Resident Evil VII released last Tuesday and received univers.ally great reviews – some proclaimed it as the return of survival horror and the saviour of the genre. After playing two hours of it; it’s hard to argue against those ascertains, it truly is a brilliant game.
However during my sweep of reviews for the game I noticed something; a little odd, the PS4 reviews were ever-so-slightly higher than the other formats and at first I wondered why this was. Then I brought my copy home, installed it and placed my PSVR visor on; it hit me like a ton of bricks within the first ten minutes – this is the reason I bought the PSVR – and is the reason you should too!‘RIGs’ has been my “go to” since I bought my PSVR – it is an excellent arena shooter that has deep, rewarding gameplay mechanics and a good campaign. However, the campaign in RIGs was bot matches, the format of which is exactly the same as the multiplayer component and as a result of this the campaign (which is excellent) felt like a tutorial/practice mode for the main multiplayer event. This mean that for a player like me who prefers a meaty single player campaign to multiplayer, the campaign was ultimately unfulfilling. It definitely left an itch and a gap in the market for a true single player campaign for hard-core gamers; and it is here that ‘Resident Evil VII’ steps in.
During its development Capcom allowed the media to sample the VR mode and it was rightfully and systematically pulled apart by every one – the issues were unavoidable the movement pace was too fast, the turning was too abrupt and there were more issues that accumulated in the game being a vomit comet…
…everyone was fearing for the worst…
…but Capcom did something very unusual for a games company, they took these comments and took them as feedback rather than a slant against them; read through them and made changes to the core gameplay to make the game viable as a VR game. And the results are absolutely phenomenal!
From the moment you don the headset you are transported from your safe room, to a world filled with unmitigated horrors. The sense of presence here is really quite something.
Within 10 minutes of the start of the game I found my self standing in front of a door (into a dark abyss of mystery) and was unable to walk through it. I just stood there, for about ten minutes; walking up to the door saying out loud; “I’m going through this time!” but stopping shy! This is a sensation that I have felt only once before (‘Here they lie’) but where it was a momentary thing there – in REVII it is a sense of dread that permeates throughout the entire game. On more than one occasion I found myself actively talking myself through corridors or opening doors; hoping to find the courage to continue with my adventure.
VR adds a sense of scale to everything. No longer is a door a 2D thing you pass through to hit a checkpoint; now it is the threshold of something beyond, you can literally lean around the frame and look into it – for all intents and purposes you are inhabiting the game world. And this is a world that has been crafted with masterful precision!
The sheer understanding of horror and what makes us afraid on display here (and it is seemingly effortless too) is staggering – Capcom have bottled terror and repackaged it as a video game experience. The world is believable, the set dressings are absolutely brilliant, the graphics outstanding and the sound direction is quite simply masterful – all of this combines to create a naturally scary environment for the player, one that is constantly unsettling and one that challenges the gamer to continue. There are no jump scares (well maybe one or two) everything that occurs is expertly telegraphed – you know what is about to happen and the game is daring you to let it. When you take the game up on this dare it will shit you up big time through its unusual and unnatural enemy types and non-typical scares.
In the first two hours of gameplay I had to remove my PSVR visor three times in order to compose myself; but compose myself I did and I have continued on my adventure.
Will I see it through to its conclusion in VR?
Yes! Not only do I want to; I feel like I need to! ‘Resident Evil VII’ isn’t a game with a VR mode slapped on it – it’s a VR game with a traditional mode slapped on!
If you have started playing the game on a traditional screen – I implore you; buy a PSVR, play the game with it and experience it the way it was meant to be played! Just don’t tell me you weren’t warned about how scary it is.
Have you tried REVII in VR?
Would you like to play it in VR but haven’t?
Tell me you stories of the game in the comments/facebook/twitter.