Let's get this review started off by addressing the long time fans of the series first; Resident Evil 7 is the Resident Evil you've been begging to get back to since the series took a drastic turn with its 5th and 6th releases. In Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, you won't be dashing through waves of enemies and dumping endless clips of ammo into them while back flipping and sliding in and out of danger. Survival horror is at the core of this entry through its unsettling gore filled story. Unlike its predecessors, Resident Evil 7 is a first person shooter, a decision which many were skeptical about at first but ultimately turned out to be brilliantly executed and fit perfectly into the Resident Evil universe.
We are placed into the shoes of Ethan Winters, a man searching for his wife Mia who has been missing for several years. After the game's opening sequence we are lured into an estate owned by the Baker family; a hillbilly, backwoods type of people who do not take kindly to uninvited guests. The family's patriarch, Jack, is a menacing predator, who fans of the series will likely compare to Resident Evil 3's Nemesis. Jack along with other members of the family aggressively pursue Ethan through the game attempting to stop him from rescuing Mia whom they have taken in as a member of their disturbing family. Ethan is introduced to the family by Jack Baker after being inviting to the dinner table by Jack's welcoming fist. This scene closes with Ethan alone once again in the Baker mansion struggling to survive with limited weapons and items. Contrary to what many experienced in the demo, the full game offers several weapons such as a knife, handguns, a shotgun, and a few other special weapons which are necessary to advance through the mansion's many grotesque locations.
The game essentially controls like a standard first person shooter with some light backtracking that can be greatly minimized by using the in game map. Locked doors are conveniently highlighted with an icon depicting the key necessary to proceed. One interesting choice worth noting is Capcom's decision to bring back the old school save point. There are a few check point locations in the game to keep you from losing too much progress if you die however, saving your overall game progress can only be done via cassette tapes located in storage rooms throughout the mansion and its surrounding areas. This decision is a nod to the original games which only allowed players to save their game progress at type writers and limited saves to a small number of ink ribbons. Luckily Resident Evil 7 does not limit the amount of times a player can save their progress but some new players may be turned off by the need to run back to a "save room" to save their progress. Save points are abundant enough to where this does not become a major distraction from the overall game; in fact, it adds a level of strategy and inventory management that further enhances the survival horror experience.
Expect a well paced, grotesque, and unsettling game with great graphics, responsive controls, intuitive menus, and an overall great time with Resident Evil 7 Biohazard.
Special Note: The Playstation 4 version of Resident Evil 7 is fully playable in VR mode with PSVR. Capcom did an excellent job giving players a wide range of options to mitigate any motion sickness that may occur. In my play through of the game I found 1 hour of game play to be the threshold before motion sickness became an issue. The controls change significantly in VR mode with aiming being controlled via the player's head movements. At first, this may seem unnatural but after getting used to it I found it much easier to control and land head shots far easier than I could with a controller. The VR immersion in this game is something you have to experience to fully understand. It's difficult to describe how different the experience is when you actually see objects in life size and you feel as if you are actually in the game itself. If there is any game that could make the case in defense of PSVR, this is definitely it.