Sitting in a chair inside the haunted house that was Capcom’s E3 booth, I wondered what had inspired me to volunteer to check out an early look at Resident Evil 7 Biohazard?I have a track record of jumping at loud noises and flinching at unexpected movements. With a PlayStation VR strapped to my face and headphones pumping ominous tones into my ears, there was only one way out of this terrifying experience?to complete the demo.
Influenced heavily by PT and The Blair Witch Project, the demo was very successful at delivering “horror.” At the start of my journey, I found myself inside an old farmhouse?the one shown during the PlayStation press conference?and was given the prompt to escape. No problem, Resident Evil, I was already planning on doing that, and as quickly as possible. Looking around, the tone was immediately set: Paint was peeling off of walls, leaves and debris were scattered across the floor, and it appeared no one had been in the house for years (if not decades).
I feared for the jump-scare with every doorway I passed, and the times it didn’t come, my anxiety was only made worse. By the time I climbed the stairwell to the attic, I was a ball of nerves. The classic mannequin horror-bit awaited me upstairs, as three, partially-dismembered mannequins stood near the top of the stairs, facing in random directions. I ran past them, tensely, to get to the red button awaiting me on the other side of the room. As I hit the button, a noise behind me made me leap in my chair?much to the amusement of my co-worker Nick, who was sitting sans-VR safely nearby?and I spun around to find not only all the mannequins looking at me, but a fourth mannequin immediately behind me. I was very proud of myself for not screaming.
After several small puzzles, and many nauseating rooms, I found a video tape that I plugged into the VHS player in the room I had started in. Watching the tape took me back in time to another exploration of the farmhouse, this time at night?just when I thought it couldn’t be creepier. Now, I was in the shoes of a cameraman, following around a Ghost Hunters-style host through the haunted farmhouse. This adventure made me rely on a flashlight to see, making the terror all the more close. When I had to crawl through a secret tunnel into a darkened hole, I was nearly ready to hang up the headset and call it good. Yet, I continued on.
After my experience wrapped with several more good scares, I was able to finish the demo with most of my dignity intact. I’m excited to see Resident Evil 7 really embracing the horror genre in this way, and I hope that it continues down the line of more scares, less shooting. Despite the visuals being a little choppy?I blame VR?the atmosphere provided by the game was incredible. This is definitely a game I won’t be playing late at night.
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard arrives January 24th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.