Bakers And Creatures
The Bakers are crazy. I mean, they are -crazy-. They make the family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like good neighbors, and the irradiated inbreds from The Hills Have Eyes seem like a group I’d like to have a beer with. They. Are. Nuts. What’s more important, is that they are terrifying. I’ve not been as frightened by an assortment of enemies in the series, as I have in this game with the exception of Resident Evil 3’s ever pursuing Nemesis T-Type. That’s because, The Bakers have that same mindset as the iconic monster of the 90’s survival horror genre. Pursue and slaughter, at all costs. Outside of Boss Battles, of which there are numerous, it’s often better to just avoid the Bakers. Also, tactics that work for avoiding one don’t necessarily work for the other. The family really is a trifecta of, braun, bugs (actual critters, not glitches. We will speak on that later), and brains, and you will need to adjust to each accordingly in and out of boss fights.
But, there is more than just the Bakers to contend with. Without giving too much away, there are variants to the basement-creature encountered in the demo that seemed to appear as if from nowhere. Thankfully, in the full game it’s a bit easier to tell when to expect them but that doesn’t make them any less threatening. You will be doing your best to avoid the Bakers, the monsters, and trying to solve numerous lock puzzles along the way. Despite the first person perspective it’s, for all intents and purposes, a new spin on the formula that pulled fans in in the first place. Welcome back, Resident Evil.
A Flawed Diamond
But, there are some flaws with this near-masterpiece. First and foremost, while there are very few bugs the few I encountered did briefly kill the moment of horror. It’s always a bit disheartening when you can troll a boss because their pathing frequently hangs up on a box in the room (though thankfully they will usually smash it before that happens). There’s also a distinct inconsistency with the enemy elements, where some will pursue you relentlessly (The Bakers) whereas the more feral monsters, whom you’d think would be far more aggressive (if perhaps not the smartest) simply give up because you closed a door in their face. On one hand, I’m grateful for that or I may have not had a good strategy to deal with some situations. On the other, it sure would’ve switched things up if those monsters came bursting through the door the same way Jack tends to.
My other complaint is one that will differ from player to player. I do think for a new title that I’ve not played prior to this, it’s too short. When I was younger, I remember the Resident Evil games taking upwards of 7 to 8 hours. CAPCOM stated that Resident Evil 7 would be an estimated 15 hours in length on your first play through (they neglected to mention that that was on the brutal Madhouse difficulty however). My first play through was beaten in just over 6 hours, with 10 deaths, all but 2 documents collected, and 4 coins missing. The only thing I really missed out on a lot of are some destructible collectables called Mr Everywheres that are... well, everywhere.
For those worried about the story though, let me put that fear to rest. For a while, the plot will seem far and gone disconnected from the main arch of the series. But before it’s all said and done, not only does it tie back in; it serves as an exclamation point that looks to kick off several more years of the series to come.
A Fresh Return To Form
If you are like me, perhaps you were getting a little worn down by how the series had gone from mostly a survival horror to an action game. While I’ve enjoyed nearly all of the series, I had a deep longing for the days when it was actually scary. Well, here we are again. We’ve gotten that fear factor back, several times over and it retains just enough action to make it feel like you have a fighting chance of surviving another night in hell... at least, until the ammo runs out.
A frightening return to gameplay elements that made the series great, terrifying antagonists and monsters, perfect setting for a horror game.
Some pathing issues noticed, monsters are not the brightest, a little on the short side for a full retail title.