E3 2016: Resident Evil 7 channels old-school scares with new VR technology

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Like many, I was shocked to see the announcement of a brand new Resident Evil game at Sony’s E3 2016 Press Conference. The series, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, has a very passionate fan base, and seeing its new announcement caused quite the commotion.

Though the series is now known for its more over the top action-horror set pieces against foes that make Cronenberg’s take on body horror seem tame, what we saw was a far more subdued and rawer take on classic horror – and, perhaps more importantly, a virtual reality component that is likely to scare the pants off you.

On the E3 show floor, the folks at Capcom built a massive house to keep its new creation underwraps. I had the chance to experience it first-hand and while being led in through a dark hallway to a single room containing the game and the PlayStation VR headset, creators set the right mood to check out something truly dark and terrifying.

Resident Evil 7

Needles to say, the setup paid off. Resident Evil is just as scary, if not even more frightening, when the screen is pressed up against your face.

Resident Evil VII is clearly aiming to have a stronger emphasis on horror, much like the earlier entries in the series. With the last two mainline titles, action-horror was the name of the game – with the emphasis on action – and many fans, myself included, felt that the series got a bit too into the wacky storylines and over the top thrills. So I can say it’s a welcome change of pace to see that things are going back to the roots of the series.

Re-enter the survival horror

Set in an abandoned mansion, you’re placed in the shoes of an unknown and confused survivor in a derelict mansion. With only vague scribbles on torn sheets of paper to guide them, you must find a way out of the locked house while learning of the horrors that transpired there – but you soon learn that you’re not alone and something sinister is lurking in the shadows.

As you explore the house, you find the remains and relics of those who once ventured into the derelict building. During one chilling moment, you recover an old VHS tape which recounts the final moments of a reality TV crew exploring the mansion.