E3 2016: Resident Evil VII: Beginning Hour Impressions
Warner Bros wasn’t the only company to release a demo to the public at E3. Capcom also showed the first trailer for Resident Evil VII: Biohazard (apparently titles Biohazard VII: Resident Evil in Japan) and released a demo alongside it. While it’s not a huge demo, it’s definitely a promising start for the new Resident Evil.
The Resident Evil VII: Beginning Hour demo isn’t a part of the final game which is targeted for a January 2017 release. It’s more of a proof-of-concept demo showing off a new first-person perspective (which Capcom refers to as “Isolated Perspective” because reasons) and a lack of combat (especially when compared to RE6). As a result, people are comparing it to indie darling Outlast and Konami’s P.T. demo for Silent Hills.
The other difference from previous Resident Evil titles is that this game doesn’t have any combat. I can’t even say that the game is about puzzle solving or jump scares either. The path to the ending is pretty well set so I can’t even say that there were any puzzles in the demo.
Where RE7 Beginning Hour does thrive is in terms of atmosphere. The game looks really good which adds to the atmosphere because this is a house from your nightmares. The interior is dark and dilapidated. There are bugs, unidentifiable food and other organic parts and a decaying horse lying around. No, there aren’t any jump scares but things move around the house when you aren’t looking so they aren’t jump scares but they freak you out.
Beginning Hour is really what we consider great modern horror games to be before they tack on all the shooting. In the case of Dead Space, it started out more atmospheric before dropping all pretense of being a horror game in DS3. The RE7 full game is supposed to have action in it so maybe it’ll be a lot closer to the older Resident Evil games but hopefully not going full Resi 6 with the action moments. That would take this promising horror demo and turning it into a first-person shooter.
Interestingly for a demo, people have been able to dig up four different endings (though most think that there are more waiting to be discovered). When you play through it the first time, you’re going to find one ending. There are a few alternate endings but the very end of the demo is pretty much the same regardless of what happens immediately preceding it but that is what changes for the endings.
It’s also worth noting that the “Beginning Hour” part of the demo’s title has nothing to do with length of the demo. At most, the demo will take you 20 minutes. With replaying for alternate endings, it probably gets closer to an hour in length.
Overall, it was a pretty good experience if a bit short. It was nice to have a psychological horror game where you’re doing a good job scaring yourself because of what might be coming rather than waiting for the next jump scare. Hopefully the addition of action sequences in the full game don’t take away from the atmosphere on display in this demo because Capcom is onto something good based on this demo.
The Resident Evil VII Teaser: Beginning Hour demo was played on PlayStation 4 but the game will also be available on Xbox One and Windows PC. The game is scheduled for release on January 24, 2017. Impressions of this demo do not necessarily represent the state of the game at release. Your impressions of the game may differ based on platform played on and whether you want an action-horror or a proper horror game.