Resident Evil 7 demo analysis and walkthrough
Oh boy, what an adventure this has been.
So, while the rest of the world got the Resident Evil 7 Teaser- Beginning Hour almost immediately after the Sony E3 presentation ended, the United States didn’t get it until the PSN store as a whole updated at 12am PST/ 3am EST. So I was up all night. But that matters not, I got a good two hours in with the demo, and I’m here to tell you all about it! There’s plenty of surprises and horror in this thing, and there’s also a ton left to be uncovered. Secrets, jumpscares, and even teases as to what the story of Resident Evil VII: Biohazard as a whole may be.
First off, there seems to be some confusion on how to actually download the thing. At the moment, the demo is only available on PlayStation 4, and you need to be an active PlayStation Plus subscriber to download it. At the time of this writing, the demo isn’t showing up in either the PS+ hub, or the demos section. Instead, search for Resident Evil in the PSN store, and scroll down until you see the option for Resident Evil VII: Biohazard Digital Deluxe Pre-order, and choose that. You then need to go to the game’s main page from there, and then you’ll be able to find the demo. It’s weird and convoluted, but it’ll probably be changed to an easier way to find it sometime today. The demo is about 2 and a half gigs, so clear up some space, and get ready for some major fear.
Booting up the demo, we’re greeted by the very appreciated message of Welcome Home, and what a homecoming this is. While most have been comparing it almost immediately to P.T., the demo for the now defunct Silent Hills, my first impressions are honestly more reminiscent of REmake. Ambiance is the prevailing scare factor here, with hyper realistic visuals and classic Resident Evil style key finding and document hunting. The story even, what little can be gleaned from the demo, also reminds me instantly of Lisa Trevor, the sad, twisted monster that made a home for itself in the aftermath of the Spencer Mansion outbreak from REmake. The switch to first person doesn’t change it as much as I think some people feared, at most slowing down gameplay to a more steady and methodical search for clues, and offers up a wider range of exploratory tools than simply walking against the wall and tapping X repeatedly like in the old days.
I don’t mind this switch, and it certainly creates an enveloping horror atmosphere unlike anything Resident Evil has had in over a decade. Also, for anyone worried that, like P.T., Outlast, and other similar horror games, that there won’t be any combat- fret not. The demo offers a small hatchet that you can use as a weapon, with controls modeled after modern RE controls (R2 for a quick attack, L2+R2 for an aimed attack). There are also options in the pause menu for aim assist, which would help with aiming a gun, presumably. There’s no guns that I can find in the demo, but there will more than likely be some in the final game. So yeah, RE‘s combat isn’t going anywhere, it’s just returning to the more think before you act style of the original trilogy. No hordes of enemies to mow down here. Resident Evil VII is a horror game, and it is not messing around with that.
The demo begins with the Kitchen tape seen in the E3 trailer, showing the point of view of a man tied to a chair, and someone else in a grey suit helping him. The tape is screwy and damaged, and cuts out soon after, leaving you with a “press any button” message over black. Once you do this, your character wakes up, pulling themselves up off the floor groggily as the title of the demo displays itself to you. It then gives you your objective: get out of the house. Nice, straight to the point. As you drink in your surroundings, you find yourself in a macabre sitting room, with cobwebs and stacks of crap all over the place, dust settled in thick layers across everything and an old style TV with an attached VHS player bursting with static snow in the corner. A note discovered on the table just in front of us leaves us with a creepy message- I shall dash them against the stones. Well that’s a fine how do you do. Also on the table are a few bloody hypodermic needles and what looks like sewing instruments? Someone’s been busy. There’s also a few framed photos, one in particular showing a happy looking older couple- a man with a beard and glasses, and a woman beside him. The room also has a fuse box, with one fuse missing. Examining the box further, we see that the missing fuse if for the “stairs”.
Leaving the room, we’re treated to a modern version of the old-school Resident Evil door loading screens. No need for such heavy loading in a PS4 game, but the tension has been replicated perfectly. You no longer press a button to open the doors, but simply walk forward, pushing them open at your own pace. This creates a truly unnerving element, as it’s impossible to see what threats might be just on the other side until you’ve opened the door all the way. This leads us out into a hallway that looks like something straight out of the REmake. To your right is a door with a broken handle that can’t be opened, and to your left, the hallway branches out into a small alcove full of… hanging dolls. Voodoo dolls by the looks of it, tied together with bits of string and dangling ominously above your head. There’s another door here, but this one is just as equally inaccessible, but for a very different reason. It’s been completely boarded up, and there’s no way of tearing the boards away. Further down the hall, we find a few drawers, one can be opened to reveal more bloody rags and medical/sewing stuff- as well as a finger. No, not a real human finger, but a pose-able model one made out of Celluloid. Examining it seems to show that there’s a key of some kind sticking out of the end, or that it’s how it interlocks with the rest of whatever it goes to.
