As a longtime Resident Evil fan I was excited to learn about Capcom including Madhouse difficulty in Resident Evil 7. Madhouse difficulty is unlocked by completing the game on any difficulty or from the very start as a pre-order bonus, and aimed at hardcore players and those looking for more of a challenge then the other difficulties offer. So what exactly are the differences on Madhouse difficulty?
- Enemies are smarter, faster, stronger, and there are more of them. Enemy locations have also been switched up a bit. Pro tip: If you are running away from Jack Baker, never EVER look back! Seriously, NEVER. Even the regular Molded enemies move much quicker and more erratic, making it harder to land those precious headshots. You are definitely going to want to go for those headshots because the next change for Madhouse is…. ammo scarcity!
- There is a lot less ammo on Madhouse. To make it even harder there is also less crafting materials for ammo, so it is important to make all your shots count. The shotgun is definitely going to be your new best friend; the M21 can take down Molded with one well-placed headshot.
- Items placement is much different from the other difficulties. Fans of the series may remember something similar from the Arrange Mode introduced in Resident Evil: Director’s Cut. Madhouse item placement does come with some benefits. You will have access to some weapons, such as the M37 and M21 shotguns, and upgrades much earlier than you would on Easy/Normal.
- There are a total of 33 antique coins in Madhouse to collect compared to the 18 on Easy/Normal. While some of the antique coin locations are shared between the difficulties many have been switched. On the plus side, more antique coins means more upgrades! Spoiler alert: the numerous upgrades cost more than the available antique coins (even with the Dirty Coin from the demo you still end up one coin shy of the final upgrade), so make those upgrades count…. (hint: assault coin)
- Checkpoints have almost entirely been removed and saves are now limited to cassette tapes which function as RE7’s version of ink ribbons from previous games. Cassette tapes are just scarce enough to stop players from saving carelessly, but will allow players to save at critical points throughout their journey. I finished with around 6 left by the end of the game.
- Player health regeneration is a thing of the past. Only on very rare occasions will health regenerate and even then it is not by much.
Aside from Madhouse difficulty, Resident Evil 7 comes with a number of New Game + unlockables for players to earn. Many of these can make your Madhouse playthrough less harrowing.
Completing the game on any difficulty will net players the Albert 01-R Handgun. This is the strongest handgun in the game and a replica of the one used during the final boss fight, however, this version only sports a 3-round clip.
For completing the game in less than 4 hours players will receive the X-Ray Glasses and Circular Saw. The X-Ray Glasses work as permanent psychostimulants, allowing players easily find items hidden throughout their journey. The Circular Saw is a powerful melee weapon that will cut through even the toughest enemies.
For completing the game on the Normal difficulty players will unlock The Secrets of Defense which allows more incoming damage to be blocked. This is a must have on Madhouse.
Collecting all 20 Mr. Everywhere statues hidden throughout the game grants players The Essence of Defense which allows players to take more incoming damage with its full potential shining when paired with The Secrets of Defense. Players will also earn a pair of Walking Shoes* that allow faster walking speeds. Unfortunately, they do not alter sprinting speed according to players.
*The Walking Shoes were originally reported to unlock after completing the game in less than 4 hours. I have completed the game in under 4 hours twice on different difficulties and did not receive the Walking Shoes. Several players are reporting to unlock the Walking Shoes you actually need to collect the 20 Mr. Everywhere statues. I am currently in the process of collecting the statues and will update once I finish the game.
Finally, for completing the game on Madhouse difficulty players will be rewarded with Infinite Ammo.
I would like to point out that each of these unlocks is an item that takes 1 inventory slot and MUST be carried to receive the bonus.