Why Resident Evil 7´s first hour is the best of the game
After a long sickness phase I´m finally back with a post I wanted to write days ago!
Resident Evil 7 is a good game, no doubt even if it has a weaker second half. Nevertheless it has one part that truly shows what this game could have been, a part that shows how a good Horror experience should look like, I´m speaking of course about the beginning. So, let´s take a look why it´s so good, shall we?
!Massive Spoilers for the first 1 hour ahead!
The beginning can be divided into two major parts, each with it´s own focus and atmosphere, so let´s take a look!
After the intro cutscene we directly start at the beginning of the forest, leading to the Baker´s house. After not even a minute you begin to see the first edges of the house, as a player we know exactly what this house symbolizes: Pain and fear. And this game celebrates it as hell, even tho no one says a thing the game presents this house perfectly, like an untouchable lord of this area. This is the first thing the game does so well, it attracts our attention to it, it makes us interested … until it destroys them by hanging a chain in front of it. At this point the player is confused, he thought that he knows everything about his villains and this house but now he seems to be unknown again, the biggest reason for fear.
I don´t wanna go to much in detail concerning the way to the guest house I just want to speak about three things:
Throughout this path you will constantly find notes and pieces of text speaking of “accpeting her gift” etc., it irritates the player even more, let´s him think that he´s haunted but also foreshadow quite a bit, which guarantee some “Aha”-moments in your second-playthrough.
These messages conclude in one scene, in which you see Jack Baker walking around the corner for some seconds. It´s a very cliché Horror scene but it works here, because the game wants the player to feel hunted.
The first seconds in the house
These events then conclude in the door to the guest house. While it´s basically the same setting of the demo it´s not as clear as you migth think. For the player this place may look familiar but due to the time of day and other factors it´s not that obvious, until you enter it. This moment, when you realize that this is the house from the demo, damn, that´s a great moment and adds to the atmosphere Resident Evil 7 tries to create in this house.
Even tho this path only takes like 5-10min it achieves something very important: It kicks you out of your comfort zone by locking the Baker house away from you. The various trailers made you familiar with it, you know a lot about this house and now you can´t enter it, you´re forced to follow a path that you know nothing about.
The unknown is the biggest reason for fear 🙂
The guest house
The main part of the first hour you will spend with Resident Evil 7 will be in here and of course it can be split up in three major steps too, that all serve their own purpose and offer their own atmosphere.
As soon as Ethan turns on the light you get this giant “Aha”-feeling, you´re back in the demo area! But, wait … if Resident Evil 7 tried so hard to kick you out of your comfort zone, why does it lead you into an even bigger one? I mean, you know that area like your own pocket, if you played the demo.
Maybe to kick you out of it even harder?
On one hand it´s exactly the same building, on the other hand everything´s different. Key items are on other places and the structure of the whole area is just different. Tried to cut the chain with the bolt cutter? Oh, there is no bolt cutter! Except the tape and the level design, nothing is the same and this will change even more once you watched the first tape.
After you watched the first tape, that´s the same as in the demo, you open the secret passage, get the key and open the next door. That´s what you might expect but this time it´s different. Instead of picking up the key infront of the hole to the cellar you´re able to actually climb down this hole. And here´s where things get interesting. Because of the tape you know what´s down there, you know that you literally following the steps of the camera team and might encounter Jack Baker down there. You have to leave your comfort zone once more but this time with far more fear. During this whole passage you expect something, you feel chased and haunted even tho there isn´t any evidence of it. Until you encounter Mia at the end of this part …
As soon as you encounter Mia in her cell and free her you start thinking. At least that´s what happened to me, I began to think about two things while Mia guided me through the cellar, always ready for a jumpscare:
Was this whole promotion of Ethan and Mia just a hoax? I mean it´s obvious that Resident Evil 7 tried to be a Silent Hills clone and this would be a twist Kojima would actually do, promoting a story and characters that aren´t the real protagonists. Will Ethan and Mia escape and this is just the prologue for the real protagonist? Will we just die here?
Sadly, that´s not how it was …
But all these thoughts made my fear bigger, I more and more expected a jumpscare or Jack, that never came and that´s what really amazing about this part, until you leave the cellar you expect a typical jumpscare. You think you know what will happen, because that´s the typical Horror formula. Resident Evil 7 plays with that.
Let´s briefly summarize the last things before “the dinner”, because they´re basically a tutorial for the game.
After you leave the cellar you have to fight against Mia who transformed into a zombie-like being and attacks you in some really good cutscenes. This fights are, as stated before, just tutorials for melee weapons and guns that you will find during the whole game, nothing special just a good tutorial and not that scary.
So, let´s end this post with the well known “dinner” scene from the trailers.
After you beat Mia you wake up at the table sourrounded by the Bakers and well, you know the rest. It functions as an introduction to the Bakers and the main game and man, it´s great at it! The following hour is maybe nearly as great as the first hour I just analyzed but it adds not much new, it just repeats the mechanics the first part introduced and adds more action to them. If you wanna experience it, buy the game, it´s worth it 🙂
The first hour of Resident Evil 7 is amazing, it´s maybe one of the best Horror parts I played since years, because it plays with these well known Horror-formulas and because it never gives you a comfort zone, where you feel in control of the situation.
If the whole game would be as good as it´s beginning it may be one of the best Horror games ever made but sadly that´s not what happened, instead they decided to give you more and more guns and enemys to shoot, even tho they seem to know how to make a good Horror game … a mystery for me.
Well I think that will wrap it up for now, hope you enjoyed my analysis and make sure to also check out my other post about Resident Evil 7 here.
Lemme hear your opinion about the beginning of Resident Evil 7! Leave a Comment below!
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