Have Capcom Gone Too Far With RE7?

It’s been less than a week since Capcom and Sony announced Resident Evil 7 during Sony’s E3 presentation with a PT-like trailer that depicted RE as we’ve never seen it before – a first-person horror (FPH) experience. Capcom confirmed the game for current-gen consoles and PC, but also confirmed that RE7 would be compatible with PlayStation VR. But wait, there’s more. Sony announced that later that day/evening, PS4 players with an active PS Plus subscription would have exclusive access to the first hour of RE7 in the form of a demo. It was a momentous occasion for me personally as Resident Evil is my favourite game franchise, and I had been waiting a very long time indeed for an announcement for RE7, a game I hoped could rescue the series since the dismal RE6 practically drove the final nail into the coffin as far as the series being survival horror went.

Rumours had been rife for a while that Capcom were taking the series back to its roots, and that it would be a total reboot. But while it is not a reboot, with the premise of RE7 occurring after the events of RE6, the announcement trailer alluded that Capcom are indeed returning to their horror roots. Although I did expect to see changes to the stale formula, I didn’t expect to see such a significant change.

Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour_20160614171437

Honey, I’m home

Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour_20160614171841

It wouldn’t be real horror without hallways

Since the demo became available on PSN a couple hours after Sony’s presser concluded, I have played it through numerous times, recording the same ending in two different locations with a couple of slight variations. Now it must be said that Capcom have confirmed that the demo sequence and its lead character will not be in the final version, and that the lead will not be a returning character (Leon, Chris etc), instead it will be an average Joe that isn’t as accustomed to these sort of situations. While the demo isn’t a slice of the game, Capcom described it as more of a teaser of the direction that Capcom are taking with RE7, which makes the whole ‘beginning hour’ slightly misleading but that’s just nitpicking.

Running on the brand new RE engine the demo looks fantastic, with all the environments having a photorealistic feel that helps heighten and deepen the immersion. From the opening moments where you wake up on the floor of the dilapidated house and survey your surroundings, it’s obvious that Capcom have completely overhauled the series’ style of gameplay, although interacting with and using items still has a familiar modus operandi. Despite being akin to P.T. or Outlast, there are a couple noticeable differences in RE7’s gameplay. Firstly, you have an inventory with limited room (like the good old days) for items you collect throughout the house, and secondly there is some form of combat system, as you can acquire an axe and after doing so the game prompts you that despite it being rusted you can still use it to defend yourself. Although I am yet to engage in any combat, I have sliced up a mannequin and crushed some boxes during my time in the Rob Zombie-themed Big Brother house. Like most FPH games, the demo has a limited but fitting sound design – creating trepidation as you investigate your surroundings. I can only imagine how many people will soil their cottons when playing the game in VR.

Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour_20160614193048

Talk about your fixer upper

Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour_20160614193310

Scariest home videos

First-person horror games Soma and Outlast are two of my favourite experiences from this generation of consoles, and I think the premise Capcom have concocted has loads of potential for an excellent horror experience, especially in VR. However, despite enjoying this demo for what it was (FPH), there’s a large part of me that can’t help but feel disappointed that after all this time waiting for an announcement, this is what RE7 will be. It just doesn’t feel like a Resident Evil game, it would be like rebooting Call of Duty as a third-person shooter like Spec Ops; everything fans loved about the game would be gone. I’m not the only one that feels this way as I have read a multitude of comments on forums and social media concerned about the radical change. However, there are a lot more people that believe this new direction will breathe new life into the ailing franchise.

During Capcom’s post-reveal stream they confirmed that RE7 will contain elements of old RE games such as resource management, puzzles and herbs, but the vibe is totally different. In an interview with IGN, the game’s producer Masachika Kawata said that the game had been in development since early 2014, and I can’t help but think that Capcom have again tried to cash in on what is popular. Let’s be honest, FPH games have soared in popularity in the last couple of years thanks to the cult-like success of P.T., and it wouldn’t be unlike Capcom to ride a popular trend for profit. They did the same with RE5 & 6 with their prominent Gears of War tone. Now, in an attempt to win back fans that have had reservations about the franchise since RE5, they may have pushed them further away with such a radical departure. In all honesty I expected something similar to The Evil Within and that sort of style of modern horror and action. Resident Evil to me is a third-person, survival horror shooter, not a first-person horror game (despite Capcom wanting the very first RE to be an FPS and its light-gun spin-offs).

