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Biohazard brings Resident Evil back to its roots
February 1, 2016
By John Powell - G4 Canada
As I wandered around the abandoned police station, all was deathly quiet on the screen and in my living room. Everyone was in bed. I had the lights off and my headphones on. Gun drawn, I found a hallway. Where it led, I didn’t know. Windows cast spidery shadows over the walls and floor. All I could hear is the wind and rain howling outside.
When the Licker burst through the ceiling and landed on the floor in front of me, I dropped my controller to the floor in complete shock.
Playing Resident Evil 2 on the Nintendo 64 was pure gaming goodness back in the day. It brought together two of my favourite things ever: video games and horror movies. Nineteen years later, instead putting out another standard shooter, Capcom has revisited the original Resident Evil format with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and in doing so has recaptured the former magic of the series.
In this throwback with all the modern next-gen trappings, you are the fresh-faced Resident Evil hero, Ethan Winters. Winters is drawn to a forsaken plantation in Dulvey, Louisiana, after his wife goes missing. In a welcome departure from the traditional Resident Evil series, it is not the undead you end up tangling with but the demented Baker family who have been transformed into grotesque monstrosities under mysterious circumstances.
Having more in common with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie franchise with a touch of the Evil Dead rather than Night of the Living Dead, Biohazard is categorically creepy, very unnerving at times, grisly and violent. Although it does have its gory moments, Biohazard relies more on its eerie and unsettling atmosphere rather than gross-out moments to raise those goosebumps.
The Baker house, where you will spend most of your time, is a character all on its own almost like the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. It lives. It breathes. It creaks. It groans. It is intimidating and discomforting to explore especially when you are being hunted by a member of the family. Inspired by the very best horror movies, the hunter and prey parts of the game can really freak you out as you hide and sneak around the house while being stalked.
Like old-style Resident Evil gameplay, the plantation is full of peculiar puzzles you must solve. Some require you to just retrieve a key to open a locked door while others have you aligning shadowy shapes and breaking simple codes.
One of gaming’s original crafting systems is also back with Biohazard. You can collect and combine objects in your inventory to produce more powerful ammunition, healing concoctions with those familiar herbs or enhance your weapons.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is not for the faint of heart. Some of the images are sincerely nightmarish, like one abomination that’s a ghastly fusion of a woman and an arachnid. Ugh. Then again, if you are a survival horror fan, Biohazard is an experience like no other by the true masters of the genre.
The idea to take the series back to its origins was a marvelous one and the execution is flawless. Resident Evil 7 is not only one of the best in the entire series, it is strong competition when it comes to the best games of 2017.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Rating: 9.5 / 10
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