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resident evil 7 vr hands pax west 2016

Everything’s been fairly quiet on the Resident Evil front ever since the game was revealed at E3 earlier this year. The playable teaser was pushed to the PlayStation Network, and that’s about it. Showcased at PAX West 2016 in a fairly spooky looking house set was the virtual reality component of Resident Evil VII: Biohazard on PS VR.

The VR component of Resident Evil VII doesn’t change the fact that we still don’t quite know how all of the spookiness translates to the world of Resident Evil. The playable teaser had a reference thrown down for Umbrella, notorious big bads of the Resident Evil universe. This VR demo didn’t add to that in any substantial way, and with the game coming out in a few months, the fact we haven’t been shown much of any gameplay is starting to raise eyebrows. The Capcom rep running the demo assured that this was more of a test for how the VR will work in the final product, and that combat and gameplay are definitely on the way.

You’ve awakened in a kitchen with a friend, perhaps colleague of yours. Eager to escape, you two are trying to find a way out. Without dropping too many gruesome details, it doesn’t go well. The gore and bloodshed isn’t overdone, but the chilling effect that virtual reality adds to a situation like Resident Evil VII’s definitely affected me in the way it wanted to. I was wincing and jumping at times, unsure of what was coming next. The zombies – yes, zombies – acted in very methodical and unpredictable ways, which only added to the scares.

I think there’s something special with horror in virtual reality, and what was shown in Resident Evil VII definitely signifies that it may scratch that itch that horror fans have been looking for in VR. As stated, gameplay and combat aren’t what’s being shown off, and how that will work with VR will be interesting to see. For the scare factor, you don’t want to make it an action-packed, explosive affair. Restraint and careful planning will make the scares mean more, and these principles are only amplified in VR.

It’s tough to say “I’m excited for Resident Evil VII”. We still have little to no clue what the final product will shape up to be like, and these snippets of VR and exploration are leaving us with more questions than answers, even regarding its integration with VR. The PS VR looks to be a more than competent approach to virtual reality, and Resident Evil VII is one of those premiere showcases.

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