Resident Evil 7: Welcome to Thunderdome
If you were to ask your average twenty-something black male (or female) to list their worst fears and nightmares, it’s a safe assumption that being trapped in a house with a redneck-torture family would be pretty high on that list; so it’s no surprise that Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and it’s southern setting would resonate with me in particular.
I grew up in Texas but my roots are in Louisiana, which means I grew up around nothing but superstition. Stepping into the shoes of a character like Ethan from a first person perspective is akin to the horror I felt when roaming through my grandparents creepy home as a child. This game has provided me with a platform to face my deepest fears, and that’s the shit my mind can come up with.
The RESIDENT EVIL franchise has been around for a very long time. Throughout 20 years, the brand has been fearless in their ability to change things up for better or worse. What started as a fixed camera series eventually evolved into third-person, dividing the fanbase even further. I personally think the third person approach works extremely well, and while the emphasis on action wasn’t a bad thing, the problem was that we were too damn powerful to be afraid of anything. Resident Evil 6 will always be my favorite wrestling game, but a change in direction and tone were more than necessary.
What started as “survival horror” evolved into something more streamlined, placing focus on fucking shit up with slick melee moves as opposed to stressing over where the fuck that key you need to unlock that one door is. It was an interesting if not brave attempt to move the franchise in new directions by taking a step back to see what went wrong with titles like Resident Evil 5 and 6. Which brings us to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Capcom’s latest attempt to win the hearts of the fans they lost along the way by focusing largely on the survival horror elements. However, the action is still here. It’s just more personal and fulfilling. You no longer can rely on your A.I. partner to revive you when you go down, which can happen a lot considering Jack’s favorite thing to do is bitch slap the life out of you. Capcom has also placed strategy at the forefront by bringing item boxes back into the fold. I can appreciate games that allow us time to plan our next move as opposed to constantly going from point A to B.
The game revolves around protagonist Ethan and his search for his wife, Mia – who seems extremely shady on the surface but as the story unfolds you learn more about her motivations. To be honest, I would’ve entered that house with nothing less than a SWAT team backing me up but I digress. The real star of the game isn’t Ethan or even Mia (who certainly gets her time to shine), but Jack Baker. He is the hulking, charismatic, papa bear of the Baker household you’ve seen on the promotional material, who’s chill is so non-existent, the game refers to him as Immortal Jack. And he lives up to that fucking name in every way possible. Jack likes to taunt, chase, intimidate and fuck your shit up every chance he gets. I believe I spent a good 15 minutes in one hiding spot trying to decide why I torture myself with games like this. And I mean that in the best way possible.
I was initially very afraid to play this game. The paralyzing fear that he mansion and overall atmosphere invoked was too real to ignore, but when the will to survive finally clicks and things start to flow, you stop feeling hunted and start feeling like the hunter – and that’s the kind of progression I want from a Resident Evil game.
While the pacing takes a more adrenaline-fueled turn towards the end of the game, the overall product was not only a phenomenal experience, but one I know I’ll remember for yeas to come.