Resident Evil 7 Teaser: Beginning Hour_20160614221250

Man(nequins) of the house

Beginning_Hour_011_1465868663

That face when you’ve had too many tasty bayou buffalo wings

I haven’t forgotten that all of this is based on the infinitesimal amount of gameplay we have been given in the demo, and that Capcom have stressed that the final product will have more depth and variation to the gameplay. However like I said, even though I enjoyed the demo, as an RE game I feel disappointed that I won’t be running around with Leon or one of the other familiar character they have created along the way that fans have sentiment for. Instead we’re getting a brand new cast of characters that will most likely never be seen in another RE game (remember Billy or Rebecca anyone?). Capcom could have called this game anything else and I wouldn’t have felt a single ounce of dissatisfaction.

In saying all of this I am genuinely interested in seeing how the story of RE7 weaves into the main series’ chain of events and none of the disappointment with it being RE7 will stop me from playing it when it releases in January, as I do believe that the game will deliver an excellent horror experience. In some respects I feel sorry for Capcom, they just can’t win with Resident Evil and its fans; they’re damned if they do and they’re damned if they don’t. They have genuinely tried to give fans what they have been crying out for. I hope that come January I can say that I was wrong.

Currently studying a Masters of Communications, Zach paradoxically finds himself writing about video games more than actually playing them. He’s one-half of the musical project, the midnight bloom and an avid Chicken Wing Enthusiast that supports the San Jose Sharks, Carlton and Burnley FC. Get around him on Twitter @TightInTheJorts
  • William Trail

    The stupid thing is, is this isn’t even represented of the final game, they said how there will be combat in the final product along with mutants and biohazard like enemies but for some reason they release this? 0.o why when you have the full game and none of this won’t even be in it!. its so stupid, in the end i think its gonna feel like resident evil crossed into condemned and i hope it is cause i would hate it to just be a p.t clone.

    • Erin Drake

      I gauranter they dont have the game made. This is the worsy demo since pt. Pt was idiotic.

  • William Trail

    Yea thats one thing I’m annoyed at, i wish they wouldnt make any new characters cause the resident evil universe has so many UNUSED CHARACTERS, its unbelievable, there are way more characters in the re universe which deserve mor games, like rebecca and billy, ada and may be even ashley, wouldnt hurt if we could play as carlos to in a stand alone game, cause he is a really cool character, I’m glad they brought back barry with revelations two though.

    • I enjoy Revelations as the action-centric spin off. I feel like with 7 they could have cut back on the action and made a third-person horror shooter. I still think the opening sequences of Leon’s campaign were great.

      • William Trail

        Yea resident evil revelations is the right type of action and horror for me, i enjoyed the fact that they let us explore the ship in the first one, the second one was a bit more linear but the areas you travelled in were rather large which is cool. revelations to me feels more like a return to the older games than this actual demo, they jus needed more puzzles in them.
        I seriously hope they show more soon of re7 and i seriously hope this doesn’t mean they are remaking resident evil 2 to be first person. 0.o

  • Jason Mounce

    You complain that the vibe is different….but RE 1,2,3 isn’t the same as 4,5,6 as well. Complaining about vibes or feels or differences is….personally? Idiotic. Many who’re blasting RE5 and 6 are also blaming RE4 for making the series change into a more action-oriented, COD-like shooter game since the roots of RE are STILL that of RE1,2,3, not the ‘action-oriented’ ones of recent years.

    So them changing the formula again is either a GOOD thing because people were tired of the cancer that was RE4,5,6 and want HORROR again, but not because it’s ‘different’, but because anything is better than RE4,5,6.

    May as well be that Resident Evil should change things up after 3 main installments and whatever side-stories.

    But the title of this article, I mean….serious.

