Fans of the Resident Evil franchise do not have long to wait for the next numbered entry to the series – a first-person, VR-capable offering will be released for PS4, XBox One and PC (Windows 10 and Steam) in North America and Europe on January 24th of next year. It also appears as though Capcom has taken to heart some of the criticisms launched at Resident Evil 5 and 6 (though to a much lesser extent at the recent Revelations offshoots) by making a leap to survival horror in its purest form, a feat which even the first game arguably struggled to achieve at times.
What we can glean from the demo, Beginning Hour, is that the action takes place in a remote mansion (before you chip in, not in the Spencer Mansion) in the middle of the countryside; as is the bread and butter of the survival horror series, you play as a seemingly clueless guy stumbling about the rickety homestead with no idea what is going on, his only clues being the occasional shadow of a shambling body or gurgling noise from monsters lurking outside.
It all appears gruesome, shocking and, perhaps most importantly for a franchise which has had its fair share of issues, a departure from the more action-oriented approach taken by previous titles. Perhaps disappointingly for some, there is doubt as to how far some old favourites will pop up in the story, given that it takes place after Resident Evil 6 and is therefore not a return to older storylines; however, the Resident Evil market is already saturated with its fair share of REmakes and REmasters.
Beginning Hour is available as of today to PlayStation Plus members, with it being on wider release at a later date. So far, there are only talks of rolling out VR compatibility for those playing the PS4 version of the game; the PlayStation VR itself comes out in October, retailing at $399 and with discussion pointing towards upwards of 50 launch titles. Resident Evil 7 Biohazard may be one of the titles that pushes you towards buying a VR set, if serious spooks are your jam; however, it depends on whether you still have faith that the series can deliver serious scares, after its deviation into the action genre. After watching the demo, all signs point to Capcom being able to pull this off.