Quick Look: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard for Xbox One and Windows 10

Posted on March 4, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Windows 10, Xbox One with 14 Comments

Quick Look: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard for Xbox One and Windows 10

She seems upset about something.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is described as a survival horror game, but it’s really an interactive horror puzzler in which you unravel compelling mysteries in creepy settings, and with sporadic action sequences.

In other words, I can’t sell you on this thing. You either like this sort of game or you don’t.

(If you’re unsure if an interactive horror puzzler is your thing, be sure to check out Layers of Fear for Xbox One. It’s free right now to Xbox Live Gold subscribers as part of this month’s Games with Gold promotion, and offers the same basic experience, if not the AAA presentation, of RS7.)

Kiss me, you fool.

Curiously, I fall right in the middle. That is, I enjoy RS7 quite a bit on a number of levels. But I also find it incredibly tedious.

The key to my enjoyment of this game, I think, is that I’m a huge fan of horror entertainment, from the books of Stephen King to even the most inept B-level horror movies imaginable.

But of course, this familiarity with the genre helps me easily identify the many ways in which this game borrows, if not outright steals, past ideas. This is most obvious with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre-like hillbilly family that is central to the story so far. (I’m only about 25 percent of the way through the story.)

Tobe Hooper called. He’d like his ideas back.

But there are many other examples which may be less obvious. For example, the game steals the signature scene from the Spanish zombie classic [REC], in which a main character is suddenly pulled backward into the dark.

Here’s another “homage,” this time for The Blair Witch Project.

Whether you feel these moments are homage or theft is, I guess, is worthy of debate. But there’s no debate about his game’s moody and creepy settings, and its legitimate scares and gross-outs. I’ve jumped out of my seat, so to speak, a number of times already. And that’s notable.

Unfortunately, these scary moments are interspersed with standard-fare puzzler mumbo-jumbo. If you look past the horror setting and the underlying mystery—which, to be fair, is all quite well done—this is just one of those “find the key to open the door”-type games. Meaning that you spend a lot of time wandering around trying to find an item you can use—or combine with other items and then use—to open up locked parts of the map.

We’ve all done this sort of thing, and like the in-your-face horror aspects of the game, you either enjoy it or you don’t. I don’t. In fact, I find this stuff tedious, and I continue only because I want to see where the story goes next.

Adding to the tedium is the game’s save system, which involves both manual saves via the tape recorders that are interspersed throughout the game, and via too-infrequent auto-saves before key moments. Thanks to this terrible system, I’ve had to retrace my steps multiple times over three floors of a house, re-find the same damn key items, re-open the same doors, and re-try the same sequences. Multiple times. And don’t get me started on the terrible boss battle I’m currently stuck on. Yes. There are boss battles too.

But again, it’s still compelling. I really enjoy the legit scares and the story, while not fully fleshed out yet for me because of my early position in the game, is mysterious enough that I want to know more.

It’s not clear to me yet how this game factors into the broader Resident Evil series, but some fans of the games assured me on Twitter that it does. This game is, so far at least, basically a lengthy exploration of a haunted house (or, a haunted house and a few out buildings). But of course, the Resident Evil series encompasses a very broad set of events.

Look, a haunted house! Let’s go inside.

In fact, the original Resident Evil is now over 20 years old, having debuted on the original Sony PlayStation. And of course these games are the loose material for a series of movies. The first Resident Evil movie is actually a decent zombie movie, but the others are mostly dreck.

So what does RS7 have to do with the broader series of games? At its most basic level, this game marks a return to the series’ roots in a way, as it plays down the action and brings back some nice stealthy—and nerve-wracking—game play. That was a smart move. But this game is also the first Resident Evil game to utilize a first-person (vs. third-person) view, which I prefer. That was also smart.

Speaking of smart, Resident Evil 7 is the first major third-party Xbox Play Anywhere title. So when you buy it on Xbox One, you get the game for free on Windows 10, and vice versa. I’ve been switching off between my Xbox One S (where it supports HDR graphics) and the Dell XPS 15 review laptop, and it’s been a seamless experience. (Yes, I’m using an Xbox Wireless Controller on the PC too.) The game is particularly gorgeous on the PC if you can hit higher resolutions and graphics quality.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard on the PC is simply gorgeous.

I’m going to soldier on. But my early experiences are that curious mix of horror, which I’ve enjoyed, and tedium, which I experience far too often with puzzlers. But that’s just me, and time spent in fast-action shooters no doubt colors things a bit.

Recommended for those who already know they love survival horror.

 

Tagged with

Join the discussion!

