The newest numbered entry in the long-running survival horror series is here. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was first announced last year during Sony's boss presentation at E3, with a playable demo immediately available for fans to tinker with. The game was finally released worldwide last month, just less than a year after its official reveal. Aside from garnering mostly positive reviews, RE7 has been a commercial success so far, with more than 3 million copies sold as of this writing. In case you haven't played it yet, here are 7 things about Resident Evil 7: Biohazard that might convince you to make the purchase.
1. It is a sort of soft reboot
RE7 features a number of things that might indicate it's a full reboot of the series. For one, it has "Biohazard" in the title, the first time that Capcom has included the series' Japanese name in a western release. Interestingly, the game is titled as Biohazard 7: Resident Evil in Japan. However, RE7 is not a full reboot of the series. It still takes place within the established universe seen in previous games, both numbered and spinoffs. It's similar to how Hollywood treats superhero movies these days. You could say RE7 is similar to X-Men: First Class in that it features new characters, a new setting, and a new story, but still connected to the larger shared universe (Hollywood is all about "shared universes" these days).
2. It has a standalone story
Although it takes place in the same universe as its predecessors, RE7 is very much a standalone. But timeline-wise, the game takes place a few years after the events in Resident Evil 6. It features a completely new main protagonist, Ethan Winters, who is not related to any known character in the series. Well, not that we know of. Capcom could always opt to reveal that Ethan Winters has a connection to, say, Albert Wesker, in future Resident Evil games. Being a standalone means you don't necessarily need to have played previous Resident Evil games before diving into RE7. So if you've been meaning to get into the series for some time now, it's perfectly fine to start with RE7.
3. Ethan Winters
RE7 tells the story of a man in search of his lost wife, which leads him to a creepy house in Louisiana occupied by an equally creepy family - the Baker family. As always, the story is more than just a search-and-rescue, as Ethan Winters eventually finds himself in a rather complicated, uh, family problem. Unlike Chris Redfield, Leon S. Kennedy, Jill Valentine, and other main protagonists in previous Resident Evil games, Ethan Winters is not the combat type. So you could say he's somewhat more relatable than other main protagonists. He's just a simple husband out to bring his wife back home.
4. The "Molded"
RE7 introduces an all-new type of creatures never before seen in previous Resident Evil games. They are called the "Molded," and obviously being best friends with you isn't on their agenda. The Molded are not reanimated corpses similar to the zombies in other Resident Evil games. But nevertheless, you wouldn't want to get too close to them; otherwise, you'd risk a heart attack - the Molded, which also come in different variations, are arguably more hideous-looking than zombies. Thankfully, they have one little weakness that can make things easier for you. Obviously, we won't spoil what that is.
5. A different perspective
RE7 is seen from a different point of view, and we're not just pointing to the fact that it centers on an all-new character. No, RE7 is literally seen from a different perspective. It uses a first-person camera system instead of the usual third-person like in all other numbered entries in the series, a first for Capcom. It's easy to feel detached to whoever you're playing as when you're simply seeing things in third-person. It's like you're just guiding that character throughout the game, instead of experiencing things yourself (virtually, of course). Not in RE7, where all the horror and action will feel more intimate.
6. More horror than action
Recent Resident Evil games have been criticized for featuring more action-oriented gameplay and less of the horror elements that has defined the series for years. They felt more like generic shooter games with endless streams of zombies lining up to get shot down. It's one reason why Resident Evil 6 didn't sit well with longtime fans of the series. The more-action-less-horror gameplay actually started with the acclaimed Resident Evil 4, although you could argue that famous unlimited ammo briefcase in Resident Evil 3 was begging you to go Rambo on every zombie in sight. RE7 returns to a more horror-oriented gameplay, which is "enhanced" by the shift to first-person perspective. It focuses more on exploration and survival and of course, puzzle-solving. And as usual, items, especially healing herbs, are limited in RE7.
7. RE7 is PlayStation VR-compatible
If you already own a PSVR, you have the option to experience all the horror in an even more intimate way, one that could easily scare you shitless if you're spooked by the slightest noise. Imagine if earlier Resident Evil games had the same treatment. You probably wouldn't look at your beloved pet dog the same way again after all those notorious zombie dogs that had a penchant for appearing out of nowhere. Anyway, the virtual reality experience for RE7 is currently only available to PSVR owners. But Capcom will remove the exclusive tag come 2018, opening the door for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift owners (for PC gamers only, obviously).
Hopefully, the 24th installment in the Resident Evil series is a sign that Capcom is once again fully onboard the horror train after a few years of toiling around with action-oriented, shooter-like Resident Evil games. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The first DLC, Banned Footage Vol. 1, was released last January 31, but only for the PS4. The Xbox One and PC are set to receive the DLC later this month. Banned Footage Vol. 2, the second DLC, also releases this month.