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[ SPOILERS] Returning to Resident Evil 7

I bought this game last year after finishing up the Remakes of RE 2 and 3 after hearing good things and wanting to try more of the series. The problem was, I hated it. I thought the atmosphere and the choice to make it more grounded and claustrophobic by switching to first person was inspired, but the actual game left something to be desired.

Some of this can be attributed to growing problems as I came to grips with it but after two straight games of being chased by a big sweaty man who stomps around real loud I'd kind of gotten tired of it. Add on to the fact that the player character witnesses and endures a comical amount of violence in the first act and I felt a disconnect with the overall tone of the game. Seriously, you get your hand chopped off and given back to you so quickly you wonder why they did it to begin with, but like many things early on, the answer is shock value, which works to a varying degree. The tipping point was a shitty boss fight that just felt so drawn out and laborious it made the prospect of cutting someone down to a pair of legs with a chainsaw a chore and also not enough to keep them from coming back.

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So I said fuck this game, uninstalled, and did other stuff until I came back to it last week and marathoned pretty much the whole thing in one night. I think the point at which I gave up was just on the tipping point of where the game gets "good", which is to say I started to get a grip for my surroundings and approached my runs from the safe room like a trip to be planned for and not "not this bullshit again". I particularly enjoyed the twists that the story took, as I genuinely wasn't expecting certain reveals like Mia's background, and I liked the the game was just long enough to wrap up without over staying its welcome but leaves you wanting with a bit more, which is what the DLC is for. If I had one complaint, I'm still not a big fan of the boss fights, but that's a running theme throughout the whole series and not just this game.

Chris' story is a fun diversion and both are like releasing a pressure valve after the tense crouching sim of the main game, I dunno if I'd play it again but I like that they gave him something to do and expounded a bit more on what Umbrella was up to.

Joe's story was fucking great, however. As far as RE goes, I think it was the perfect kind of campy action note to end on, this gruff no nonsense Louisiana ramblin' man putting the hurt on anyone who comes between him and his niece. I really liked the combat mechanics too, and how it pushed you to get in their face and be aggressive while being mindful of not getting cornered. I think of it as a direct response to the type of horror games who think that giving you no weapons or making them ineffectual removes the threat. Enemies can definitely still be scary, but how you place and use them plays as big a part as the tools the player has at their disposal to deal with them. Great stuff, I hope to see some of those melee mechanics make a return.

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As far as everything else goes, I went from not really caring to absolutely looking forward to RE8 in a couple months, and wondering what other games that I wrote off could also use another shot.


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