I played the demo/teaser for Resident Evil 7 last night and it’s a hell of a shift from earlier presentations. The game is presented in first person which is a series first. Taking a page from the cancelled Konami game Silent Hills, the RE7 demo (titled Beginning Hour) will not be in the final game. It serves as a prologue of sorts to get the player used to the game world and ambiance.
And what a lovely world it is. Your character wakes up in a grimy and crumbling house and is tasked with “Get out of the house.” With those marching orders you explore the rooms and complete simple puzzles. All the while you wait for something to come shambling out of the darkness. Once you know what to do the demo only takes 10 minutes to complete and that is largely due to a sequence that must be played in its entirety to get a key to appear. But it rewards re-plays with multiple endings and some downright inscrutable items that as of this writing no one seems to have completely figured out yet.
There isn’t any combat but there are jump scares, ominous sounds, figures and shadows just outside your field of vision and a pervading sense of menace that will send chills down your spine. When was the last time a Resident Evil game was actually scary? The demo is on the Playstation Store right now and is expected to roll out to other platforms shortly. Turn up the sound, turn out the lights and give it a try. I haven’t been this excited for a Resident Evil game in years.
Also, if anyone figures out what to do with the dummy’s finger let me know in the comments. I think the programmers are screwing with us there.
Here’s the trailer. There is a lot of imagery from the demo with some fully rendered cut scenes toward the end. The song is a cover of the old folk song Go Tell Aunt Rhody. It’s performed by Jordan Reyne and gorgeously sinister.
The game is set for release January 24, 2017.