    • RE4 was an excellent mix of the series’ horror elements (I mean let’s be honest, RE has never been true horror) and action. Yes it took the series down a more action-focused approach, but it also refined the series as third-person shooter. It introduced the over the shoulder view, added the merchant and didn’t feature zombies (all 3 were major changes to the game’s forumla), however it was almost a natural progression for the series. Yes, 5 and 6 were trash and tried too hard to appeal to the CoD and GoW fans and the series needed a change.

      However, RE7 is a massive departure from everything that the series is known for. Yes, Capcom have said that herbs, puzzles, combat and resource management will be in the game, but to what extent? Despite RE4’s changes it still played like a Resident Evil game – and it had a known lead character, which RE7 will not. If they were going to completely overhaul the game they should’ve just rebooted the whole thing.

      I respect your opinion, a lot of people feel differently about the change and it’s interesting why people feel the way they do. Capcom are never going to be able to please everyone. But don’t get me wrong I think this game will be good and I am keen to play it. I just wish it wasn’t called Resident Evil.

      • Jason Mounce

        RE4 had ‘atmospheric tension’, but no horror.

        I’d argue RE was definitely a true horror experience. Just as years go on and we adjust and adapt to horror games from other series, Amnesia, Dead Space 1, etc, we grow more accustomed to not see it as horror. Ask anyone who was old enough to have played Resident Evil 1 at release and they’ll tell you it was a Horror game. Ask anyone now, it’s a relic of what WAS a horror game, now it’s silly. The same goes for Movies of the past, Freddy Krueger isn’t scary anymore, that does not mean it Never was ‘true horror’ just because we’ve grown accustomed to it and forgot that it ‘was’ horror back then. All of the games technically featured zombies, just all of them were derived from the more broadened sense that the entire series was based on T-Viruses and other viruses, the ‘zombies’ were just husks and mutations but it all derived with them explaining that the experiments and zombies and viruses were all just from ‘Flowers’ in the end as discovered from RE5….so, we can’t really call any of the ‘zombies of the past’ zombies, they just were called such back then since that was both the path they chosen, and due to lack of information. Zombies lost popularity so it was explained to be some disease that can do more in RE4 of Las Plagas, but I mean….all they did was add tentacle-rape to everything. Tentacles fucking everywhere. They refined an action vibe, but so too did Mass Effect. If we were to compare the action/shooter of Mass Effect and Resident Evil, should we not agree that Mass Effect 2/3 and Action/3rd person shooter is more….inherently desirable and deserving of the franchise, rather than RE? And that RE deserves something ‘more’?

        While I agree, it should’ve just been reboot, I don’t think Capcom feels secure with that, they’re a business who seeks money at the forefront and they know ‘Sequelitis’ works. Though the ‘Resident Evil’ branding should work consequently and it doesn’t need to be a new IP, although it could be at this rate, OR they could make a new IP, new name, and just have it in the ‘same universe’ w/ Umbrella Corp still existing but not playing a major role. There’s so many things they could do wrong, or could do right and much of it is up to speculation for now, and the hopes that they just do something that ensures the survival of the series, rather than a downfall. If it stays as a P.T. like horror approach or, Outlast-approach…. I’d question if it’d get as many sales as a ‘Action GeOW/COD’ game would, the market of ‘Straight horror’ is more niche, so it depends on their outlook on sales difference, and if they expect sales to be ‘lower than the previous RE4,5,6. Cause I know it will be less no matter how great RE7 is.

        I grew up with RE2 and 3, not so much 1. I miss those ‘simple’ old days where not EVERYTHING had to be explained and ruined to try to impress mass audiences. Similar to how the Condemned series ended up, it was interesting and plentiful in spookiness, but then they explain why everything is the way it is and sorta ruin the horror vibe by saying “everyone is insane and crazy because brain waves / sound devices everywhere”. RE4,5,6 over-explained and ruined the horror similarly. Since the director I heard for RE7 is new, and not Japanese, maybe the change will be good. Whether it should be RE7 is questionable, depends on how large of an involvement it has with historic names, since Umbrella corp was found in a pic in the game and they said it is a game that happens after RE6.

