One Hell of a Night

After only a week, Resident Evil 7 is beaten. That was a few days ago now. I haven’t really had a chance to make more words about it until now. Though I don’t know if I really have that many more words about it? I guess we’ll see when we get to the end of this post.

When I last left off, the protagonist of the game, Ethan, has mysteriously vanished and I was now in control of another character aboard a wrecked ship. There was a flashback sequence that played more like a run and gun shooter, but back in reality, the actual ship level is more evenly paced. While it does play like the rest of the game, for whatever reason, the ship level didn’t really grab me. I think maybe it’s just because I kept getting lost. Thinking back on it, there’s nothing really overly wrong with it.

The final stage is… it’s semi-traditional. There’s a secret lab where you learn all the final pieces of the plot, but it’s like two rooms at the bottom of a mine. The entire mine area is a fairly straighforward gauntlet of monsters, which isn’t out of the ordinary for RE, and is actually more of a final boss than the actual final boss. Also, not a single MO disk to be found. I’m okay with that. It’s 2017, after all.

And finally, because being cyclical makes it more impactful, you end up back in the guest house that served as the game’s first chapter. You’re alone and searching for a girl again, and the night has passed into day.

What really separates this game from the rest of the series is that you feel a pang of guilt when you kill the final boss. Make no mistake, it needs to be killed because it is a living weapon that murders people without remorse, but it is a somewhat pitiable entity. It’s not your typical RE crazy person that’s gone and mutated himself in a mad quest for world domination or revenge. Well, I guess Birkin was kind of sympathetic, too. I’d better replay Resident Evil 2 again to make sure.

And yes, you are thrown a weapon and told “use it!” to finish off the final boss. It’s not a rocket launcher, but the spirit of the tradition is present. I am content.

Then, at the very end of this 12-hour game in which I only spotted two teeny-tiny references to previous Resident Evil games, Ethan is airlifted away from the Baker property by none other than Chris Redfield. And he is looking skinnier than ever. And he is riding around in an Umbrella helicopter. What is happening!? I don’t think these really count as spoilers, because they don’t really have any bearing on RE7’s main plot. There is a (free) DLC episode featuring Chris on the way, but otherwise he is merely a way to connect RE7 to the rest of the Resident Evil canon.

Some final thoughts: I love the ambient sounds. The creaking of the houses and random thumps are a great way to get little frights, and they also put you on edge. Was it just a random noise? Or is there an enemy skulking about, ready to spook you?

Speaking of spooking, I am so glad that I didn’t play this in VR. I like being scared, but RE7 would have been way too intense. Plus, 90% of the jumpscares are of the in-your-face-screaming variety that is so popular these days, and I just couldn’t handle that without the reality buffer.

I was a little wary of the game’s new style at first, but it really came into its own once Jack stopped stalking me. Its crazy how much pressure was caused by the fear that Jack could show up to ruin your day at any moment. Looking back, his patrol areas are actually very small, and he won’t even chase you all that far. In the end, he seems to be a lot more menacing than he actually is.

Coming down off the high of finishing the game (I quite enjoyed the credits sequence, BTW), I immediately popped open the Playstation Store and bought the DLC season pass. I was going to do it as soon as I bought the game, but decided to wait just in case I ended up not liking this very different Resident Evil.

The first DLC pack is out and downloaded onto my PS4, but I haven’t played it yet because I started a new game to try for the 4-hour speedrun trophy. Either I am much slower than I thought, or I accidentally left the game running while I left to do something else, because about half an hour in, I noticed that my timer had picked up an extra hour somewhere. Needless to say, the speedrun was doomed. Guess I’ll just have to try again! (Hooray!)

I do not relish the idea of playing the game on Madhouse difficulty. But I’m certainly going to try. I’ll probably unlock all the bonus items first, to ease the burden a little.

And that’s about it, I guess. For now, at least. Look forward to hearing more about this game in the future. I can’t get enough!

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