Full disclosure, I have always been terrible at video games. It’s not for lack of caring, but for lack of ever succeeding at beating any level of any kind. When I’ve played Super Mario Bros., someone
often always has to carry me on their Mario shoulders just to get us to the end flag. Meanwhile, I’m out of breath from yelling, and somehow standing up with sore thumbs. WTF? It’s not like I’m completely uncoordinated. I’ve been a dancer my whole life, after all. So when I was propositioned to play Resident Evil 7 on PlayStation VR at this year’s E3 game show, I broke out into a panicky sweat.
Second full disclosure, I don’t know much about Resident Evil. In fact, it’s the type of thing I try avoiding in my life because I can’t handle horror movies. But I know based off the movie trailers with Milla Jovovich that it’s a scary thing full of zombies and monsters, and I want no part of it.
And yet, there I was in the E3 PlayStation VR Press Room putting on a VR headset and headphones while blindly, and hesitantly, reaching for the controller from the demo guy. Deep breath.
Sharon’s Resident Evil 7 Gameplay Demo
The demo starts, and I already regret everything. It begins with some kind of text on the screen about a lost tape or something. Suddenly, I’m in a room with a camera, and clearly a bad thing happened because blood is everywhere and the house is all f*cked up. Creepy music is playing, and I hate all of it.
The game prompts me, “Create new save data?” NOPE. Not necessary, demo guy. And sorry in advance for all the screaming.
The screen switches to gameplay and I’m in a different room that’s dark with only the light from whatever I’m probably holding. I obviously made a very bad decision in my life that brought me to this point.
Now I’m in control of my movements, which means my character will start banging into everything, walking into door frames, and generally acting very drunk. I know I have opposable thumbs, but I really don’t think two joysticks were the purpose for them. Why can’t video games be more like DOOM, back when I played it on a Macintosh computer with one joystick and a button? So convenient, so easy.
God, my angles are so awful. I start walking straight, then stop. Turn. Walk straight, then stop. Turn. There’s an old television set in the corner of the room that’s on but it’s gone fuzzy. Awesome, that’s not scary at all. The Ring girl is definitely after me now, time to exit.
I think I’m supposed to look around for items to pick up, but instead I go for the door. I wasn’t joking about wanting to exit. I have to press X to open the door. F*ck. I have to ask the demo guy which button is X, and I feel like I’m asking him if the sky is blue.
Bottom button, got it. The door opens slowly while creaking, because this game is hell bent on giving me a heart attack only three minutes in.
Now I’m in a dark hallway, so things are not going better for me. I start walking forward and find another door. I open it (X is my b*tch now) and walk into a room full of dead things and carcasses.
I scream. I told you, demo guy. Demo guy laughs at me.
I say very loudly that I don’t want to be here and try opening a door with a window. It looks sunny outside and I want to go there. It’s locked, of course, so I clumsily try turning around and running away, but the demo guy says I need something in the room.
“Will it get me out of this house?” I ask.
“Eventually,” cackles the demo guy.
Screw you, demo guy.
So I wander this wasteland of death and flies, bumping into walls and wishing my character would just throw up already. I find bolt cutters, hit X, and get the hell out of there.
I ask the demo guy where I should go next and he tells me to find the wardrobe closet in the hallway. God, I hate this house.
Boom, closet found. I have to press X more than usual to get the bolt cutters out of my…pocket? Then I crush the chains on the closet doors. There’s a videotape on a shelf, the demo guy says to take it. X.
I go back into the room with The Ring television and pop in the tape. The screen changes and now I’m inside whatever the tape is about. We’re outside the same house, and I’m a camera guy. Whoever I’m working with seems like an ass, and there’s one other guy with us. They motion me to follow them into the house, but I don’t. They start walking toward the house but I’m still in the front yard and I’m not sure why. Am I supposed to still be playing? I’m in a videotape, and have no idea what’s going on.
“You have to follow them,” says the demo guy.
Well, sh*t. So I follow, and we start going down the same creepy hallways, but they’re a little different. Not as much death around, it seems. At least so far. Out of nowhere, we lose one of the guys, so we wander around the house looking for him. We head into the same television room and the guy I’m left with starts nosing around, and finds some hidden crawl space that leads to a basement. EFF THAT.
The demo guy tells me I have to follow him, and I’m pretty upset about it. The screen says to press R3.
“What’s R3?” I ask, panicking.
“Press down your right joystick,” instructs the demo guy.
Down I go, and then down I stay.
“You can stand up now. Just press the joystick again,” the demo guy says, all amused.
Now there’s a wooden ladder leading downward. The guy is crouched next to it, not moving. The demo guy tells me I have to go first. “That’s an *sshole move,” I say out loud. I climb down, and it’s horrible: stone walls, dampness, and cramped. We keep turning around to find our lost pal. I stumble upon him, his back to me. As I walk up to him, he falls back on me and collapses with half his face torn off.
The demo guy is laughing.
Why am I here?
The screen changes again and I’m no longer in a videotape nightmare. Now I’m back in the regular nightmare, all by myself. Apparently I have to go back to that awful basement place where my buddy died. I feel like we weren’t close enough for me to do any of this for him.
But I’m no quitter (unless they let me, but they wouldn’t), so I find that dumb room again, yank the hidden door handle, R3 my way into the crawl space, and head down the ladder. I find the house key, grab it, and get the hell out of dodge.
As I excitedly make my way toward the exit, there’s a figure that passes by an open door. I scream. The creepy music starts building. At least, I think it is. I’m not happy about this situation. I’m so close to my escape.
I’m opening doors and bumping into corners as I desperately look for my exit. I’m also screaming the whole time because no one gets what they really want, right? RIGHT?
Wait. THERE’S THE DOOR. I have to walk over all those dead things again.
“Is it over? Please tell me it’s over,” I’m sweating now.
“Yes, it’s over,” the demo guy laughs, as he takes my controller.
I take off the headphones and VR head mount and I see I’ve attracted a bit of a crowd. I apologize to the demo guys. I don’t think the Sony PlayStation VR Press Room was meant for my screaming. They tell me I was the best demo of the day.
So I won then, right?
Sharon’s Impressions: NEVER AGAIN, but very effective.