Friday, February 17, 2017

Scary Game Review (Spectator) with James Paradie: Resident Evil VII

What's going on, guys and gals? It is I, your brave watcher of horror games. This time, I review the latest installment of Resident Evil - VII (7). I'm a fan of the RE series and I think I've found my favorite one in the series, so let's get on with the review. 

But first a synopsis: 

You play as Ethan, a husband who hasn't heard from his wife, Mia, in three years. Until one day, you receive a simple, but strange letter from your wife telling you where she is and to come get her. Her directions bring you to the Bayou - Louisiana, in the swampy backwoods to a deserted house. But is it really deserted? Soon, you meet the Baker family, who welcome you with open arms and sharp weapons, bugs, and a twisted sense of humor. Welcome to Resident Evil VII.

- I actually took the time to write the synopsis. Go me! 

Demos To Love

We received a glimpse at what RE 7 had to offer through various demos that really intrigued both players and spectators (like me). I will post the demos of Harshly Critical's playthrough down below. 

The first demo shown below, is the first demo Capcom released called Beginning Hour. Although you don't play as the main game's protagonist, Ethan, the demo is still cannon to the main story. Also, the found footage part of this demo did make it into the final game and is playable like it is here. 

Capcom would release a VR demo called Kitchen. A short experience, only lasting around four minutes, but scary nonetheless. Do note that in the video provided below, there are other demos that are not RE related, but still a fun watch :) The Kitchen demo is the first demo shown. 

Capcom would also release an updated version of The Beginning Hour demo entitled "Midnight." New content, new areas, and new scares were included. 

Is it bad that Jack's smile doesn't creep me out? It's got that, "Hey, buddy!" feel to it and not that Dr. Trager from Outlast type of "Buddy." Trust me, he's not your buddy and neither is Jack.


"Welcome to the family, son."

The Good: 

I absolutely loved watching this story. It was a breath of fresh air for the Resident Evil series. A series, in my opinion, that has been long overdue for a change. What I loved is it was a step away from the cheese fest we see in other RE entries. And although RE is a very fun series to watch, I do have a habit of sitting there thinking it could be something more. It can actually mean something and I know saying that will piss some RE fans off, but hear me out (or read me out). I haven't watched all the RE games yet. I've only watched the first one, 2, 4, and Revelations 1 and 2. I have linked the ones I have reviewed on here at the end of this review. It seems that after 2, everything became very cheesy. I hate using that word again, but it's the best I can do to describe it. And yes, 4 is really good, I can see why it's the top one on a lot peoples lists. When I play games and I'm buying something from a store or merchant (cause I play a lot of Assassin's Creed games), I always do the Merchant voice from RE4 "Welcome!" So, I do have a lot of love for the Resident Evil series. It's just the whole corny one-liners, static characters, not to mention boring protagonists (Leon, anyone?) There are still some moments where it makes me laugh rather than scares me and the-all-loved-4 is guilty of this, but VII? Far from it. 

RE7 did something that changed the game and hopefully changed the series as a whole. One is immersion and 7 does a great job of that. In this game, you're first person, which is a rarity for the RE series. The only other game I saw, from doing a quick Google search, that did this was Resident Evil: Survivor. Never heard of it until now. But I think immersion is key to horror. That's why Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Outlast, System Shock, F.E.A.R. (the latter two I've never watched before, but I know they're top when it comes to first-person horror) are such popular horror games. 

Going back to the cheese of Resident Evil. VII didn't do that. Not hardly at least. There were only two or three times I was like, "Really?" with some less than stellar one-liners, but for the most part, the game took itself seriously. The only thing I found to be comedy relief was Jack Baker. Even though he made me laugh, he still creeped me the hell out. Again, look at Dr. Trager from Outlast. He made me laugh, but I wouldn't want to hang out with the guy. Ever. Not even for a cup of tea. And the boss fights with Jack were entertaining, even for someone like me who doesn't play horror games. Every one was memorable. There was one, the second I believe, where you get the dog head plate to unlock the front door. No matter what you do, what you cut off, the body parts keep regrowing. You eventually get a chainsaw and he grabs some friggin thing I have no clue of what it is, but I'll provide a photo of it ... 

What the hell is that?

It says a "Jack Baker chainsaw", but to me it looks more like a Jack Baker Jaws of Death. You do have this pretty epic moment though where you grab a chainsaw and you do this little sword like duel. Cool moment, even for a wimp spectator like me. 

Lucas is an inventor. An inventor of death.

- I think the creepiest antagonist was Lucas who really played the whole "backwoods hick" part terrifically. Good job, voice actor. Ah, Lucas is played by Jesse Pimentel. Thank you, IMDB. You always save my ass in some of these reviews. To me he was the creepiest. And unlike Jack and Marguerite, he didn't have some final form. He still had the ability to heal super-fast. Way early in the game, right after Jack welcomes you to the family ... son, Jack cut's off Lucas' hand and the next time you see it it's grown back. There is a reason for this, but you know me, I like to leave stuff out so the curious creatures out there will either pick up the game or watch it. The strange thing (and spoiler) after you foil Lucas' plans, he just vanishes. I was going to put this in the Bad part of the review, but the more I think about it, the more I think it adds a mystery. And maybe he'll make a return to the series at a later point. 

- This game also has a stealth element, but you only use it a couple times. Throughout the game you find these VHS tapes that you can play, but you're not watching it, you're actually playing the found footage. Really neat element. At least you're not just sitting there, watching something that could potentially take twenty minutes to watch. There's one where you play as Ethan's wife, Mia, where she is running from Marguerite through this creepy bridge that has these creepy dolls hanging from wires. 

I mean, when are dolls not creepy? Right, Zak Bagans? The creepier part though is Marge (let's just call her that for now) is following you with this lamp and she is MAD at you. Insulting you for stabbing them in the back and not accepting "her gift." 'Her' is not Marge, but someone else (again, buy or watch the game). Soon after Mia is found, you play the area she is in. Her boss fight was so gross, I couldn't even watch it. She has a thing for insects and when you fight her, the bugs come out of her ... area ... in this nest on her ... area. Yeaaaah. Makes my stomach turn just writing about it. 

- Another strong point of this game is the atmosphere. Every corner, hallway, even the outdoors feels like there is something there. Waiting. To kill. I said the same thing in my Resident Evil 1 review. 

-Creepy grandmother. She first appears at the table scene where the Baker family is just trying to have a nice feast with their guest. You. 

This table scene. Not pictured is grandma. Also not pictured: good food.

Grandma appears in different places. Sometimes she'll just be there, looking at nothing. Other times she will be humming a tune until you near her, just to stop and look at you. I have to be honest, I really felt bad for her. I think it's just because out of everyone, she looked the most innocent. She seemed harmless. MoMyfaMilye-001whydoeseveryonehateme??? What the hell? Sorry. Blogger must be losing its mind. Can't delete it for some odd reason. 

- The ending is pretty perplexing and has the internet wondering, WHAT?! 



I think I'll stop this review here. I can't really think of anything else I really want to say. I think I will bring the ratings system back and I would definitely give the story an 8.5/10. A highlight of 2017. Great job, Capcom. Keep up the great work. 

Images for this review were found using Google. They all belong to Capcom and are only used for visual aid. 


While you're here, why not check out my other Resident Evil reviews. 

RE2 - Leon's story 

I am also putting the final touches to reviewing Resident Evil Revelations. It's been on the back burner forever and I may have to watch another walkthrough just to refresh what I want to talk about in it. I have also watched RE4 and Revelations 2, so reviews for those will be here soon. 

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