Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017) | History of Horror


Pierce Turner

I’ve already talked about Resident Evil a lot in History of Horror. The original pioneered survival horror, the first couple of sequels built upon it, and RE4 is a slice of fried gold. Notice I didn’t mention RE5 or RE6 at all? Well, let’s just say RE5 is as scary as a baby seal wearing a cowboy hat, and RE6 is as fun as being water boarded by sharks. RE6 is a big flashy action movie and took away almost everything that made Resident Evil good. However, it happened once before where developer Capcom completely changed the series (RE4), so why not try again?

Still probably better than a vegan diet.


Enter “Resident Evil 7: biohazard”, my favorite game of 2017 and the spookiest RE since the original. It trades the explosions and car chases from RE6 for a grounded, claustrophobic mansion in Louisiana. There, you fight to survive against a mutant family who want to feed you human meat and hang you on the end of their shovel. It also trades the third person action perspective for a first person horror, similar to “Amnesia” or “Outlast”. Unlike those titles, you actually get guns to defend yourself! However, you’re about as powerful as a newborn walrus (I don’t know, I’m feeling sea creatures right now). Ammo is scarce and enemies suck your bullets up like they’re nothing. It’s a lot like the original Resident Evil, albeit much harder and scarier.

What makes RE7 so important is the reintroduction of weapons to first person horror games. After “Amnesia”, so many titles would strip players of any defense claiming it made a more frightening experience. The only problem with that is there’s no way to actually fail those games. If you die, you’ll restart at a checkpoint and try again. In RE7, you might run out of bullets and be completely screwed when you have to make it past a certain enemy. Jack, the father in the family, stalks you throughout the first half and is virtually indestructible. It’s funny how much scarier a farmer wielding a big spade calling you names is than the giant bug monsters in RE6. Unfortunately, the “zombie”-like enemies in the game are less memorable and look more like tall men covered in burnt grilled cheese. They bring down what is otherwise a horror classic.

The enemies look like your average Uber driver.

You can see some obvious inspiration from films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and games like “Amnesia” and “P.T.”. It’s ironic that Resident Evil inspired every horror game after it and now RE7 is being inspired by the new lot. However, you can bet your last angry redneck that future horror games will look to RE7.

“Resident Evil 7” is a masterclass in making you feel hopeless. It’s one of those horror games that I recommend playing on the highest difficulty setting for absolute realism, but that’s only if you hate yourself, like me. If you really hate yourself, play it in VR. RE7 in VR on the hardest difficulty is just about the most stressful experience you can put yourself through in gaming, and the spookiest too. Play it until you cry. Then, play with some baby seals to cheer up.