Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Gold Edition (Xbox One) Review

By Gabriel Jones 21.01.2018 4

Review for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Gold Edition on Xbox One

It's been three years since the disappearance and apparent death of Mia Winters. One day out of the blue, her husband Ethan receives a strange email. All it says is "Dulvey, Lousiana. Baker Farm. Come get me." It's from Mia, but she's alive? With incredulity on his mind and hope in his heart, Ethan arrives at the Baker Family's residence. Upon entering a guest home that reeks of rotting corpses, Ethan wonders if he made a grave mistake. Perhaps this realisation should have hit him sooner, back when he saw that grotesque horse leg "flower" display in the front yard. For those unfamiliar with this story, consider picking up Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Gold Edition immediately, because there's a lot of catching up to do.

The Main Game
While this critic is quite fond of Resident Evil 6, in retrospect, it wasn't a good fit for the series. The four campaigns were bloated, laborious, and sometimes just plain un-fun. The fantastic mechanics and controls were buried under a nonsensical tutorial. Then there's the convoluted plot, which required a very specific play-through in order to maintain a semblance of coherence. Imagine having to switch characters every other chapter, just to understand how the story is progressing. At least the Mercenaries mode is thoroughly awesome.

Anyway, a soft reboot was in order, one that put the franchise back on track. Resident Evil 7 is a grounded, more conventional take on survival horror. In many ways, it's structured after titles like Capcom's own Haunting Ground, where the protagonist must deal with progressively more disturbed adversaries in order to survive. The Baker family makes for excellent villains. Despite a relatively small amount of screen time, their methods and motives are convincingly realised. Jack steals every scene he is in. The Baker Household has a very Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Saw vibe to it. Normally, this would be a disastrous recipe, but the developer pulls it off in stunning fashion.

The latter half of the game does start to waver a bit. The Wrecked Ship simply isn't as compelling a location as the House. It lacks the personalised touches and attention to detail, not to mention the presence of the Bakers. Still, the larger emphasis on combat actually works in the game's favour. This is because Capcom has designed a system that anyone can grasp, but there's enough depth to reward experts. Utilising everything they have learned in the House, players can take the fight to the Molded, swiftly eliminating scores of them with little trouble. Granted, depending on the difficulty setting, a "swift elimination" isn't always possible, but the tools and mechanics are always spot on.

Special mention has to go to the developer for understanding the importance of melee range in a first-person game. Much like the earliest entries, this title is very claustrophobic. Enemies have a habit of appearing in tight corridors, leaving little, if any, room to move around. Thankfully, these foes don't have "phantom-range." If they swipe at Ethan, and those claws look like they won't connect, then he won't take damage. This gives players a little more leeway. They have a better idea of when to block, when to step back, or when to move around.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Gold Edition on Xbox One

Still, it's that first play-through experience that really makes the game work. An incredible job was done crafting the Baker farm and its surrounding environs. The architecture is coherent and thoughtfully organised. The house is quite large, resembling a mansion at times, but it's also sensibly designed. There aren't dozens of rooms with nothing inside of them, nor do hallways twist and turn into one another to break the illusion. Saying that a videogame is too "gamey" is an odd criticism, but the immersion is lost when a house… no longer feels like a house.

Alongside its main campaign, Resident Evil 7 has received numerous add-ons, including game modes and mini campaigns. For anyone who hasn't already picked this up, the Gold Edition is a very safe purchase. Taken as a whole, the DLC is quite nice, although some portions don't hold up to scrutiny. Still, that's hardly a reason to ignore them, given that the mechanics and controls are just that good. Fair warning, the following portion of the review contains spoilers.

Not a Hero
Chris Redfield has been called in to tie up a loose end, namely Lucas. As it turns out, the weasel never got his comeuppance in the main game; it's time to rectify that. Essentially, Chris has to explore multiple paths, gathering all of the tools necessary to get through the Mines and find Lucas. In one area, for example, he needs night-vision to progress. It's a standard formula that really isn't all that creative, although it can lend some interesting wrinkles to exploration and combat. Visibility is a constant concern while fighting the Molded.

This add-on doesn't overstay its welcome. Once it is has exhausted all of its new ideas and mechanics, it has the good sense to end in proper fashion. There isn't an excessive amount of padding, nor is the player forced to sit through several minutes of exposition. Everything is laid out cleanly and evenly. In short, this mini campaign gets the job done.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Gold Edition on Xbox One

End of Zoe
As it turns out, Jack has a brother. Joe returns from a long trip only to discover that the Baker house is destroyed, and everyone is dead, or worse. Although he manages to find Zoe, her infection is clearly worsening, and a cure needs to be found. Although the Umbrella Corporation has developed a serum, dozens upon dozens of Molded are standing in Joe's way.

Now, the main deal with Joe is that he is one of the toughest son of a guns around. He can crush the Molded with nothing more than his bare hands. Almost the entirety of this DLC involves punching the monsters until they explode. A single one of these foes might have been a life or death struggle for Ethan, but Joe handles them as if they were training dummies. If that wasn't enough, he can also create spears or explosive bombs, using materials that are lying around. It's also worth exploring for hidden effigies, since they make Joe's punches just a little bit stronger.

