Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (VR) (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 15.04.2017

Review for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (VR) on PlayStation 4

Capcom's Resident Evil has had a lot of ups and downs during the seventh console generation. With Resident Evil 4, the franchise broke new ground, breathing new life into the series by upping the tension, scaling back the adventure game mechanics and pushing forward on the shooting. When the fifth and sixth games and a slew of spin-offs came along, Capcom failed to grasp what made Resident Evil 4 so great, and what had happened was that the once great survival horror series became very generic and forgettable third-person action games. Capcom may have copied the surface level action that the fourth game brought to the table, but what they failed to copy was Resident Evil 4's spirit of innovation. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is the first time since RE4 that the franchise has chosen to make a bold leap out of its comfort zone, whilst juggling the implementation of virtual reality. Does PSVR elevate the latest entry, or is it just a gimmick? Cubed3 visits the Baker Estate in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, reviewed entirely in VR!

For the longest time, it would have felt like Resident Evil was going to end up as a game series that was extremely limited. Every game had to follow the same rules that Resident Evil 4 established: some kind of alpha-numeric "virus," a multitude of cheesy monsters, returning characters doing action hero things, lots of gunplay, quick-time events, partners, and usually set in a foreign country or was a globetrotting adventure. By the time Resident Evil 6 came around, the games ran out of antagonists and the entire fate of the world had been threatened by several cataclysmic events. At this point, all the established characters were no longer relatable, either; Leon went from nebbish rookie to secret agent, and both Chris and Jill went from basic task force enforcers to some kinds of super soldiers. With Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, there is a genuine effort to scale things back and to make the entire game more personal by almost ignoring all past games and making it more like the original Resident Evil... specifically the amazing remake.

Resident Evil 7 does for Resident Evil what Doom (2016) did for Doom. In some ways, it is a soft reboot because it is a clean slate, but make no mistake about it: it does take place after Resident Evil 6. What RE7 does so well is ground everything and tell its story so flawlessly... way better than any past Resident Evil game before it. While it does pretty much play nothing like the games from RE4 and on, in spite of it playing like a first-person game, this is structured a lot like the Resident Evil remake. This is master class survival horror pacing at its finest, and it is the most Resident Evil-y game since the first - even more so than Resident Evil 2!

Screenshot for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (VR) on PlayStation 4

Ethan, the protagonist, starts off with nothing, and is constantly abused in so many ways over the course of the game, playing like a survival horror game should do. When the final act rolls around, Ethan has been made hard and is decked out with all kinds of fun new toys that the game rewards him with plenty of enemies to get his revenge on. It is extremely cathartic to play the game in this manner, since most of the game treats players like a pin cushion and then allows them to get back at all the enemies that put them through hell.

All of this catharsis is unbelievably magnified when played in virtual reality mode. The tragedy of Resident Evil 7 in VR is that there really is nothing else like it on the market. Capcom is the pioneer for making a complete AAA full priced VR game - the madmen actually did it and pulled it off amazingly. This is not some half-hearted walking sim or static/seated VR game... No. It is the fully realized survival horror game everyone has dreamed of since the 1990s. It is like double-Christmas, because not only is Resident Evil 7 amazing on its own, but VR completely changes how the game is played, and once anyone gets a taste there is no going back.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (VR) on PlayStation 4

When playing in VR, it is possible to do certain actions that would be otherwise impossible in standard mode, such as being able to peek around corners or ledges. The extra amount of control over Ethan's body is a huge addition to this game's immersion, and it is further compounded in the combat. PSVR's motion control for aiming is done with the neck/body and feels very natural and is so much more accurate than any other input device. This shines all the more brighter when playing in the extra DLC "Nightmare Mode," where Clancy Javis must endure a pseudo horde mode (with its own unlockables), where the core game is centred on a lot of combat. Sadly, the "Ethan Must Die" and "Jack's 55th Birthday" add-ons do not have VR modes, which is likely due to the fact that the movement speed in those modes are tweaked in a way that might induce motion sickness.

Something that should be mentioned is that the default settings for VR mode is something that is sure to turn off basically everyone. The first thing every user should do is set the movement to the fastest speed, adjust the turning mode and crouch transitioning to "smooth," and max out the turning speed. This set-up is ideal and is what would be considered the most intuitive control method when playing in VR.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (VR) on PlayStation 4

There is no denying that Resident Evil 7 in VR is an utterly engrossing horror game, but it comes with a cost in some areas. Most notably is the visuals take a big hit. Texture resolution is reduced and many of the game's assets get simplified. Usually, the toned down models are the ones that won't be front and centre, and will be quite distant for any real inspection, but the trained eye will take notice. Some lighting effects become compromised as well, and some shaders get scaled back. It's not the worst, though... bearing in mind this is still the best looking and most ambitious VR game on the market. These things become noticeable because Resident Evil 7, when played in standard mode, looks so amazing.

Since RE7 offers quite a bit of variety with its DLC, and this is the only full-fledged AAA VR game on PlayStation 4, the DLC has a bit more value than it would if it were played in standard mode. There is no other VR game available like Resident Evil 7 at the time of this review, and likely won't be another for some time, so getting the most out of a game like this is far more satisfying than it would be without PSVR.

Is Resident Evil 7 worth a play with PSVR? Absolutely. Is buying a PSVR worth it for Resident Evil 7? That really depends on the individual, since there is nothing else like it.

Screenshot for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (VR) on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is Capcom's little survival horror that could. With so much contention about this entry being in first-person and the complete lack of returning protagonists, many felt wrongfully disgruntled about this truly innovative and expertly crafted survival horror that plays the way classic Resident Evil would play in the current generation. The developers finally figured out what made Resident Evil tick, and they did it by taking a long and introspective look at the most beloved entries in the series and putting a new spin on them. PSVR and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard together is by far one of the most successful experiments since Resident Evil 4.

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   

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