Late to the Game: Squeal Like a Piggy! Resident Evil VII Biohazard (2017) - Reviewed

For years, the Resident Evil series has been known for making everyone uncomfortable, but we can all agree there hasn't truly been a fantastic game since Resident Evil 4. With Resident Evil Biohazardnot only is this the game we have been waiting for, but with the PlayStation VR capability, it brings a whole new level to the grossness, paranoia, and immersive-ness that makes a great Resident Evil game.

Although it is a shorter game, Biohazard is jam-packed with action and great graphics that suck you into the gameplay immediately. You play as a character named Ethan, who receives a message from his wife who disappeared a couple years ago. Once he gets to the house he received the message from, you are thrown into the story, and there is not one dull moment throughout the game. The characters are all genuinely well done, gross, frustrating, and touching when they need to be. The environments and overall "feeling" of the game is very uncomfortable and just plain wretched--you are always looking over your shoulder and never feeling like there is a safe moment to breathe. 

Another great thing about this game is there are classic Resident Evil elements to it! Just the right amount of frustrating options as well as new ones, it feels familiar yet not too repetitive, and certainty not boring. I completed the game in just under eleven hours, and while personally I am not an anxious or scared person, Biohazard had me constantly on edge, even provoking a shout a couple times, and I had to take breaks every couple of hours to check back into reality. 

One of the only downsides to Biohazard is the final boss fight is a little underwhelming. Ethan is able to collect a bunch of bang, for a battle that seems to not have much buck. Though there is more than one ending to the game, it is short enough to play through multiple times to get all the collectibles. Resident Evil Biohazard also has "found footage" downloadable content to continue on the game and get backstories of the family Ethan meets. While that is definitely an unnecessary way for Capcom to make extra money, it is beneficial to be the buyer because not only do they get to learn more about the family, but it is one of the best and well-made games that is currently out for PSVR. So at least you're getting bang for YOUR buck! 

-Kirsten Anderson

Resident Evil has taken a detour over the years becoming more action-oriented and less moody and atmospheric. While that may make some gamers happy, most people who have been with the series from the beginning lamented the change in direction. With Resident Evil VII, the franchise is back to its survival horror roots and it’s not messing around. You will poop your pants at least once playing this game.

The PSVR has been out for several months and although it has some fun games, it was sorely lacking in the AAA game department. Capcom decided to fill this void and they did an outstanding job crafting an immersive VR experience. A lot of people experience “VR sickness” which is similar to motion sickness and Capcom included loads of “comfort” options to let the player tailor the experience to their personal tolerance levels. You can play with a grid around you to solidify your position in the game world, turn on/off FOV filters, and choose between different ways to turn in game. You can either turn in incremental degrees (like 30 degrees) or use smooth turning. I found what worked best for me was to turn off the FOV filter, put smooth turning to its fastest level and actually rotate my body in the real world to traverse in the game. The change to first person might feel off-putting to long time fans but it works perfectly in this game (and really was necessary for VR).

I found the story to be incredibly creepy, and it has shades of Texas Chainsaw Massacre influence written all over it. It’s hard to convey how much scarier this game is in VR, because you feel like you are actually there in the house running from monsters. The graphics are excellent though the resolution is reduced when using the VR helmet though the frame rate is rock steady. Mostly everything takes place within a single house but the progression feels natural and you don’t have to do a whole lot of backtracking. Resident Evil tropes are still in full effect so you will be finding a lot of animal-shaped keys for strangely esoteric locking mechanisms, but that’s all part of the fun. The music and sound design in the game is fantastic and even when nothing was going on I was looking behind me after every creak in the floorboards.

A few negatives: the boss fights are made harder than they need to be because of the slightly stiff controls and the game is a little on the short side. Hopefully this game does well so we can get more big gaming companies to produce VR content. If you haven’t been back in the mansion for a while, now is the perfect time to open the door and walk back in.

-Michelle Kisner