Posted June 24, 2016 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature

E3 2016: Resident Evil VII PS VR Preview

While the Resident Evil VII: Biohazard demo has been available to everyone back home since E3 began, at the moment it’s only on the show floor that people have been able to try out the game as it was intended – in PlayStation VR. The Capcom booth at E3 was partially transformed into a recreation of the house featured in the demo, apparently linked to a ‘family’ of murderers, weirdos or, knowing the series, amoral genetic scientists. Heading inside, there were private rooms to try out the game in VR – which is essentially the same demo that exists on PS Plus – but, seeing as I was only able to play it the one time, I was not able to find any hidden secrets or alternate endings like other players on the internet have been.

Those who have the demo know the set-up – you’re locked inside a house containing the infamous ‘Kitchen’ from last year’s PS VR demo, and you’re looking for a way out. The VR does add another dimension to the experience, as it allows you to freely look around, immersed in the environment. It is noticeably a little lower-res than the normal demo, with jagged edges abounding, but you do quickly adapt. The actual design of the demo shows just how much more in line with Condemned than a Resident Evil game the entire project is, complete with a decrepit house and a key scare moment involving mannequins turning to face you when you’re not looking.

Resident Evil 3

Rather than the PlayStation Move, you still use the DualShock 4 while playing in VR, so the actual gameplay doesn’t change all that much. There was no combat in the demo, and not a lot of interaction beyond basic puzzle solving – finding a pair of bolt cutters to open a fridge, then watching a video tape to gain a clue about where to go next.

The story concerned slowly creeping down the corridors of the house, uncovering the horrific goings on inside the house that seem to involve gruesomely murdering, mutilating and altering people. The VHS tape you find midway through the demo lets you flashback to a reality TV crew who visited the house in the past, who are made short work of by whatever forces are at work. You play as the cameraman in this sequence, although your actual player character (trying to escape the house in the present) is at the moment unknown.

What actually impressed me the most about this demo in VR was that there were not too many jump scares. This is good, considering they’re a cheap and easy way to startle a player, rather than actually creepy them out, especially when they can’t get away from the screen which is the case in VR. Instead, a lot is conveyed through atmosphere and tension, which I can’t believe I’m saying about a Resident Evil game these days, especially after I fought a mutant bone T-Rex in Resident Evil 6.

Resident Evil 2
The demo ends with the single jump-scariest moment of the experience, which isn’t even that bad as you finally run into the figure who’s been creeping around the house. I’m actually looking forward to this game a lot, even though it looks like the VR will enhance the experience, rather than being vital for the gameplay. It definitely adds another level to the immersion and atmosphere, which is what this latest entry is banking on, and it’s the first full fledged game I’ve seen make use of the technology. The game is out on 24 January, 2017, on PS4, Xbox One and PC – although only the PS4 version will support VR.

Adam Ghiggino

Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.

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