Depending on the initial meal, leftovers can be inferior or better the second time around. It can be consumed the same way to play it safe, but it can also be prepared differently with some new ingredients to mix things up. The latter applies to Resident Evil 7‘s DLC as it attempts to handle the core tone and gameplay while reimagining it with fresh ideas. Banned Footage Vol. 1 specifically addresses this by putting greater emphases on puzzles and tough combat with its three solid modes. Banned Footage Vol. 2 extends this goal in some ways, but its overall impact isn’t as lasting or memorable.
One unique mode is “21,” which – surprise, surprise! – has you playing as Clancy, who’s now gone full circle in having all the Bakers capture him. This time he’s a victim of Lucas’ sadistic inventions, but Clancy’s not alone. He’s sitting across from another man in a contest of cards, and whoever loses embraces death. Both of you draw from a single deck from 1 to 11. Your goal is to add up cards to be as close or equal to 21 without going over, for if you do, this is usually an automatic loss. Each player can see drawn cards except their first one that lies face down. You know your card, but you’ll be mulling over probability as you determine the odds of your competition having a high or low number, which can partially be inferred through a process of elimination. Whether you win or lose, each game that passes raises the stakes of dying, and no matter how much you deduce, guessing and sheer luck is often a factor when deciding to draw cards or not. It’s a game of risk and wits, and since the AI knows how to mess with your head by drawing more or fewer cards than expected, it proves to be an admirable foe.
While I tend to dislike or fail to see the point of board/card games within video games, I do appreciate it when they are thoroughly implemented into the world and have some original twists, which this mode can dually claim. Playing a simple game with Lucas’ haunting torture devices and various CRT TVs looming around you gives a tense Saw vibe to it. The novelty of the setting is helped along by trump cards. These can increase the dealt punishment to the loser, take a particular card from the deck (which can inadvertently reveal the hidden one in your opponent’s hand), or remove the most recent card you or your opponent drew. These are a handful of them, and they can instantly change your prospects or the rules, which can be exceedingly annoying when they act as perfect coincidences that spell your doom. However, they’re still a great addition adding needed complexity. While it does feel a bit out of place in a Resident Evil game, it makes sense in the context of Lucas’ antics, making it a fairly welcome if unexpected part.
“Daughters” is the most story-driven mode thus far, which begins on a wonderfully strong note with the Baker family before their infection. You play as Zoe: the mysterious woman who helps Ethan over the phone in the campaign. Jack storms in soaking wet with a young girl in his arms, so he and Marguerite adamantly see to her well-being. This brief yet intimate look into their lives reveals much about their character as selfless, content folk. It’s emotionally affecting in light of how starkly it contrasts with what they became. Their descent into madness is all the more pitiful and undeserved, and seeing it unfold from Zoe’s perspective is particularly tragic as you experience what she endured before Ethan arrived.
Armed with nothing but a few household items and a lighter, you’re practically defenseless. The goal is to see if you can reach Mia, but the first time you play through the story, you’ll notice there’s a different path that brings about the true ending. Figuring out how to make it happen is a fun process through repetition, but I was actually surprised with its mediocre gameplay. Unlike Vol. 1’s “Bedroom,” which is a full showcase of interrelated puzzles with a neat spin where Marguerite will notice if you’ve changed the room’s layout, Daughters is about some slight trial and error until you find a single solution to progress the right way. After some exhilarating chases and terrifying cutscenes, the lack of ingenuity with AI implementation and puzzles is underwhelming. And with the true order of events, Zoe’s actions don’t make rational sense since they’d require preexisting knowledge of the events to come. The natural flow of the “wrong” path feels more narratively sound. In addition, since the actual length is only about 20 minutes not counting the three or so replays you’ll do, the phenomenal introduction that sets the horror to 11 doesn’t pay off with the subsequent gameplay and abrupt conclusion.
After so much death and despair, “Jack’s 55th Birthday” offsets the previous modes with some comic relief. Taking place in multiple settings of the Baker’s household, Mia is forced to find food for Jack until he’s stuffed. You can access an assortment of weapons and skill items that boost your defense, firepower, or allotted time limit for killing Molded (who are wearing party hats like Jack) from the start. However, be warned. The food takes up a lot of inventory space, so figuring out you need to keep and sacrifice is crucial in how quickly you satisfy Jack’s hunger. The food in question can be combined with ingredients that increase their impact on this, and with special weapons, multiple paths, and specific enemies that unlock new areas upon death, each area invites numerous retries.
You have to deduce the optimal order of exploring rooms and what equipment is best left in or out, so the mode isn’t necessarily hard, but if you crave an S rank for completing an area within an impressive time limit, your smarts are certainly required. Unlike “Nightmares” from Vol. 1, this mode stresses strategic movement and minimal inventory management over gameplay skill and frugal allocation of resources. Figuring out how to get those S ranks can be a fun challenge, and since there are intense versions of the three maps with less than half the initial time, it has the greatest longevity of all three modes. But in regarding the total package, it’s a surprising step down compared to the first offering with less creative design and compelling content. There’s a peculiar pull to it and some redeeming features akin to its predecessor, but just as some leftovers shouldn’t be thrown out, others sometimes give you reasonable pause to pass on them.
Banned Footage Vol. 2 is a mixed assortment of intriguing ideas that don’t pan out or leave lasting impressions. With less depth and replay value to boot, it’s harder to recommend in light of its puzzling price of entry.
- Unique, Detailed Take on Blackjack
- Emotional Impact of Baker Family's Fall
- Strategic Movement in Jack's 55th Birthday
- Molded and Jack Wearing Party Hats
- Lack of Creativity With Gameplay
- Less Content Than Expected
- Low Replay Value