REVIEW: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Let me just brush the dust off here… And there… Oh. Yes. I’m back. Maybe. Probably. Who knows? Where have I been? Reality. That cold horrible real world that takes up your entire soul.

But enough about the boring stuff. A game came out. I played it. I have opinions on it. You may remember a while ago I posted my thoughts on the Resident Evil 7 Demo; well the full game was released and I completed it (about a month ago but that’s not important). I also played some of it in virtual reality! Why did I not play the whole thing in VR? I unfortunately suffer severely with migraines and they kicked up a storm after a few sessions in the headset and I played this game mostly while I had a severe bout of flu. Like I said: boring, unnecessary details.

You know how this works:

Title: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Genre: First-person, Survival Horror
Release Date: January 24th, 2017
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom

Before we continue, I’m going to point out that I am yet to play any of the DLCs.

In Resident Evil 7, you take the role of Ethan Winters who has received an e-mail from his believed to-be-dead wife, Mia, 3 years after she disappeared whilst on a “babysitting” job. Ethan follows the e-mail to a supposedly abandoned mansion known as the Dulvey Plantation and encounters more than he bargained for when he discovers the Baker family and their secrets still living within the derelict walls.

Has Resident Evil really redeemed itself?

This latest instalment to the series has a very different air about it than the previous (atrocious) Resident Evil 6. We are taken back to the horror roots of Resident Evil 1 and for the first time ever playing in first person. Despite having weapons, including a grenade launcher at one point, the fear factor never lets up. Every corner you turn, every hallway you walk down, every room you enter is terrifying even with magnum in hand.

Graphics are a hit and miss. If it’s something that’s truly important to you, play the PC version. Areas are gorgeous, horrifying and unique yet familiar. All the tiny details from scratches in the walls to the small interactive objects you collect around the house immerse you further into the terrible tale. You’d possibly expect that in VR it would engross you even more? Not quite. There was an incident at the start of the game when I was walking through the woods where I encountered an extremely 2D tree. The visuals within the headset are significantly scaled back to the point that reading the text was hard for me (maybe that’s a personal experience). Although the game has a few rendering and texture issues overall it’s beautiful to look at but the VR experience lacks the same depth. In the guest house I was able to peer around corners but rather than seeing a complete hallway some sections were lost to a large white space where the game had not loaded the next section.

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Source: The Verge

The enemies are truly horrific. I won’t lie: the molded were the scariest for me. Possibly due to an inner fear of mould I hadn’t yet discovered but there was something about the way they walked and their squeals that made them harder for me to conquer than the human enemies of the game. Their Resident Evil 2 Licker-style counterparts silently crawling up behind you made walking around the ship particularly difficult for me; even though I knew I was safe after closing the doors, hearing them and seeing them scurrying around outside was enough for me to “NOPE” my way out of there.

Gameplay is smooth and simple: aim and shoot. The inventory was similar to older titles in the series meaning you had to manage what you brought with you but felt slightly clunky in terms of actually grabbing what you need; whether that is down to sheer panic or a fault of the game, I’m not sure but I found I would accidentally select the wrong key multiple times throughout the game (even when I wasn’t being chased). VR gameplay is slightly clunkier as rather than aiming with the analogue sticks you aim with your head and I had more than one moment where my crosshairs would refuse to zoom in on enemies which then caused a lot of wasted ammo.

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Source: VG247

Where did it go wrong?

Unfortunately for me where Resident Evil 7 lets itself down is actually its narrative. Bare with me on this because I did genuinely enjoy the story. Maybe it is due to being a massive Resident Evil fan, maybe it’s just the amount of collectables I picked up or maybe it is the horror genre in general but I guessed the main “plot twists” (if you can call them that?) at the very beginning of the game even so far as to add more depth to characters who the developers had made fairly 2D (cough – Zoe – cough). The reveals weren’t surprising to me. You can tell that the narrative is the main focus of the gameplay towards the latter parts of the game because where we once had doors that would shake but were inaccessible or our character’s would at least push against them, we just had a painting on the wall that looked like a door but couldn’t be interacted with.

The final build up of the game led to nothing. The final boss felt more like a reaction-command sequence than the run and tactically shoot/hit the previous boss battles had given us. It reminded me of Final Fantasy X‘s flea of a final boss; you just cast zombie and heal it twice and it’s over, (if you haven’t played Final Fantasy X, here‘s the fight). And the final “reveal” of a “familiar face” annoyed me to no end. It made Ethan’s endeavour feel irrelevant, everything he had endured could have been avoided if he’d waited 24 more hours because don’t worry, our big Resident Evil hero is back and to save the day. Your choice you make before the final sections also feels like less of a choice and more a question of “how much do you love your wife?” as even though the game doesn’t call the ending a “Bad End” it certainly makes you feel like it is with Ethan’s sudden depressing outlook on life after the night’s events.

