Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of the series. I've played REmake, 2, and 4 more times than I can count, and zero, 3, revelations, and code veronica were fairly enjoyable, but flawed games. Like every fan of the series, I thought 5 was a downward slide straight to an even worse 6th entry, so when everyone said that 7 was a return to the series' roots, I got excited. I guess let's start with the story, and we'll get to why I'm so disappointed. Should go without saying, but spoilers ahead.
The story starts off fine, if a little cliché. You are Ethan Winters, a profoundly uncharismatic character. Your wife Mia, presumed dead, has sent you a video warning you not to come find her at this spooky house in Louisiana, occupied by the Baker family and about 6,000 gallons worth of black goop. This part of the game was great, you enter this pretty creepy house and find all sorts of weird things, including your wife, who is acting very strange. She attacks you, cuts off your hand, and you are taken by the Baker family as a hostage. You escape, and are hunted at first by the father, Jack Baker. Like I said, this part is good. Reminiscent of being hunted by Nemesis in 3, or tyrant in 2, Jack is at this point, an un-killable enemy hounding you. Along the way you are contacted by Zoe, a member of the family who wants out and needs your help making a cure. Basically, there's a weird virus that forces the family to stay in the swamp, a virus that your wife seems to have also caught. Now with a goal, you can explore the mansion and grounds looking for boss fights with Baker family members, or ingredients to make the cure. I'll talk about the boss fights later, but suffice to say they're fairly hit or miss. Eventually, you make the cure, and are forced to chose between Mia or Zoe, I picked Mia. You leave the house in a boat, and are stopped almost immediately by a large derelict ship, crashed in the swamp. Ethan is taken by goop, so now you play as Mia, rescuing him. At this point you learn Mia was special forces of some kind, though it's really not elaborated on more than that. Apparently she was part of some vague experiment with a created bioweapon named Eveline, who can create hallucinations and control people with her mind. The game never really seems to do anything with the fact that Mia was apparently part of a group that created bioweapons, it's just kind-of glossed over. It's revealed that this is why the Baker family was so hostile, they were apparently a very nice family (mostly) before Eveline started controlling them. Apparently she vomits up large amounts of the black goop, which is why that's everywhere, but that explanation feels tacked on. Finally you rescue Ethan, and, playing as him again, you return to the house to finish off Eveline. A twist is revealed where the little girl, Eveline, was actually the old woman you've seen sitting around throughout the house, but this twist seems to only exist for the sake of having a twist. The little girl was actually an old woman. Ok, so what? Then, out of nowhere, Chris Redfield shows up, apparently working for a new and improved Umbrella, and I'm left wondering why I wasn't playing as him or Leon the whole game. Overall the story seems unfinished, with loose threads like Mia's old job that Ethan seems to not know about somehow, or why the goop manifests as monsters, or why they were even creating Eveline in the first place. Why were they making Eveline? We didn't even see anything about whatever clandestine group was doing that. The story seems like it can't decide if it wants to be semi-realistic spooky or goofy Resident evil spooky, so it tries for a weird middle ground that never seems to work.
The shooting is hard, and not in a tank controls, survival horror way. The aiming feels unstable, and enemies bob and sway all over the place, so you're guaranteed to waste shots trying to hit them. This doesn't really matter however, since the game seems to have forgotten it's "Survival" horror. I don't think I ever came close to running out of supplies once, and by the end of the game I had so many items to make ammo and health that I was genuinely annoyed when I picked up more, since it just took up space in my inventory or item box. Movement feels oddly sluggish, like you're constantly walking through a foot of water even when you jog. The enemy variety is ab aside from bosses all you fight are the same three enemies the whole game; a standing goop guy, a crawling goop guy, and a vomiting goop guy. They're annoying more than scary, since the standing ones stretch to reach you from distances, you sometimes trip over the crawling ones because you didn't see them, and the vomiting ones seem to kill you with just.. vomit, the screen doesn't really reflect that you're taking damage from it until you just die. The mansion is fun to explore, but it doesn't really make sense that it's full of weird doors with special keys. In RE 1 the Spencer mansion was like that because the owner was eccentric and loved collecting odd contraptions, which is sort-of a half-assed explanation, but in 7 we don't even get that. This is a minor nitpick, but the fact that you can't control when Ethan turns on his flashlight is infuriating, I'll be in a dark area where I can't see anything and he won't turn it on, but in semi-lit areas he'll just turn it on at random. Overall the gameplay is lackluster and repetitive, and not really tense or hard at any point.
Jack becomes a bit of a running joke throughout the game. You kill him, he comes back later, until you finally finish him off. This does unfortunately add to the lack of enemy variety however, since 4 out of the technically 8 bosses are just Jack, I say technically because Mia sort-of counts when she cuts your hand off and Eveline barely counts at all. Beyond that you have Marguerite, who provides a decent but uninteresting fight where she scuttles around the room and you shoot her over and over, and a puzzle with Lucas that is actually pretty fun. You watch a video tape where you play as a different guy trapped, and you must play through the puzzle learning the solution. Then as Ethan, it's the same puzzle with small differences, which is neat. Mia doesn't really count however, since the fight is unwinnable, and the final boss fight with Eveline is just about the most boring thing I've ever done in a game. You wander around the house watching scripted hallucinations that can't hurt you but try to be scary, until you find her in the attic, and poke her with a syringe that will cure her. At this point she turns into a big monster, picks you up, Chris tosses you a gun, and you shoot her a couple times in the face, game over. So without Mia and Eveline, you have a puzzle, a scuttling woman, and Jack 4 times, and that's it.
Don't have much to say about Ethan, he sucks. He has weird terrible one liners he says after boss fights, he seems completely unresponsive to all the horrible things happening around him, He doesn't seem to care that he thought his wife was dead when she was actually involved in making bioweapons, and it's never explained why his hand works fine after being cut off. It' stapled back on, then he's fine. It's also never really addressed that you kill Mia and she and Ethan are both just fine with it later.
Let me know what you think down below, I seem to really be in the minority here, everyone I've talked to says they loved this game.
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