First off – I would like to preface this with the fact that I initially had a VERY negative opinion of the game prior to its release. I was one of those obnoxious purists that had automatically believed that the game was going to be shitty. The story actually had to be spoiled for me to decide I would give it a shot. No spoilers here, though – promise.
So you install the game – which surprisingly doesn’t take very long. We’re already starting off on the right foot. Load it up, setup your experience (brightness, audio, difficulty – the usual) and press start.
The opening doesn’t give too much away in the way of story – just that you take command of a character named ‘Ethan’ and he received an email from his wife who has been missing – for three years. This part screams a bit of ‘Silent Hill 2’ but that is where the similarity ends, and you find her – pretty much straight away – but something is … different about her.
She’s not herself. This is evidenced in her going all Grudge and attacking you in a homicidal rage in between bouts of excitable happiness to see you. Oh yeah – she also chainsaws your hand off. But no worries. Someone will staple you back together in a few with a knockoff FitBit to monitor your vitals.
Yep. Definitely not like Silent Hill 2.
So you basically need to fight off her homicidal advances, figure out why she’s currently living in a home with filthy, dilapidated conditions, and find out why you’re welcomed (forced) into this new family with a lovely punch to the face.
You come to at a dinner table with your new family. Well, you actually have no choice in the matter. You’re tied to a chair, and in front of you is a dinner table full of … meat. You can’t really tell what it is, but what you can tell is that they’re all insane – and very, very homely looking. As the ‘father’ (Jack) attempts to force-feed you this mysterious meat after chopping off his son’s arm, the mother, Marguerite, is screaming and losing her shit because you won’t eat. Dinner is interrupted by the police. Marguerite goes off screaming about one thing or another, Lucas goes to answer the door, Jack disappears, and you fight your way out of your bindings – all while a just about near dead granny is in a wheelchair next to you.
This is where things go out of control – or, rather, even further out of control. Jack decides he’s going to chase you around the house – a house which is very reminiscent of the original mansion – without being a copycat version as we’ve seen in previous titles.
The gameplay is different, as it’s now in first person. Ethan doesn’t seem to move with impunity, however. It kind of feels like he’s the only one running on a floor of duct tape with the sticky side up, while everyone else seems unaffected- and much quicker than you. It definitely amps up the ante, though.
As with the two previous titles (5 and 6) the inventory system takes place in real time. So you either have to get to a safe area to do whatever it is you need to do – or hurry the hell up.
Keys to unlock specific areas make an appearance in the game, along with lock picks (single use, though) and herbs. While there are no first aid sprays, there is a first aid liquid. Ethan just sloppily pours it on his hand, as if it can chug and make itself all better.
The story – while not awful – does contain numerous plot holes, and at some point might be questionable. There is free story DLC coming out (possibly in May) that will hopefully explain the story better and connect some of the dots. The game is also very ‘campy horror.’ Seasoned horror vets might not be affected, but newcomers might be inclined to shit themselves at some point. I find it hysterical and I love it.
The game itself is pretty great. While I’m not sure that it is completely deserving of the ‘Resident Evil’ title, it definitely brings the game back to its survival horror roots. If you’re looking for a decent survival horror title with a delightful descent into insanity, this game is worth a play through. I was definitely pleasantly surprised.