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Source: gameranx.com

Overall, Resident Evil 7 is a brilliant new entry to the series with a fantastic soundtrack, throwbacks to the much-beloved origins of the series (I saw you shotgun puzzle) and will hopefully keep the focus on the horror elements that the die-hard fans crave. I hope that the DLCs have added to the narrative rather than taken away and give more depth to the Baker family and their story as it would help us understand this new not-virus-bioweapon-thing even more.

I give this game: 4/5capcom-resident-evil-biohazard-logo

REVIEW: Overcooked

Wow. It has been a long time. Life got in the way but let’s be real, I have just been lazy. I have wanted to write this review for a long while now. I mean, I bought the damn game on the opening week for it (possibly day) so I should have done this by now.

“Let us start from the beginning” as the Onion King would say…
Title: Overcooked
Genre: Co-Op, Cooking Simulation
Release Date: August 3rd 2016
Publisher: Team 17
Developer: Ghost Town Games

Overcooked tells the story of 4 chefs (or 2/3 depending on how many players there are) tasked with going through the ages starting from the ’90s heading in to the present day to fend off and satisfy the evil “beast”; a giant meatball with spaghetti hands. You are aided by the Onion King and his dogs, one of which is named Kevin!

So the storyline is ridiculous, but c’mon! Who doesn’t love a dogs with human names and a GIANT meatball villain?!

Controls are very simple with it just using a maximum of 3, that’s right 3, whole buttons. One for grabbing, one for chopping and one for getting a speed boost. If you include the analog sticks then I guess 4 but who does that?

I like simple to follow controls because it means I can play these sorts of games with family. Most notably, my mother.

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Source: ghosttowngames.com

My mother got inherently addicted to this game, as did I. The co-op aspect of this game will fill living rooms with shouting, screaming and eventually cheering as you finish each level. I have never so badly wanted to play a co-op game as actual co-op as most will include a single player option. Overcooked does but you are still required to control 2 people and then controls switch to 6 buttons and I don’t want to get in to that.

Levels are varied to the extremes from trying to navigate across a slippery ice path with soup in hand to a haunted house in complete darkness trying to make a pizza. Stressful as they may be, the satisfaction of getting 3 stars greatly outweighs it. The designs are wonderfully done and had that ‘old-school’ nostalgia affect on me; I loved it.

Each level has a time limit that varies based on area and how many players there are. I noticed that the final level when playing single player starts from 15 minutes whereas with two it drops significantly to 12. I don’t want to imagine what it is with 4. But it adds to the fun! I loved screaming at my mother to “PUT THAT BURRITO DOWN AND SAVE THE RICE” as she ran off the side of a rock surrounded by molten lava and her character presumably burned to death.

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Source: rockpapershotgun.com

The characters are so cute!

Overcooked shows a surprisingly wide variation of character selection for an indie simulation from a large fat cat to a man with a huge grin which after a while becomes rather menacing. But the one who sticks out the most: the raccoon in a wheelchair.

If a small title like this can include this much diversity, I’m sure AAA titles should soon get the hint. Maybe not. It’s fine. I’ll continue to dream of the day EA releases a game about a wheelchair bound raccoon and his adventures.

So what’s wrong with Overcooked?

First of all, it’s short. Playing the story without aiming to get 3 stars on every level ends faster than what you’d expect. My heart sank when I realised every corner of the board had been filled after only a few hours of play time. I hope that Ghost Town or Team 17 will produce some DLC of additional levels sometime soon… (Or a sequel…) However, the game has a lot of replayability especially for those who didn’t get 3 stars on every level first time around (me).

Second of all, I found some levels contained small but sometimes unplayable glitches. On one of the lava levels myself and my mother found our character would occasionally speed boost off of the screen and die despite the fact we hadn’t touched any of the buttons and would have been waiting for the tables. Annoying when it happens once, but it happened to at least one of us almost every time we loaded the level.

Another was on one of the ice levels my character did the same speed-boost trick but actually ended up on the outside of the kitchen. Not off the map. The kitchen. I was stuck in the outside trees with the penguins without being able to throw myself into the water or help my team out, slowing us down quite a bit and causing us to lose out on a star.

Apart from that…

The game is fantastic.

I would highly recommend Overcooked to anyone who wants a fun, easy co-op game to play with friends or with someone who maybe doesn’t play a lot of games and wants to join in! This is the first game I have wanted to 100% in a long time as achievements are easy to obtain and like I said, it’s addictive. I had to stop myself and my mother playing just so that we wouldn’t finish the game too quickly.

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Source: xboxoneuk.com

I give this game: 5/5!

And finally…

Shout out to Ghost Town and Team 17 for the little message at the start of the game allowing anyone to use footage of the game for whatever they please. It’s hard to find a studio that allow that anymore and I’m happy to see one that understands: Lets Players are advertising your games, not stealing them.