BECOME A THURROTT MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Register
Comments (14)

14 responses to “Quick Look: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard for Xbox One and Windows 10”

  1. Avatar

    spacein_vader

    So here is a prime example why Xbox Play Anywhere titles will actually harm Microsoft's attempts to convince PC gamers to consider their store an option: It means console prices for PC games. Right now in the UK I can buy a digital standard edition of Resident Evil 7 at the following stores for the following prices:

    Microsoft Store: £49.99

    Steam £39.99

    Gamersgate £39.99

    Bundle Stars £39.99

    DLGamer £35.99

    GamesPlanet UK £31.99

    GameBillet £31.50

    All of the above are legitimate storefronts, I imagine it's even cheaper from the grey market key scraping sites but they're a whole other issue. Even assuming the feature set & performance is identical between the Win32 & UWP versions (I've no idea if it is or isn't,) why on earth would I buy it from the MS store?

    It's a nice perk for Xbox owners, but MS would have got the £50 from them anyway. If they want to compete in the PC gaming space they need to sell PC games at competitive prices.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to spacein_vader:


      I can't speak to the UK, but as I implied in another comment, this is a choice that will in fact save you money. If you want both Xbox One and WIndows 10. If you don't, you can save money by buying the PC game elsewhere. This isn't a problem, it's a choice, and it's good, not bad.

      • Avatar

        bdollerup

        In reply to Paul Thurrott:

        I couldn't agree more. This is not a Steam or some other store vs. Xbox. This is about the value of owning Windows devices such as Xbox One and Windows 10 Laptop/PCs. I get to buy the game once and play it on all of my Windows 10 devices (well, Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs for now). I'm really curious about how well the switch between Paul's devices are. Not a huge fan of this kind of games, but looking forward to reading about the Play Anywhere experience. In that vein, I would really appriciate it, if Paul could convince Brad to do the same with Halo Wars.

        • Avatar

          JC

          In reply to bdollerup:

          It would only work out if you had a XBox One and a gaming PC that can play said game. I only have a gaming PC, why would I want a XBox? Games look better on my PC than a console.

          • Avatar

            Paul Thurrott

            In reply to JC:

            This isn't really the place to rehash a well-worn argument, but the reason people buy Xbox games is because they just work. Games may look better on your PC, but they don't look better on most people's PCs, and such PCs are expensive. Etc. Etc. It's not like Xbox games are running at 320 x 240. They look great, this one supports HDR, and the play perfectly. There are plenty of good reasons not to do what you do.

      • Avatar

        spacein_vader

        In reply to Paul Thurrott:

        I agree it's a choice, and that is a good thing for the consumer. It may not be a good thing for the MS store in the long run as they try to build market share however.

        A possible solution would be to offer 2 versions in the PC store, with and without Play Anywhere. That way those who own an Xbox don't miss out on what is undoubtedly a useful feature and those who don't have an option at a competitive price-point.

        I'm not beholden to a particular storefront like one of the hordes of "no steam, no sale" comments you see around the web. I don't care who I buy it from (as long as it's legit, no grey market keys for me,) I just want the best price. The PC game market is very competitive pricewise, with Bundles, play what you want deals, sales and price comparison sites abound. Currently MS is asking its store to compete in this market with one arm tied behind its back.

  2. Avatar

    PeteB

    Why exclusively mentioning "Windows 10"? It works great on 7, 8 and 8.1 as well if you get the Steam version (no artificial UWP jail restrictions).

    Edit; oh I get it, sponsored article.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to PeteB:


      Dude, Jesus.


      A couple of bits of logic.


      1. This is not a sponsored article. In fact, as of today, there are no sponsored articles on this site.
      2. I purchased and am playing the Xbox Play Anywhere version of this game specifically because it does work on both Xbox One and Windows 10. If I bought the retail/Steam/whatever version of the game, I would need to spend another $60 to play it on Xbox One and wouldn't get the integration functionality that makes Xbox Play Anywhere so excellent. So, whatever, that was my choice and it makes sense for my situation.
      3. This was literally titled "Quick Take", not "completely overview of the many ways in which you may purchase this game". It also included the text "for Xbox One and Windows 10" because this is for the Xbox Play Anywhere version of the game. Which, see #2, is the one I bought. Which, see #1, I did with my own money.


  3. Avatar

    rameshthanikodi

    I didn't even know this thing was in the Windows Store.

  4. Avatar

    mortarm

    >...I’ve jumped out of my seat, so to speak, a number of times...

     I'd have paid money to see that. ?

    >...but the others are mostly deck.

    It probably helps if your not familiar with the franchise. I've enjoyed all of them.

Leave a Reply