So I recently took the plunge and bought Resident Evil 7 for my trusty PS4, And it pretty much put a nail in the coffin for playing games in normal-o-vision
I didn’t buy Resident Evil 7 because I wanted it real bad, the previous two Resi game sucked so hard. Resi 4, arguably the pinnacle of the series set the bar too high. 5 & 6 were too action orientated and frankly bored me. So when Resi 7 was announced, I was a little interested but not really bothered by it. That is until I found out it was PSVR compatible. Now that is a different prospect altogether.
So I’ve had my PSVR headset a little after it was initially released, I managed to get one from ShopTo while every other store was out of stock. There are plenty of demos available, showing off what the system could do, things like Batman: Arkham VR, Sports Bar VR and X-wing, but there were no proper game games if you know what I mean. A AAA game that was all in VR
Then Resident Evil came along. I had no idea that the whole game could be played in VR, I thought Capcom had just done Kitchen as a demo to promote the main game. Fast forward to February, when on my birthday, I had the pleasure of having a gaming truck parked in the pub car park, it was here I had my first go of RE7 in VR. Sure it was great and all, but in the pub car park, half drunk with lots of people around you kind of lost the buzz and the fear factor. But what I played had spiked my interest, and as I really wanted a proper game to play on my PSVR so I went and bought it.
Never have I been so blown away by a game before but only in VR mind. When the game starts proper, you’re *SPOILERS* in a the swamps in the deep south. You’re actually walking through a forest. flies buzz around and footsteps squelch in the mud. It’s literally unreal. The good news is that it’s daylight so the scares are non-existent. But actually being in the forest leaves you feeling really uneasy of what lies ahead. And right on cue, a great bit run down mansion comes into view. GULP.
As you travel through the forest. you realise that the inevitable motion sickness that normally worries me isn’t that bad at all. Almost non-existent in fact. Capcom have done sterling job on curtailing that little git. So I spent a long time roaming around in the warm Louisiana sunshine being blown away, until dread overtakes you as you know you have to finally make your way to the mansion. The door is open, you walk in. Suddenly the calm, friendly sunshine has been replaced by darkness. and chills literally run up and down your spine. The torch turns on but it gives little light. I was scared. Real scared. I’ve never felt the absolute dread that I felt now in any other game. The sense of actually being there is something that’s impossible to explain unless you’ve played it. Saying “you’re actually in the game” just sounds like bullshit. But that’s exactly what Resi 7 has done, put you slap bang in the middle of the game. It’s put you in the mansion. It’s made you genuinely fear what’s coming next
Now, because of the VR, you can’t run around like a headless chicken, you just can’t. instead you have to take things real slow. look in every corner, look out every window, close every door after you. Everything thing you shout to the helpless high school students to do, in every horror film you watch, you’re doing right now. It’s so different when you’re there. I found myself leaning forward to peer around a corner, just in case, craning my head every which way so I could try to get a glimpse of what was behind the door that was left ajar. You are there and its incredible.
I think it’s safe to say that playing Resi 7 ranks up there with one of the best gaming moments I’ve experienced. The graphics help immerse you in this decrepit old house, the 3D sound from the headphones makes the creaking doors, floor boards, noises and screams more real. Oh god those noises, in VR with 3D Sound. that’s another level of NOPE! There are moments, that are so pant wetting scary that I had to take the VR headset off. The ‘Blair Witch’ moment being a particular heart attack inducing moment.
I realise I’m writing this and it just sounds like I’m some kind of yellow bellied avian thing. It’s really hard to put in to words exactly how amazing Resi 7 is in VR how immersive it is, how it actually makes you feel like you’re there. How damn fucking scary it is. the chills it sends up your spine, There is nothing like it. I mean nothing. In this sense, it’s perhaps the greatest game I have ever played.
But, and this is where I think PSVR is a literal game changer. I won’t lie some parts were way to scary for me to get past. I just couldn’t do it. so I took the PSVR off, and played the game in normal-o-vision and man I have to say, Resi 7 it’s nothing particularly special in this mode. When playing on your TV, the shear dread you feel is gone. the slow-paced tip toeing around the mansion is gone. instead you’re running everywhere. you don’t care about the scares, the chainsaw maniac or the shovel welding nightmare. I mean it’s all in the TV why would I give a shit if he’s chasing me?
I actually couldn’t believe how different the game was when played normally. I had more scares from Outlast and P.T. This made me think, would I have bought Resi 7 based on a quick demo played without the PSVR? No, It’s just not that good. It’s just your standard first person walking horror game, which has been done better with the likes of P.T
Play it on PSVR though and it’s the greatest thing ever. Which leads me to think that PSVR is a game changer. As a kid growing up with TV programmes like Games Master and Bad Influence, the talk was about early VR on machines the size of houses., machines that could just about throw around a couple of untextured polygons around. They were shit, but everyone at the time was saying things like “It’s putting you in the game” ” I was there” “give it a few years” It took a while but, of course like most tech things, they get better over time. but nothing quite prepared me to the staggering sense of being there that Resi 7 did. Now, thanks to Capcom I can finally say “It puts you in the game” and actually mean it.