While I wasn’t able to attend E3 this year (sheds a tear…), I did get the chance to play the Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour demo that was shown at the event as Sony/Capcom made it available via PlayStation Plus immediately. As soon as I started playing it, I was reminded heavily of the sadly cancelled Silent Hills demo known as P.T., almost as though Capcom picked it up and ran with it after Konami dropped the ball on a scary but awesome video game experience.
Beginning Hour puts you in the role as a cameraman that tags along with a TV show host and an assistant to a supposedly haunted house in order to film an episode for the ghost hunter-like series they do. Once you arrive at the house, things go from bad to worse as everything inside is old and decrepit, and you’re soon knocked unconscious by an unseen entity. When you awake, you’re tied up with the host who somehow escapes and manages to untie you before being taken away by something scary, leaving you alone to find a way out of house.
To add to the horror, the game is played from a first-person perspective (also to help immerse those who played it in VR at E3), and combat is non-existent here. You’ll have to walk around opening doors and picking up items that will aid in your escape. But to get to said items, you’ll have to wade through some pretty dark and horrific things that seem to be pulled straight from the Silent Hill games. From dead bodies to rancid, rotting meat crawling with giant roaches, this game does its best to gross you out and make you uneasy. The demo is pretty straightforward and short, making sure those who play will make it to the end where you’re confronted by the mysterious entity that did jump scare me a bit when I made it there.
Speaking of jump scares, there’s a nice amount of them here despite the short length of the demo. I loved how I would hear noises from another room as though someone dropped something or knocked something over, only to run there and not see anything. I know I’m beating a dead horse, but I haven’t felt this way playing something since the Silent Hill titles, and it is pretty cool that Capcom seems to be taking Resident Evil in this direction despite admitting the events in this demo won’t be in the final game when it launches
I really enjoyed playing the Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour demo, which is sadly the first time I’ve enjoyed playing anything from the franchise in a long time. I’m glad Capcom chose to pick up the great ideas Silent Hills left behind and run with them to make something truly scary. I for one can’t wait to see the final product, as it will require those who play with or without VR to have a change of underwear on hand while playing.
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