I played the Beginning Hour demo. There was ghost.
I played Resident Evil: Biohazard… ain’t no ghost!
It helped me play the game because I don’t like ghosts. I have severe anxiety and ghosts follow no goddamn laws so I was relieved when I found out that Biohazard had mold creatures and crazy southerners that resemble my extended family. Seriously, my aunt has weird teeth, she screeches, and she has three giant pole barns to get lost/murdered in. All on a dirt road.
Resident Evil Biohazard shifts into first person, and relies heavily on atmospheric tension and well-timed jump scares, rather than hordes of enemies that overwhelm the player. This was the first Resident Evil that I’ve ever played that genuinely scared me; one part early on features an Evil Dead-type lady crawling up the stairs. Then there was a man on fire yelling at me, which was stressful.
Ha, naw, fuck that.
Graphically, the game is gorgeous. The Baker House and the other locations are well detailed and give the player a sense of being in someone’s home, on their turf, rather than being on a designed level. Ever tried finding a cup at a friends house? Now imagine trying to find keys before a crazy white lady throws bugs in your face.
The good graphics are especially important because you spend a lot of the game backtracking. Find this thing, walk it back here, oh woops, find this other thing, yeah that goes here. You’ll find yourself looping around the same areas, which can be creepy. Now, I had many drinks while playing so that could be influencing my views; how you finna tell me I gotta close doors behind me or boogermen will smack me in the face? I had mixed feeling about the backtracking; it was frustrating and boring at times, but it lulled me into a false sense of security. I wandered back into a room, tried to grab my beer, and then a burned crazy man tried to kill me.
The stripped down, minimalist style of gameplay is fantastic, as enemies are tough and unpredictable, making you ration ammo and scrounge desperately for supplies. Previous Resident Evils have supplied players with an arsenal, resulting in an empowering dynamic; save the magnum for the big bads, you’ll be okay. That doesn’t apply here, because every fight is a struggle. I did have a twinge of annoyance upon finding flame throwers and grenade launchers. While not the elaborate weapons of games past, these weapons made me frown a little bit; I’m not scared of things when I can unleash the cleansing fire of our Lord Jesus Christ.
That leads me to my main feeling about this game. Resident Evil: Biohazard was chained to its Resident Evil roots. They could’ve ripped off the minimap, axed the inventory menu, and given players a real sense of helplessness, creating a horror experience on another level.
Overall, the only legitimate criticism I can have is that the game is too short and lacks real replay value beyond speed runs and trophy hunting. That’s it. Graphics, gameplay, story… all amazing and breathe new life into the series. But I couldn’t help feeling let down. The Beginning Hour demo teased supernatural elements that gave me nightmares (mannequins!) and I went into Resident Evil: Biohazard expecting a dual threat: hillbillies and ghosts intertwined into a unique nightmare.
Maybe I just wanted P.T. and instead got no ghost.
Buy the game, though. It’s one of the best horror experiences on the PS4 to come out so far.