A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Resident Evil 7 biohazard is the latest survival horror game in Capcom's popular franchise. The game features intense scenes of violence and gore, which include characters being dismembered, impaled, and killed in a variety of brutal ways. The dialogue is littered with profanity, particularly of the four-letter variety. Basic gameplay is pretty intuitive for gamers of most skill levels, but combat is a bit slower by design. PlayStation 4 owners also can play through any part of the game at any time using the PSVR, although extended VR play can cause some level of dizziness.
What's it about?
Set a few years after the conclusion of the previous game, RESIDENT EVIL 7 BIOHAZARD takes the series in a new direction. Players take on the role of Ethan Winters, a man desperately searching for his wife, Mia, who has been missing for the past three years. After receiving a mysterious message from Mia asking for his help, Ethan travels to the town of Dulvey, Louisiana, and the rundown plantation home of the Baker clan. After being captured and tortured, Ethan finally gets his chance to escape the deranged family. Along the way, he won't have to find a way through the monstrous creatures the plantation hides, but he'll discover the dark secret that ultimately led to his wife's disappearance and what it could mean to the rest of the world.
Is it any good?
This survival horror game brings plenty of scares, with an experience that constantly brings players to the edge of their seat. More than two decades ago, the original Resident Evil helped give birth to the "survival horror" genre and coined the phrase for generations to come. Over the years, the series has strayed somewhat from its roots, focusing more on fast-paced action and drama rather than primal fear and a true sense of dread. Resident Evil 7 biohazard changes all of that, taking the franchise back to its roots and redefining the genre. While not a reboot, the game does mark a new beginning of sorts for the series. The new setting and characters create an independent story that's not weighed down by 20 years of dangling plotlines but is still connected to the overall lore. Best of all, the story's actually really good, with great pacing, surprise twists, and a genuine feeling of horror that's on par with or better than a lot of Hollywood offerings.
One of the problems of many recent "survival horror" games is that the "survival" part never seems to be in question: Players are near superhuman tanks blasting through hordes of enemies. Resident Evil 7 makes survival feel like a challenge and not a certainty, especially at higher difficulty levels. Weapons, ammo, health, and other essentials are sparse and have to be carefully taken into account. And while players may not have to face shambling swarms of the undead, single enemies feel much more threatening as they stalk Ethan through the claustrophobic corridors. In fact, everything about the game fits together seamlessly to kick your fight-or-flight response into high gear and make the player feel like surviving each encounter is a real accomplishment. If the level of fear wasn't already high enough, PlayStation owners can switch at any given time into VR mode using the PlayStation VR. While the VR mode does take a bit of a visual hit compared to the game's default high resolution, the sense of immersion more than makes up for it. It's possible to have too much of a good thing, though. Extended VR play has a nasty side effect of leaving many players feeling dizzy and disoriented. But regardless of how you play, the simple fact is that Resident Evil 7 biohazard is still a must-have for any survival horror fan with a return to form that breathes new life into the undead franchise.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. How does the visceral violence in Resident Evil 7 biohazard compare with the violence in other games? What sort of impact does the graphic violence have on players of different ages?
Talk about horror in games and films. What is the appeal of the genre? Why do people like to be scared?
- Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Capcom
- Release date: January 24, 2017
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.