During Sony's E3 Press Conference they announced Resident Evil 7 : Biohazard to the masses, and the trailer indicated a very different kind of Resident Evil experience. Almost immediately comparisons came to PT, the teaser releases for the sadly cancelled Silent Hills, but this was not a negative comparison. Most seem welcoming of the new, atmospheric feel. They also announced a demo for the game would be made available in North America soon. Fortunately, we at TechRaptor had the opportunity to play the Japanese demo which was released several hours before North America. These are some of our first impressions.
As the trailer indicated, the environment is beautifully made. In that horror way of course—beautiful in this case meaning appropriately decrepit. There is a lot in the environment to interact with, and it all helps spin the story of what is happening in this abandoned house you wake up in. Your aim in the demo is to escape the house, and surprisingly there are multiple methods to do this. We played the demo a second time and found a different possible puzzle to complete. There seem to be at least three possibilities, which is likely a hint towards how the full game will be effected by your choices and environment interactions.
The PT feel doesn't stop at the trailer. Aside from some very familiar faces, the feel of the game is different from most Resident Evil games. It's hard to pinpoint from the demo where the story of Resident Evil 7 will take place. There is no combat in the demo, nor any avoidable threats for now. There will definitely be combat later however, as evidenced by the Aim Assist in the menu. Like PT, you just have to figure out how to proceed. There are a few soft jumpscares thrown in of course, though for the most part it seems to be based on atmosphere. We played the demo as a group, but played on your own, the atmosphere definitely has the potential to get your heart racing.
The main hope is that it will be different enough from PT and Silent Hill to stand independently, and that it will still feel enough like a Resident Evil game to appeal to fans. However, the new feel will appeal to horror fans who may not typically like the more raucous Resident Evil titles.
Find more of our E3 coverage at our E3 2016 Coverage Hub.