If you are a survival horror fan then you have probably become relatively disillusioned with the genre’s progression over the past few years. The term ‘survival horror’ has even become a rather redundant term for many games – which claim to be so – but are actually just spooky shooters.
Fear not, for Resident Evil: Biohazard (or Biohazard 7: Resident Evil as it is known in Japan) has come to the rescue of what perhaps isn’t the most popular type of game, but is certainly one of the most thrilling and engaging.
As a massive survival horror fan, I can honestly and proudly say that we are now very much surviving the horror once more. Whether you’re a newbie to this type of game, but enjoy having your nerves scrambled, or are by now a deadpan veteran to scary games, you are in for an absolute treat (provided you don’t suffer from motion sickness).
Like any great survival horror game (or any horror story for that matter) Biohazard involves an unwitting protagonist called Ethan Winters goose-stepping headfirst into a grizzly and very lethal nightmare; completely ignoring very blatant indicators of more than likely dismemberment. From this point onwards, you are trapped in a foul and unforgiving world, viewed very intimately from the first person. Let’s just talk about how real the camera work is in this game.
Biohazard, being a first person game, means that all of the diabolical happenings are right up in your face, removing the barrier between television and living room, injecting the terror straight into your perception in a fourth-wall-shattering display of witchcraft.
Seriously, Biohazard is going to get behind your eyes and under your skin. You are going to experience the violating discomfort and woozy proceedings afforded only by games like Outlast (from which Biohazard certainly took queues).
Speaking about taking queues, Biohazard is a melting pot of goodness. It seems to have taken the best parts of classic survival horror titles such as early Silent Hill titles and the above mentioned hit, American horror blockbusters like Evil Dead and The Chainsaw Massacre and, of course, the winning elements of the Resident Evil franchise in general.
After a rather mouldy decline into schlocky, action-heavy drudgery, Capcom have reincarnated their much-loved phenomenon with as much visceral calamity as can be fit into a Blu-ray disc.
“So, what is this game even about?” you may be wondering if you haven’t been following its development or hype. Without giving too much away, our seemingly nondescript hero finds himself submerged in crap when he haplessly waltzes into what looks like a derelict house, which actually turns out to be hosting various kinds of abominations and a very twisted family. The kind of family you’d have family dinners with on a Sunday – you know – if they weren’t completely deranged, sadistic, horrendously strong and seemingly invincible.
As for gameplay, prepare for a shocking rollercoaster through some tough as nails backwater bungholes. It is completely thrilling. Gone are the days of mowing down hordes of lumbering undead. Biohazard’s fights are tough, and they require you to be as observant as you are adaptable if you wish to win this one.
The enemies in this game require outsmarting, because physical force alone just isn’t going to cut it. The average person is going to endure a lot of chopping, gouging, and evisceration, as they frantically scramble about each grizzly arena in search of victory.
You will certainly be doing a fair amount of your own daring handiwork. As you’ll soon discover, Ethan isn’t shy about getting his hands dirty either.
Seeing as you’re an ordinary citizen free of any military training (as many previous Resi heroes possess), don’t expect to be lining up headshots or filleting creeps with a bowie knife. Ethan is just an ordinary guy trying to make the best out of a very unsanitary situation.
Biohazard successfully develops this theme, as his pistol slightly sways when being pointed. A reliance on makeshift weapons and tools makes up the meat of your inventory and progression.
This doesn’t mean that Ethan can’t hold his own in a fight, as you will quickly find out. He’s not afraid to go toe to toe with meanest of monsters.
The graphics are incredible. The gross, gloomy environments, nefarious characters, and other grizzly mise en scène are phenomenally cinematic. The gore has been lovingly detailed and orchestrated, the crescendo coming in the boss fights, which are truly a sickening spectacle to behold. Here one must keep their head as whatever crazed, mutated juggernaut tries to splash you against a wall. Combining the environment, your inventory and sheer brutality, each fight is a ferocious puzzle. The boss fights in this game are nefariously exhilarating.
Biohazard’s short story might be its weakest point, but it is still very intriguing. You’re not only doing your best to survive in this madness, but trying to rationalise it too, trying to piece together small moments of clarity to get the bigger picture. It’s a short and sweet affair all in all, but you might very easily want to play it again, especially if you missed out on some of its secrets and collectibles.