Moving on from that, we get to really look around the decrepit decay of this place. Sunlight streams in from boarded and misted up windows, so despite the darkness within the house, it is daytime. The next area is a kitchen, molten and disgusting from floor to ceiling. Rotten food and bubbling month-old gore paints this room, and examining anything further will result in revolting discoveries. A bloody crow stuffed into the microwave, stringy goo dripping from the inside of a warm refrigerator, and a pot of molding horror on the table that gets roaches all over you. There’s also a few drawers you can interact with, one is empty, and the other is locked, with a small keyhole (a similar description to the drawers we needed small keys on in the original RE games). Leaving the kitchen, we enter a long hallway with a chained-up bureau to the right, and a door to our left. Cobwebs blanket the ceiling here, and more picture frames and shutters are pushed up against the walls, disused and forgotten. Opening the door at the far end reveals the most putrid sight yet- piles of rotting meat, sides of beef left to melt in the summer heat, leave this room sticky with grotesque corpses of animals. There’s a pair of bolt cutters lodged in the side of one of them, perfect for opening that bureau back where you came from.
Opening up the chains nets you a VHS tape, labeled “derelict house footage”. Looks like we need to take a trip back to the room we started in. Playing the tape, we’re transported back in time, to the view of the camera man’s… well, camera. We’re introduced to two new characters, the man in the grey suit from the opening, named Pete, and his producer, Andre. Pete is a pretty major asshole, and Andre seems tired of his shit in general. They’re filming a ghost hunting show, with you, Clancy operating the camera. It’s night time, and we get our first (and only) look at the exterior of the house. Run down and crappy, just like the inside, with a swing bench just outside. After breaking in, they discuss why we’re all there- the entire family, Jack and Marguerite Baker, and their son, Lucas, all vanished from the face of the earth three years ago. Rumors of foul play, and bad rumblings about Lucas are the main thoughts behind the disappearance. Without spoiling too much, the house isn’t quite as abandoned as they thought, and the tape is cut short in a shower of blood and screams soon enough.
Back in the present, we find that the note we found earlier has now moved directly next to the TV while we were watching, but with the message slightly changed. It now reads “I will dash you against the stones”, with the added text seemingly written in blood. Thanks to a secret shown to us by the people in the video, we find the key to the backdoor of the house, where the rotting meat was. Rushing to it, we finally get our first taste of fresh air, and the end of the demo.
I’ve been deliberately vague about certain parts of the demo, so you can discover them for yourself- specifically leaving out jumpscares as well as the puzzles, but I can tell you what to look for when you get your hands on it.
- The secret shown in the VHS tape I mentioned? On your second playthrough, go and access that secret right away, it will give you a new puzzle piece that will alter the ending to the demo and open up a new area.
- Inside the VHS tape, search near the microwave (the one with the crow in it) and you’ll find a lockpick. Where it goes, you’ll have to figure out for yourself
- Keep a watchful eye on your surroundings as you play. There’s a third party also watching, and they come and go as quickly as you can catch a glimpse
- In the area you unlock with the first hint I gave you, you’ll find a photo. It’ll give you some idea of how this will be relating back into the RE universe as a whole.
- Be vigilant, and try everything, no matter how silly. There’s many secrets left to be uncovered in this demo, and the fan base is racking their minds trying to find the answers. The most prominent undiscovered secret is the plastic finger I mentioned earlier. No one has found a use for it yet, but people are trying everything. Considering that events change depending on what order you do them, there may be plenty left to find.
That’s all for now, but check back in a few hours for our Twitch livestream of the game, which will be uploaded to YouTube as well later on. Resident Evil is back in the world of survival horror, and in a big way. I personally loved every second I had with the demo, and can’t wait to see more in the coming months. We’ll keep you updated with any and all information as it becomes available, but for all intents and purposes- Resident Evil is back.