The Resident Evil series has been on a downward trend in a lot of gamers’ opinions, mine included. The series revolutionized survival horror, introducing tons of mechanics and systems that would be mimicked and copied for years to come. However, recent games have been more in-line with traditional action titles than anything in the horror genre. A few steps have been taken to rectify this, with some games bringing back the scares. Still, not enough has been done for most fans, but that all changed with the reveal of Resident Evil 7, and its VR mode.
I got to go hands-on with the game, which is the same demo that you can try right now on PS4 via PlayStation Plus. However, I was able to check it out in full VR, using the PlayStation VR. If you saw my initial impressions of the PSVR headset then you already know how well it handles games, and how impressed I was with its performance. Those feelings carried over perfectly into Resident Evil 7 VR, with both the headset impressing me, as well as the headset. Check out the video below for my immediate thoughts after the demo, and keep reading for some more.
The game is a brilliant return to form for the series, with true suspense and horror lasting throughout. What’s odd though is that this “return to form” comes via the game totally reinventing itself in almost every way. Playing in first-person is brand new for a main game in the RE series, but it somehow makes a lot of sense. The game is looking to scare you after all, and what better way to do that than to put you right in the body of the protagonist.
Resident Evil 7 VR Impressions
And this immersion extends even further when playing the game on the PlayStation VR. Looking around by simply moving your head felt natural, while adding to the scares by putting you right in the action. The game isn’t full of jump scares, instead utilizing moody atmosphere, and disturbing imagery to evoke players’ fear. All of this works so much better while playing in VR, with the simplest scare sequence really grabbing you and making you think about ripping the headset off.
With those extra scares comes some lower fidelity visuals, with the shift to VR causing some resolution and quality drops. This is completely understandable and expected, but what is really shocking is how little it really impacts the experience. The game looked great in VR, and this comes from someone who owns a Vive and a very powerful PC. I went into each PSVR experience expecting some very low quality graphics, and came away surprised every time. Resident Evil 7 is no different, and fans should have no qualms about playing through the campaign in VR, rather than on a TV.
So, could Resident Evil 7 become the best RE game ever? The potential is certainly there, with Capcom reinventing the series in new and fresh ways. Unfortunately, this demo is a slice of the game, and one that doesn’t even appear in the final product really. We’ll be getting a different story and setting once the final game ships, though the tone should remain intact. Let’s hope that that is enough to not only revitalize this series, but also deliver a great VR gaming experience for new owners.
Resident Evil 7 hits PS4, Xbox One, and PC on January 24th.