By Bryan Smith on June 16, 2016 at 2:05pm
So I've been fiddling with "Resident Evil 7: Biohazard's" (or "Biohazard 7: Resident Evil" for those in Japan) demo called "Beginning Hour." I've also been looking and listening to reactions and comments in regards to the reveal of the game. My, there were quite some angry opinions. However, I noticed that these are among the ones who haven't tried to demo (most of them, anyways), and I think that trying out the demo will hopefully alleviate some of the concerns brought forth by a first-person "Resident Evil" title.
While I warn you that this will contain some spoilers to the demo itself, the demo won't be spoiling the final product of "Resident Evil 7." As confirmed by the game's director Koushi Nakanishi and the demo itself, "Beginning Hour" is only a teaser to the game and won't be seen in the final product. The protagonist of the demo is different from the one in final game.
In any case, this particular teaser is obviously going to spark some immediate comparisons to the cancelled "Silent Hills" teaser "P.T." You walk about in what appears to be a small house in the middle of the woods. Now while there are some mild puzzles in "Beginning Hour," these are nowhere near as obtuse or cryptic as the ones in "P.T." If there was a puzzle like the one forcing you to speak some jargon into a microphone just to make a baby laugh, I think people would be a lot more frustrated. No, these puzzles are more akin to "Resident Evil," as in you need to find something that unlocks a door.
The use of the VHS cassette tapes actual played an intriguing role in the puzzle solving. Take, for example, the room you wake up in. If this is your first time playing (which I recommend you skip the following sentences), then you find yourself in a room with not much to do with. Once you find the VHS tape and play it, you play as a cameraman from the past who went through the same place as you are but in slightly better shape (why whoever killed the guys before didn't destroy the tape is beyond me). By watching the tape, you find out there is a chain to pull in the chimney, which unlocks a secret doorway. Once you're done with the tape, you can pull the chain yourself to find two items to do two different things.
Believe or not, this demo has multiple endings. Two of the more known ones involve either unlocking the door to get out of the house (only to get decked in the face by the father) or using the fuse to unlock a secret set of stairs to answer a mystery phone call (only to receive a familiar fist to the face by said father). Interestingly, the chain can be used anytime you try the demo again, so you can potentially complete the fuse ending faster to get a different call from the caller. However, as far as we know for now, the demo will always end with the protagonist receiving a surprise knuckle sandwich from the father.
Now that leads to the actual gameplay. I will emphasize this- "Beginning Hour" is a TEASER. As in a very small tease/taste of what's to come. You're given a taste of how the character moves and what he (assuming this character is a he, based on the hands) does. You go about finding items and discovering what happened (of what little is given, anyways). A set of wire cutters are used to break a chain, a fuse is used to bring power to a fuse box, etc. The inventory system is pretty much the eight slot one from the classic series, with big items taking up two slots. However, it seems that weapons will be tied to the D-Pad as opposed to the inventory, so you don't have to fiddle with weapons and items in the same mesh. Unless you have too many weapons, but that's an unknown at this point.
The teaser also employs the use of atmosphere and the creepiness. The dead animals and slimy bags of god-knows-what are classic features of a home that houses some form of evil. While the mannequins are more "Silent Hill" (especially the one that pops out of nowhere), along with what appears a ghost girl, the rest of the house and supposed "family" that lives here are generally creepy and unsettling.
What the teaser does great is that it sets things up for the final game. The video tape does a lot more with puzzles than you would think. Granted, it's only for one item, but it's one you may over look. There's a lockpick only the cameraman can use, which is used in the kitche. For him, there isn't anything there. For the present guy, though, there's an axe for you to use. Granted, you don't have any enemies to use the axe on, but it shows how the combat will work. You swing it and the axe gets lodged into surrounding objects. This means that you need to time your swings when an enemy is around, or you're going to die. Just like in past games where if you miss timed, you'll probably going to get hurt or die.
To wrap up my thoughts, I think this is an impressive teaser to show what a first-person "Resident Evil" title can do. I certainly feel where the "Resident Evil" elements will be once implemented and the system functions just like the classics but in first-person. For those still in doubt, I would like to remind you that we still have a lot to be shown still and Capcom promised that there's going to be a lot of what made "Resident Evil" survival horror. Also, "Metroid Prime" was a similar game that wasn't really in first-person before. Just something to keep in mind before writing "Resident Evil 7" off too early.