I didn't recognize Resident Evil 7: Biohazard when Capcom revealed it at E3 2016 with a mysterious teaser trailer. To begin with, it was a first-person game, when Resident Evil is famously a third-person perspective series. Secondly, the trailer showcased a dilapidated, cockroach-filled house that looked like it would fit in a modern horror title like Amnesia or Outlast, rather than Resident Evil's universe of Raccoon City and the Umbrella Corporation.
However, when the jump scares were done and the title screen appeared, I couldn't help gasping in surprise -- and pure joy. Resident Evil, one of my favorite gaming franchises of all time, was back and it looked as terrifying as ever, even as a first-person shooter. What's more, it would be fully playable in virtual reality on the PlayStation 4. All of my most nightmarish dreams were coming true.
That is, until I actually played Resident Evil 7 on PlayStation VR. I had plenty of experience with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PS VR, and I'd never experienced the dreaded "VR sickness" that ruined these experiences for some of my peers. At least, not until the Resident Evil 7 E3 demo. About half-way through my playthrough, streaming live on Facebook, I started to feel feverish and sweaty, and minutes later I had to pull the PS VR off my face and stop the demo early. I raced to the bathroom, fearing I was going to vomit all over Sony's booth.
Even after that bout of tummy-rumbling trauma, I still loved the idea of Resident Evil 7 in VR. When I finally held the full game in my hands, playing in VR was the first thought on my mind. Between E3 and release, Capcom had been toying with the VR mode and I had to try it again.
So, I did. On camera, of course.
The final version of Resident Evil 7 in VR is not as puke-inducing as the initial demo I played, but it still made me sweaty and hot -- a precursor to full-blown, nauseating VR sickness.
But despite some pre-puke symptoms, Resident Evil 7 is a fantastic survival horror game, inside and outside of VR. It proudly carries on the series' traditions of puzzle-solving quests, horrifying boss fights, laser-sight shooting and inventory management, but this time around, it's all packaged in a gorgeous first-person world.
Well, it's "gorgeous" or "hellish, blood-spattered and completely soul-shattering." It's all just a matter of perspective.