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Game Review

Resident Evil games have been around for more than 20 years now, encompassing some 25 different titles sold all around the world and on every game console, PC and even smartphones. So we might not expect the latest iteration, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, to break much new ground. But the gamemakers at Capcom certainly give it a creepy old college try here, delivering something of a reimagining of early Resident Evil offerings.

The Creep and Carnage of Horror

This survival-horror adventure starts out by slipping players into the first-person shoes of a young protagonist named Ethan. He's drawn out to the backwater rot of a deserted old manor in Dulvey, La., in search of his long missing wife.

There's no Raccoon City or Umbrella Corporation in the early parts of this remix. We simply receive a mysterious video message sent from Mia (Ethan's wife) and then start digging our way through a dilapidated, sprawling old house packed with baleful shadows, piles of garbage, curling wallpaper, old photographs and a whole lot of rotting, fetid gunk.

Another difference this go 'round is the absence of any run-and-gun monster-mashing or apocalyptic world catastrophes—elements that have been the beating and dribbling heart of recent Resident Evil titles. No, this game is more of a limp-along throwback to the gaming days of slowly peeking around black-shadowed corners, listening to the muck-covered floorboards squish beneath your feet and digging about in the moldy filth, looking for small puzzle-solving clues or something to use as a weapon.

Eventually Ethan stumbles upon his beleaguered beloved and is introduced to the Baker "family," hick horribles who are holding her prisoner. And that's when you suddenly realize just how Capcom decided to shake things up with its new game. For if the classic RE games were heavily influenced by the shambling zombies of all those old George Romero pics, this game—and its impossibly powerful, cannibalistic and brutal hillbilly family—is something much closer to a gruesome blend of The Living Dead with something like Deliverance or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Hack 'Til You Ache

If that description brings murky, disturbing and grotesque images to mind, you're likely only scratching the surface of how nasty this game really gets. As you're attacked over and over by the seemingly impossible-to-kill Bakers (as well as, spoiler warning, your own possessed and infected wife) you're called upon to lop limbs and hack repeatedly at gushing and grossly morphing flesh.

You blast away at screaming characters with pistols, a shotgun and a skin-crisping flamethrower. You snatch up a chainsaw and carve out hunks of muscle and bone or saw down through the top of a foe's noggin with grisly glee. You gouge out eyeballs and splatter gore everywhere.

Yes, there are some of the traditional zombie-like, oil-black creatures with desiccated bodies that lurch at you out of the dark and vomit acid in your face. But again, the Bakers are the new breed here. They burst through walls and belch out the foulest and most profane language imaginable as they crawl up and across the ceiling. They saw off your body parts, pound you and rip you, and shove the entrails of other long-dead victims into your mouth.

The Stuff That Sticks with You

Resident Evil 7 also gives players a chance to play in VR if they choose. And though the 360-degree immersion tends to muddy some of the graphics, it definitely makes the game's horror all the more … horrible.

When an attacker lunges at with you in a darkened hallway or hacks off the top of someone else's head with a sharpened shovel just inches in front of you, you can't help but wince at the grisly, ramped-up intensity of it all.

It's right about the time that your character has to reach into a nightmarishly grotesque toilet filled with someone's excrement that you realize you've crossed a gaming line you didn't expect to cross—a grotesquerie that also does double duty as a metaphor for Resident Evil 7's total gaming experience.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

M

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Publisher

Capcom

Released

January 24, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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