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THOUGHTS: Resident Evil 7 Demo

I disappeared for a while. Real life got a bit too real. I’m hoping to be back now for at least a while.

Considering last week was E3, I feel in the post-convention depression I should talk about at least one of the games we got something out of. This won’t be so much a review as it will be just a discussion of my thoughts on it.

Anyway! The basics of the complete game are:

Title: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Genre: Survival horror
Release Date: 24th January 2017 (supposedly)
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom

The gameplay demo for RE7 was released just after or during Sony’s press conference at E3 and PlayStation Plus players could play it immediately. I’m going to stop here to have a disclaimer: I have not played the demo but have watched a fair few YouTubers play it, for different endings and different play styles.

Let’s get the elephant out of the room here and acknowledge that this demo was clearly inspired by PT. Heavily inspired. Capcom saw how well it did and sat around a table and said, “Why don’t we do this but…with weapons?!” and they all clapped and cheered over how great the idea was.

I’m not saying that that’s bad. A lot of horror creators have taken inspiration from PT because if we’re all honest with ourselves: it was scary. You didn’t want to go through the next door because even though you knew it was going to be the same, you didn’t want to risk it being different. The voices and writings appearing at random intervals, Lisa slamming the bathroom door, an aborted fetus in the sink. All of these things were little details that made that demo scary.

But I’m sorry to say that Resident Evil 7’s demo is not scary. There is no fear factor wandering around that house.

The people I watched playing it, yes, had certain moments of breathlessness but not outright fear. There was nobody sat in the chair saying “I do not want to go through that door” or “I don’t want to go up that staircase“. They all continued moving through the house and most wanted to continue exploring.

I mean there had to be a reason for that dummy finger… Right?

One video I watched, the player ignored the moaning/grumbling from behind the TV room door and just talked over it. Moments that should have been chilling just weren’t.

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Source: ign.com

Maybe this is psychological and it’s because as a series Resident Evil went downhill very quickly, and after the abomination of a game that was Resident Evil 6, fans aren’t frightened of this series anymore. It’s like a small child dressing up as a zombie and telling “BOO!”, you might jump or have a small step backwards but underneath the make up you know that they’re just another third person shooter trying to play horror.

I’m glad that Capcom have finally decided to go back to the horror basics but they can’t be too disappointed that fans are sceptical especially when their demo idea has already been done…in the past year.

Moving on as I don’t want to dwell on the not scary thing.

Gameplay looks solid. The inventory system looks similar to that of older RE games, especially the briefcase from RE4. I liked the addition of assigning items to buttons as nothing was worse (to me) than in older RE games when you were fighting an enemy and you might as well have said to them “hang on I just have to rearrange my pockets because I’m out of ammo!“.

The first person perspective is obviously very new to main-game Resident Evil and maybe it will be a nice change. Though there is a nagging sense in the back of my mind that Capcom have only decided on first person so that they can take advantage of VR.

That then begs the question of: is the HUD going to look similar to that of Umbrella and Darkside Chronicles or will they have an entirely different appearance ready for us?

Overall, I liked the demo.

There are a lot of questions that I want to ask but in time they will be answered: Are the enemies zombies? Is Umbrella coming back and not a knock-off company? Why is none of the demo content or characters going to be in the main game? Are they relevant? Will we see any old faces? How is the VR going to work? And what is the deal with that creepy girl who pops up at every corner of the demo?

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Source: gamerant.com

As a long-term fan of Resident Evil I’m excited and nervous to see where this new road takes us but Capcom seem confident that this won’t be a repeat of 6. And hey! No quick-time events either!

I say, roll on January 24th. Let’s make Resident Evil great again.

Just please don’t make us jump out of the way of any trains again…

 

Hello World!

Yes, I know. Cheesy title to a first ever blog post. Though, if you think about it, I am speaking (typing) to anyone and everyone around the world right now. Some of you might not even speak English and yet here you are!

Realistically there aren’t any of “you’s” yet but I hope that there will be because my ego and self-worth is based on how much attention I receive and how many likes I can get on any form of social media. (Let’s be honest, that is how the world works now).

So, anyway, let’s get down to the boring “detes” as the kids say (the kids never said it but as an adult I must try to be hip and exciting). My name is Kirsten and I’m from that little island in the middle of the atlas called England.

Now what will this blog about I hear you ask? (I don’t, but I’m gonna answer it anyway). I’ve always wanted to write reviews; mostly about video games but ranging to films and TV shows because you always need someone shoving their opinions down your throat and I’m going to add to that list. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find me entertaining enough to keep reading. I’m going to start with video game reviews and get to the others and the more personal posts as this blog gets older.

I think that’s all the introductions out of the way. I hope whoever is reading this will keep with me and enjoy. Who knows what I will review first? The answer is me I do. So…

Hello World!