all while being stalked and tormented by deranged members of the Baker family.
These new foes make for one of Resident Evil 7’s biggest changes. While previous games pitted players against an army of mindless zombies, the antagonists stalking the Baker house are cunning, and presumably alive. Each member of the Baker family prowls a distinct area of the estate, and while you can temporarily incapacitate them with your limited tools, they’re functionally immortal. Resident Evil 7 also offers true monsters in the form of “molded:” eerie creatures comprised of black ooze. These enemies can fall to your weapons, but, as with older Resident Evil games, every bullet counts.
Returning to Resident Evil’s Roots
Since Resident Evil 4 took the form of an action game, each subsequent sequel went for an increasingly bombastic take on Michael Bay-style action. While the change in scope takes some getting used to, the Baker house looks promising based on recent footage. As with older Resident Evil locales, puzzles straight out of a classic point-and-click adventure game litter the environment. But this time around, the strange architectural choices make a lot more sense, and likely won’t be waved away with a single line of exposition.
On the surface, Resident Evil 7 may look like an attempt from Capcom to cash in on the popularity of first-person horror games on the Internet. After all, YouTube personalities with subscribers in the millions often scream along to this specific type of game, and earn plenty of fame doing so. But the more we see of Resident Evil 7, the less it seems like a cynical attempt to capitalize on what could be a passing fad.
In any case, this divergent sequel may end up being the best Resident Evil sequel in years. Be sure to check back with Fandom for a full review of Resident Evil 7 when it launches on Jan. 24, 2017.