Digital Foundry: Hands-on with Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour

After the action-heavy excess that was Resident Evil 6, fans have been clamoring for the series to return to its survival horror roots. The Revelations titles filled the gap between main entries in the franchise, and many expected the seventh game to follow a similar blueprint – third person gameplay with a bigger focus on exploration and atmosphere than the last couple of titles in the series. But Resident Evil 7 takes the series in a brand new direction that’s sure to polarise fans, swapping out the familiar third-person camera for first-person gameplay. It’s a surprising change, and one that appears to be influenced by the developer’s focus on delivering an experience that is fully playable in VR.

Set 20 years after Resident Evil 6, this latest instalment acts as both a sequel of sorts and a reboot. The emphasis here is firmly on immersing the player into the world, with combat taking a back seat in favour of exploration and some mild puzzle solving. The switch to the first-person viewpoint combined with the game’s ambient use of lighting and environmental sound effects certainly creates a memorable impression, though not always for the right reasons. Wandering around a derelict house in disrepair, creaky floorboards, random noises, and fleeting ambient music rarely do enough to shock or surprise. The game really wants you to take in the surrounds and become immersed in the experience, but doesn’t quite deliver enough to really provide solidify the connection.

Visually, the game pushes more of the right notes, with lighting and effects work creating a distinctive style that is closer to Konami’s PT demo than past Resident Evil titles. Capcom’s new RE Engine paints the environment in realistic shades, with authentic surface shaders adding a natural appearing to materials, while also targeting a 60fps update. Rusty metal work, dusty glass jars, and wooden beams very much look the part, and this is held together with a lighting model that illuminates the dark indoor environment sparingly. Small god rays shine through boarded up windows, while bloom effects creates a mild glow in areas where natural light sources enter the building.

Resident Evil 7’s demo isn’t part of the full game

The Resident Evil 7 demo currently available on PS4 for PlayStation Plus subscribers isn’t actually part of the full game.

Capcom confirmed this to Eurogamer earlier today, where it was also confirmed that the full game will star a different lead character than the man in the demo.

The studio noted that Resident Evil 7 has been in development since 2014.

Resident Evil 7’s demo fails to be the next P.T.

In theory Resident Evil 7 is easy to appreciate. After a series of increasingly action-focused entries trying to capture the magic of Resident Evil 4 – and falling short to varying degrees – Capcom has finally listened to its fans and scaled back the shooty bits in favour of an eerie slow burn through a funhouse of horror cliches. Based on the publicly released 20 minute demo of Resident Evil 7, there isn’t even a weapon to be found. Yet this minimalist first-person entry doesn’t seem like a return to the series’ roots either, but rather the restless folks at Capcom chasing a different trend: that of the minimalist sensory horror experience.

It’s hard to look at RE7’s first-person horror and not be instantly reminded of two other recent genre entries: Kojima Productions’ now defunct Silent Hills teaser, P.T., and Red Barrels’ debut effort Outlast. The former was especially influential based purely on its strangeness. They say what people fear most is the unknown and P.T. was as unknown as it gets. No one even knew what it was or who made it upon its surprise launch (though it didn’t take long to crack). P.T. didn’t use button prompts and it forced players to plough through puzzles that sometimes didn’t make sense as the community worked together to unravel its mysteries. Plus it had quite possibly the most unnerving audio effects I’ve ever encountered in a video game with ghastly radio static and the cries of a sentient deformed fetus raising the hairs on one’s neck.

Outlast used a lot of similar tricks, but wrapped it up in a more familiar video game package. It had stealth sequences and sensible puzzles, for one. It also had a more accessible central narrative compared to P.T.’s elliptical take on storytelling.

Resident Evil 7 announced for PS4 and PlayStation VR

UPDATE: Resident Evil 7 is also coming to Xbox One and PC on 24th January.

ORIGINAL ATORY: Resident Evil 7 has been announced for PlayStation VR and PS4 during sony’s E3 press conference.

It will launch on 24th January 2017, but there’s a demo available to download tonight if you have PlayStation Plus. How very PT.

Resident Evil 5 for PS4 and Xbox One has a release date

The digital version of Resident Evil 5 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One comes out on 28th June, Capcom has announced.

A retail disc version comes out in North America on 12th July. There’s no word on whether this physical version will launch in Europe.

Resident Evil 5 for current-gen consoles includes all the DLC released for the game. So, you get the story add-ons Lost in Nightmares and Desperate Escape, as well as No Mercy Mode, which was previously available only on PC. Capcom said No Mercy Mode on PS4 and Xbox One throws even larger hordes of enemies at players because of the power of the consoles. ROAR!

Umbrella Corps reveals Resident Evil 2 locales

Resident Evil competitive shooter spin-off Umbrella Corps will feature locales from Resident Evil 2.

These include Raccoon City and its Police Department, as can be viewed in the video below in which we went hands-on with it.

Capcom confirmed last year that it will . Whether that will be a straight update to the original PSone title or a re-imagining in the third-person shooter genre the series has migrated towards post RE4 is anyone’s guess. But this gives us a pretty good idea of how these classic locales look on modern hardware.

Four-year-old Resident Evil PR stunt fuels Chinese government denial

Eurogamer noticed an increased number of readers to a four-year-old news story today. The article was about a Capcom PR stunt promoting Resident Evil by setting up a with graphic sculptures of supposedly human meat. Now, nearly four years later, it looks like those images have sparked a rumour so widespread that the Chinese government had to issue a statement.

It all started when we discovered this story about a rumour that China was exporting cans of human meat to African supermarkets. A by Barbara Akosua Aboagye made the allegation using a Eurogamer image of Capcom’s 2012 Resi installation as proof of this dire practice.

The post was shared over 26k times and South African outlets Msanzi Live and Daily Post suggested that this was China’s way of dealing with a lack of space to bury its dead.