        • Sorry what I meant was that RE7 plays like true horror (PT, Outlast – being unable to defend yourself) as an average Joe with no real training in how to do defend yourself. Where as the earlier games are definitely survival-horror with action elements.

          Yes you’re right, RE4 was more atmospheric tension than horror. RE4 was a brilliant game, with a top setting and pretty good story. RE2 and RE4 are to this day my favourite two games. I cannot wait to play the RE2 remake. I don’t think you can compare ME and RE. Despite both being third-person shooters they are a different kettle of fish.

          They should’ve just bit the bullet and rebooted the franchise, it already has a fair amount of stigma attached to it thanks to the abomination of RE6. At the very least it could’ve been have been a spin-off. To me the change feels like Capcom are just doing what is popular for horror games at the moment – which is to strip it down, forcing the player to run and hide rather than stay and fight and making it more psychological horror through it’s sound and level design. Which to me isn’t what RE is. Besides the plot seems rather generic – crazy family in rural America. But we have to wait and see what Capcom have in store for us. I am sure they’ll tie the stories somehow – there’s already a few conspiracy theories on the Internet.

          I can see this game getting decent sales because of its VR support. It’s funny that RE6 despite being the most hated is the biggest selling game of the franchise. I played RE1 when it was released when I was 9. I remember it terrifying the living shit out of me, but damn I loved it.

          • Jason Mounce

            I compare ME and RE4,5,6 due to the action mechanics being, extremely similar….Like, Shoot, run, kneehigh walls, melee-system when upclose to an enemy that is wounded, progress to checkpoint, story – rinse repeat, etc.

            Well, you know in the demo you can get an Axe, right? So, it teases that there’s a melee combat system where the swinging and impact of the weapon against obstacles feels pretty nice. Though all that does and the first-person, is remind me what Silent Hill and The Room, mixed with Homecoming, mixed with P.T. Though, the axe has no use against enemies in it minus mannequins and crates. Not as if RE hasn’t tried first person before, ala the time of RE Survivor, which I too played on PS1. So, we cannot presume it to be a ‘run and hide’ game.

            It probably sold the most because of how many platforms it went on, the sales that went on for it a lot, especially on steam, and because it was in late in the console life I’d guess when people were just wanting a game to play, with RE being a known name, even if bad, it’ll sell, just like Call of Duty.

            Parasite Eve 2, Resident Evil 2 and 3, Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark: A New Nightmare, I grew up with those, good times. Still haven’t beaten the latter. Has the worst voice acting, but is hard because you’re not a one-man army, which is great. Barely any ammo for any of the cool guns you find.

          • I know there will be much more to the final product than what we saw in the demo.

            RE was originally meant to be a FPS, but apparently it was awful.

            Parasite Eve 1 & 2 are gems. Have you played any of the Forbidden Siren games?

          • Jason Mounce

            I played a bit of the PS3 one, I think just the demo – definitely was spooky and unique with the idea that you see what they see as they hunt you down.

    • Jason Daniels

      I 100% Agree with you. I think it’s smarter of them to change the way their series plays every now and then, especially since I’ve been disappointed with every game after 4. I mean, personally I don’t like 4 as much as 0,1,2,3 and Veronica but at least they were all about horror up to that point. They weren’t fucking scareless shooters that left me disappointed.

      After I played the Demo I fell in love. I think the art direction, combat (with what limited experience we get), mechanics and puzzles are just what I needed to quench the thirst for a new Survival-Horror Action Puzzler.

      I will definitely be purchasing this game, and I hope people at least understand the game before thinking about dismissing it.

  • Erin Drake

    The demo was good bit its not resident evil. They havent made the game at all. They have no idea what they are doing. Pt was stupid. All theu want is preorders to fund the game. Capcom jas flown the coo coos nest.

    • Yeah that’s my issue with it. Love the demo for what it is, but disappointed that it’s RE7.

  • Vitrorax

    I wonder if THIS game will have a helicopter that blows up too, like just about every single RE title to date. lmao

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