The Resident Evil franchise can be likened to an American kid going into middle school. It started 7th grade sure of itself as a survival horror game. He was the weird kid, but people seemed to accept him and actually even genuinely like him.
Resident Evil 4 really hit its stride in high school, striking a near perfect balance of horror, puzzles, and action. Assure of itself, it began considering studying survival horror in college for the first time. That was until the jocks took notice of him and invited him to one of their parties…
For the last two years of high school, RE became a meathead, focusing on sports (bombastic action and shooting) instead of his schoolwork (survival horror). Resident Evil 5 and 6 were massive commercial successes despite an underwhelming critical reception from fans noting that the franchise had become a simulated Michael Bay film. At the end of senior year, the Resident Evil series was having an identity crisis and many wondered if it would even go to college at all.
5 years later, and Resident Evil 7 emerges from the shadows dressed in the blood-stained garb of its glory days. Known as Biohazard in Japan, RE7’s official name is Resident Evil: Biohazard with its Japanese counterpart dubbed as Biohazard: Resident Evil, denoting a unification of the series and an overdue return to its roots.
For the first time in the series, Resident Evil 7 is played exclusively in first-person but the wacky puzzles, item scarcity, and creepy atmosphere make a welcome return. PlayStation VR owners can play the entire game in virtual reality making it the first full-length AAA game to be fully playable in VR. This is a great test case for VR which up until this point has consisted mostly of small experiences that failed to prove the real value or justify the cost of the platform.
Fans and critics agree that Resident Evil 7 is a giant step in the right direction for the franchise. By renewing interest in the dying franchise and for laying out the slime-covered groundwork for what virtual reality can be, Resident Evil 7 earns the first Game of the Month award in 2017.