Without a doubt the biggest surprise, for me, this E3 was that Capcom were ready to reveal Resident Evil 7. I was under the impression the game was a long way away from being formally revealed. Not only that, but the form in which Resident Evil 7 would take. We’d heard for years that the Japanese publisher was looking to revamp their flagship franchise, but I wasn’t really sure if they’d truly go ahead with it and in such a wildly different direction either. When Capcom first developed the PlayStation VR demo called KITCHEN, I’d never imagined this would be eventually elaborated on and turned into the next Resident Evil game.
As part of their conference, Sony revealed the brand new Resident Evil. Titled Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, it’s hard to determine exactly what the nature of the title is. Capcom insists it takes place after the events of Resident Evil 6, but this is a very different locale and a very different tone and atmosphere to the neon lit cityscape that Resident Evil 6 took place in. It’s a plantation mansion, hidden away, with sinister underpinnings. Could this be a soft reboot of sorts? We’d certainly wager so, but it’s so hard to say with so little.To convince us, Capcom put out an introductory teaser, titled The Beginning Hour. We’re not sure if this segment from the game, a prologue or something else entirely. But it’s available for free right now to PlayStation Plus members and will literally take you an hour or so to complete. We’d be surprised if it was any longer. In it, you’re introduced to a very brief story of a man, lost in this mansion, and discover how he ended up there. It’s a fairly typical story told in an atypical fashion.
So you wake up in a room and there’s a TV playing white noise and seemingly nobody else around. You’ll explore a small area of the mansion and eventually notice there are some elements of the classic Resident Evil experience here. The examination of objects, the sound objects make when you pick them up, the exploration of drawers and other nooks and crannies all feel like a Resident Evil game. There’s even an inventory – with objects that take up one space or two spaces in the demo. Could this mean a return to the stressful management of inventory? It’s yet to be seen, but so far the indication is more positive than negative.Visually speaking Resident Evil 7 looks fantastic, although there’s a lot of tricks at play here to make the (presumably) lower budget game look better than it probably is. Everything is dark, nothing is ever fully illuminated and if it is it’s covered by a screen filter that hides it. Up close, character models look okay, but at a distance they are more than passable. The locales that you’ll explore are fantastic in the demo and give a feeling of being lived in, desolate and run down.