This mini campaign offers a satisfying change of pace. Brutalising multiple foes with well-timed strikes is pretty fun. A handful of unique scenarios keep the player involved, yet the end does feel a little rushed. Granted, the journey is designed to be short, but it's truncated in the wrong ways. Joe's voice acting is also a little suspect, which stands out because everyone else in the main game is excellent.

Banned Footage
This DLC is comprised of four volumes, and offers a pretty solid mix of action and problem-solving. In Nightmares, Clancy has to survive five hours in the Baker's basement. It's a bit of a rough situation, as he must deal with wave after wave of Molded. This Hellish night is reminiscent of side-content, such as the zombie mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops. There are machines constantly producing scrap, which can be used to purchase weapons and supplies, or enable traps located throughout the basement. By managing these resources properly, Clancy might be able to survive.

There's quite a lot of replay value to be had here. By achieving certain score milestones, new weapons and items are unlocked, making each subsequent run a little easier than the last. The increased diversity of weapons, as well as the constant supply of enemies, makes for an entertaining combination. Series' vets might opt for something a little more original, but this mode is consistently enjoyable.

During his misadventures, Clancy also finds himself trapped in a Bedroom. While figuring out how to escape, the cameraman also has to somehow deal with Marguerite. After all, she isn't too fond of guests turning down her home-cooked meals. What follows is an "escape the room" sequence, which consists of various puzzles. The catch is that players must try to put everything back in order, before Marguerite returns. If she spots anything out of sorts, she will feed Clancy a heaping helping of venomous bugs. This mini-game has a neat concept and works well in practice, but it doesn't last long. Once players discover a way out, they will realise there's no reason to return.

The same could be said about Daughters, a little jaunt that details the Baker family's last night. As Zoe, players must run around the house and witness the events that would change her life forever. Unfortunately, all this mode really does is shed light on a startling inconsistency; Zoe's family is turned shortly after rescuing Eveline. In fact, Jack and Marguerite go from mild-mannered parents to murderous psychopaths in what amounts to a coin-flip. How Zoe and Mia managed to go three years without completely losing their humanity is mind-boggling.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Gold Edition on Xbox One

Ultimately, this DLC is disappointing. The Bakers are among the most compelling adversaries in the Resident Evil series, so any reason to spend more time with them is worthwhile. However, their descent into madness isn't chronicled nearly as well as it should have been. It should have started off gradually, with Zoe noticing slight but erratic changes in her parent's behaviour. After some time, she would have to fight off her dad with tools lying around the house, or escape her brother's deadly traps. Perhaps she could also rescue Mia and they would work together in order to survive. Seriously, this could have been an awesome prequel game. Instead, it's little more than a missed opportunity.

Although its appeal is liable to be lost on a lot of players, 21 is quite interesting. Lucas has devised a rather intricate version of Blackjack, where players have to make strategic use of game-changing trump cards. Losers are subjected to Lucas' horrific and ultraviolent whims. As for the winners, well… there are no winners. There are plenty of tense moments to be had here, particularly for fans of Blackjack. The trump cards are also a neat method for injecting a little spice. Went over 21? No worries; just change the rules. Now the player who gets the closest to 24 is the winner. The only complaint is that the frequent cut-scenes hurt the pacing of each hand.

Ethan Must Die is appropriately aimed at masochists. The goal is to find and defeat Marguerite, while being subjected to the immense cruelties of one-hit kills and RNG. There are crates scattered throughout the house. Some contain items of increasing rarity, others just explode. If players can reach the location they last died at, they will be able to recover one of their items, otherwise it's gone for good. The ridiculously tough monsters and frequent traps make for a pretty absurd challenge, but it's doable for anyone who is immensely patient, skilled, and lucky.

Finally, there's Jack's 55th Birthday. Like anyone else, daddy enjoys a good meal on his birthday, and Mia is responsible for catering. She has to run around the house, collect food, and eliminate Molded. It seems that even the monsters enjoy a good party, what with their silly hats and all. Despite its goofy aesthetics, there's quite a bit of depth to this mode. Mia's speed and efficiency determines her rank at the end of each stage. Inventory space is shared, so if Mia loads up on weapons, she won't be able to collect much in the way of food. Managing time and space, while developing the perfect collection route, can make all the difference.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Gold Edition on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Altogether, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Gold Edition is the ideal pick-up for survival horror fans. Ethan's night of horrors is liable to go down as a classic. There's also a lot of excitement to be had in the DLC. Some of the offerings, notably Daughters, are weak and uneven, but they are still worth a play-through. At this point, anyone who hasn't already experienced this game is doing themselves a disservice. It's an astonishingly executed title that pours a lot of love into its mechanics and game design - the hallmarks of a quality Capcom product. What else can be said? The company makes it look easy.

Developer

Capcom

Publisher

Capcom

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

i love this game so much.

 

I can't bring myself to call this a resident evil. It is just a ripoff of any FPV horror knockoff.  RE was always about bigger than life personailities, if players wanted a more serious horror game they'd play silent hill.

Dragon0085 said:
RE was always about bigger than life personailities,

not true. this was not the case until RE4.
also, did you even play RE7?

Image for

Dragon0085 said:
if players wanted a more serious horror game they'd play silent hill.

did you even play RE7?

Image for

This game is so so good Smilie

I'll need to pick up the DLC at somepoint!

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