Resident Evil 7 is Sufficiently Scary That Someone Had to Play it For Me

By Keza MacDonald on at

Look, I'm not ashamed. I can't deal with horror games, especially not ones where you are being chased and must hide from someone/something that is trying to find you. Also, I am 5 months pregnant, and I think the lovely Capcom employees demonstrating Resident Evil 7 at Gamescom did not want to risk scaring the bejeezus out of a pregnant lady. So, instead of playing the new Resident Evil 7 demo, someone played it for me whilst I watched. It's what had to be done.

It's just as well, really. After seeing The Blair Witch Project as a sensitive young teenager, I had to sleep in a camp bed at the foot of my parents' bed for a week, and the latest slice of Resi 7 is very Blair Witch-inspired. It's one of the found-footage segments that will be in the actual game, unlike the Beginning Hour demo released during E3. You play a woman attempting to escape from a stalker best described as a crazed hillbilly witch, in a horrible abandoned building in the murky dark of a Louisiana swamp. There are lots of claustrophobic corridors, lots of tense moments as you slowly open a door, and frequent jump-scares.

The crazed hillbilly witch, Marguerite Baker (wife of Beginning Hour's Jack), follows you around this building in a state of increasing agitation, screeching about your ungratefulness, coming out with horrible epithets, threatening to feed you to her children. It's full-on, but properly scary. You must hide from Marguerite - hiding is usually a much better option than running away. If she sees you, she runs towards you at an unnervingly unnatural pace and that's the end of you. It's not pleasant.

One clever touch: when Marguerite sees you, she drops her lantern and stands still for a while. At first this gives you the impression that you can still escape, but you can't. It just gives you ten or fifteen seconds to panic and try to run before your inevitable demise.

Death - or capture - is unavoidable in this small demo. After being forced down one final corridor in the basement (and after finding a note with the astonishing understatement "There's something wrong with her"), you open a door only to find yourself starting straight into Marguerite's awful, dirt-caked face.

In the final game, you are presumably supposed to glean something helpful from these tapes, which will break up the main story. They are vignettes - perfect for a demo, but not very revealing if you want to know what Resident Evil 7 will be like when it comes out. But the unknown is very important component of effective horror. Capcom will be careful not to let us learn too much.