Resident Evil 7 is the biggest shake-up the series has seen since the switch to an action-based focus in RE4. With a new first-person perspective and gameplay elements reminiscent of Konami’s cancelled PT, this new horror title delivers a fresh take on Resident Evil that also manages to bring the series back to its core survival horror roots. From a technical perspective, a 60fps update offers up a level of smoothness usually reserved for remasters, rather than the latest current-gen instalments. The change in direction isn’t just used to facilitate a return to survival horror gameplay either: it’s also a direct result of the game supporting PlayStation VR, where the first-person action and 60Hz refresh makes an immersive low latency VR experience possible.
These aspects clearly drive the look and feel of the game, and used in combination with a heavy layer of post-processing, generates a vision unlike any other Resident Evil title. Boasting a dark and gritty aesthetic, liberal use of chromatic aberration, depth of field, static, scanlines, and other screen distortion elements, Resident Evil 7 generates a presentation resembling ‘found footage’ running on an old CRT. The result is a soft-focused image that is suitably grimy, but intentionally so, despite the high native resolution of the game across all platforms.
Both PS4 and Xbox One present Capcom’s bleak vision at a native 1080p, with raw clarity sacrificed in favour of a more organic video-like image. Both appear visibly soft, though the PS4 version looks more refined due to its implementation of higher quality anti-aliasing. Here Capcom appears to combine post-process AA with a temporal component, providing a clean image virtually free of edge-related artefacts. In contrast, shimmering is often visible on Xbox One across sub-pixel scenery and specular reflections resulting in a rougher overall look. A simpler post-process AA solution appears to be in effect here, seemingly lacking the additional temporal coverage found on the other versions of the game.