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'Resident Evil 7' Review Roundup: Franchise Revitalized As Horror Is Once Again The Focus

Resident Evil 7, one of the most anticipated video games for 2017, has launched with high expectations of returning the long-running franchise to its glory days.

Fans of the series were mostly not happy with the direction that the franchise was heading, with Resident Evil 6 being regarded as a failure. The demo for Resident Evil 7, which featured a return to the franchise's roots as a horror game, was well met, though, with its PlayStation 4 version reaching 2 million downloads in its first week to set a new record.

Fortunately for gamers, Resident Evil 7 delivers on its promise of revitalizing the franchise, bringing it back from the brink of death like the zombies that the series popularized.

Resident Evil 7: A Return To Form For The Franchise

According to The Verge's Andrew Webster, the games of the Resident Evil series are at their best when doing something new. For example, the original Resident Evil of 1996 introduced an exploration-heavy and slow-paced take on zombie games, launching the survival horror genre. Then in 2005, Resident Evil 4 turned up the speed through an action experience that is said to be the highlight so far of the whole series.

Resident Evil 7 once again "alters the formula," bringing back the slow pace and focus on exploration from the first game and creating "one of the most vicious and powerful horror experiences ever created" through the shift to a first-person view.

Polygon's Philip Kollar said that he spent most of Resident Evil 7's 10 hours to 12 hours of gameplay in understanding every nook and cranny of the Baker house, where the game takes place in and around, especially places where he can hide and passageways that can lead to the quickest escapes.

According to Kollar, "no Resident Evil game since the first has done as good a job as [Resident Evil 7] at making me feel scared and helpless," especially as Ethan Winters, the main character, is not a soldier or a police officer. As such, players often need to resort to running away when faced with dangerous situations, leading to intense experiences.

GameSpot's Scott Butterworth says that Resident Evil 7's narrative delivers in making the game a memorable one. While the twists are generally predictable, there is still excitement in seeing them unfold. The story is supported by the atmosphere of the game, including the environment, textures, and sounds, all coming together for tense moments that last for the entirety of the playing experience. It looks even better in virtual reality, with Ars Technica's Sam Machkovech saying that Resident Evil 7 is the first full-length VR game that players can comfortably play.

Resident Evil 7: The Definitive Horror Game?

While trailers have showcased Resident Evil 7 as a haunted house game, it is far more than that, wrote CGM's Chris Carter. Rather, Resident Evil 7 is a "macabre celebration" of all the things that the franchise has so far accomplished.

Mashable's Adam Rosenberg describes Resident Evil 7 as an "all-around success," and it is hard to argue against what he says is a "sensational video game horror."

Is Resident Evil 7 this generation's definitive horror game? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.

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