Resident Evil VR and Why It’s So Important
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard has redefined the Resident Evil franchise. It successfully combines old school horror mechanics from previous Resident Evil titles with new survival horror elements from games like Outlast. Since its release it has received appraisal from a number of gaming news outlets and the general consensus is that the game is outstanding.
It can be played both with a VR headset, and without one. However, the VR version of the game is only available on Playstation VR for the PS4 platform. Both experiences are truly satisfying, but the game is best experienced in VR. I’ve spent a huge portion of time playing the game and I have to say that I agree with all the hype. The game is a masterpiece of atmosphere and immersion and it was all created for a much less powerful system when compared to it’s competitors. I can’t even begin to imagine the unexplored potential that can be reached on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift in the unreleased games to come.
From the very start of virtual reality, when VR started to seep into the mind of the public, everyone I knew was dying to get their hands on a horror game specifically crafted with VR in mind. That’s exactly what this game brings to the table. The grotesque and twisted environments, the way encounters with enemies occur up close and in your face, and the unsettling sound design are all carefully put together in order to maximize the player’s VR experience. Even the perspective is different from past Resident Evil titles, utilizing a first-person perspective instead of third-person. First-person perspective in games is incredibly useful in allowing the player to become immersed in the world. In Resident Evil 7, the developers take full advantage of the first-person perspective in VR as a tool for immersion.
The game often forced me to crawl through tight spaces draped in darkness, and when I least expected it, bugs and insects were crawling or leaping right at me. With the VR headset on, these roaches, spiders, and centipedes were inches away from my face and gave me a sensation of fear I’ve only ever felt before in real life. I found myself slowly trudging through a creepy swamp, running and hiding from a psychotic family, sticking my arms into corpses in order to find items, shooting mold monsters with an arsenal of awesome weapons, and it all felt more real than any other video game experience I’ve had in the past.
Jump scares in VR are actually terrifying and succeed in their goal almost every time. In movies and most games, I see them coming and they rarely ever get me, but in VR I was constantly frightened and in a state of heightened awareness. I absolutely had to check every single corner, just to make sure that there was nothing waiting to jump at me. I was physically turning my head, rather than just moving analog sticks and it definitely made the experience even more intense.
Playing Resident Evil 7: Biohazard with a Playstation VR headset enabled me to have a more intimate experience with the game. There’s an undeniable sense of danger and thrill when the VR headset is on and while it’s still scary playing without virtual reality, that extreme sense of danger isn’t nearly as severe. The brilliant design choices in every single stage of the game were intensified by the virtual reality headset. The choice to have the game playable without VR is a great one because individuals who try out the game and beat it will most likely want to try it out in VR once they’re done in order to get the definitive experience.
Previously, VR games have mostly been short experiences, minigames, and tech demos. There have been other horror VR games, but none have quite been able to reach the success that Resident Evil 7 has. Even the length of the game is a testament to how it differs from most VR titles. The game takes the player around 10 hours to complete, which is a much longer playtime than what has been seen in the past. This is largely due to motion sickness issues that a lot of people have experienced in many VR games. In my playthrough, I did not have any motion sickness problems and only had to take breaks after a couple of hours because of slight headaches. This was entirely my fault because it’s recommended to take breaks but the game was just too good to put down.
This game has been a massive push in the right direction for VR in gaming. It’s been put in the spotlight and has shown the world that a VR game can actually be a fully fleshed out large experience, instead of a small bite-sized one. More and more gamers are starting to realize how VR can completely change games for the better. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is among the first AAA VR games and the fact that it’s been so triumphant and well-received has given me a great deal of hope for the future of virtual reality in gaming.