E3 2016: Impressions of the Resident Evil 7: Biohazard demo

KeyArtThis E3 brought several new announcements, one of which was for a new addition to the Resident Evil franchise, aptly titled Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. During the Sony press conference, it was also announced that they’ve immediately released a demo for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. The demo is available now for all PlayStation Plus members. I personally love when content is available immediately, as I’m not the most patient person.

I want to share with you a few thoughts I had about the demo, both from when I saw the initial footage as well as after a couple times playing through it. As someone who has been a Resident Evil enthusiast since the original release, I feel like I have a fairly educated opinion. I’ll be up front though, I haven’t played every iteration of every resident evil game. I have enjoyed playing through most of the great games in the series, and have trudged through some of the games held in lesser regard. Also, I have played some of the side games, like the on rails shooter Resident Evil: Dead Aim. That being said, when I watched the footage and then saw the title reveal at the end, I was more than intrigued, I HAD to try it.

Screen11When I played the demo, I did enjoy myself, as I experienced genuine mystery, suspense, fear and curiosity. In order to obtain the different endings, I played through the game multiple times. Much like everyone else on the internet, I’m still baffled with the dummy finger and whether or not it serves a purpose or if it is just a red herring. I was startled by a jump scare and I looked over my shoulder a couple times. I left the demo with a pretty cheesy grin on my face and went right to bed thinking “they did it”. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on it, I’m still trying to put things into perspective.

Myself, along with several others that I’ve seen on the internet have all recognized that this demo really has a P.T. vibe going on. Some have even gone to the lengths of trying to accuse Capcom of simply trying to cash in on the popularity that P.T. had. I can see that logic, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. I do think that they took influence from that game, and why wouldn’t they? It introduced one of the most tense, anxiety ridden experiences in gaming history. I’m sure you’re going to see a lot of games borrowing from what we experienced in P.T.

Screen12Whether or not I think that this demo is a ripoff of P.T. is one thing, but deciding on whether or not the P.T. influence is a detriment to the Resident Evil series is another. I know that with all of the different iterations of the franchise, it’s hard to say that there is a “cookie cutter” Resident Evil formula, but with the mainstay numbered titles there are definitely some tropes that are in almost all of them. I’m not somebody who fears change, I definitely appreciate progression and trying new things. I do hold the opinion that if you are going to make a drastic change in a franchise that you should have the respect to change the title of your project. Cashing in on an established franchise when you’re putting out something completely unrelated feels lazy to me. So I am stuck between these two schools of thought, should this be considered the new direction of Resident Evil? Or should this be considered canon as part of the series? If the actual game comes out and there is no sign of zombies, but there is a reference to the Umbrella Corporation would that be considered part of the lore or just meager fan service?

Honestly, I think that only time will tell. This is just a standalone teaser demo, which may as well just be showing the tension they can deliver, and the polish they can put on the world. A terrifying tech demo unleashed on the public. Will it be a detriment or will it generate hype for the series? It definitely has me curious and optimistic, I believe I will be a day 1 adopter of the new Resident Evil.