An unnecessary release that takes focus away from the true masterpiece
The first batch of DLC for Resident Evil 7: biohazard comes just a mere seven days after the game was released. In case you have missed all coverage of the game I would advise you to go check out my review of the main game. It’s a modern horror masterpiece and a must play. However with DLC coming so soon after release, and a season pass that feels very unnecessary for this game, I was concerned to say the least. Having now played Banned Footage Vol 1; those concerns have become a reality.
This 1st DLC pack of a proposed three you get within the season pass (another DLC titled Not A Hero arrives this Spring for free) comes with three different modes. The first is Nightmare which is this game’s take on horde mode. You are stuck in a small basement area of the main house and must survive multiple waves of increasingly difficult enemies. You can buy upgrades and weapons from scrap you earn. In addition, traps and turrets can be built to help you fight the horde.
It is designed to be played multiple times; as you earn better equipment to purchase the more you play the mode. However I was surprised to beat the mode on my 2nd try. Beating it unlocks a harder version titled Night Terror which seems to be identical except for difficulty. The mode actually plays better than it probably has any right to but still doesn’t do anything that great. Once again you are fighting the same enemies. Even the exact same version of Jack pulled straight from the main game doesn’t make the mode feel fresh or new but rather derivative. It’s fun to put your back against a wall and give the wave of enemies coming at you all you’ve got. After only a few tries I feel like I’ve had my fill of it.
The next mode is Bedroom and plays completely different to Nightmare. In Bedroom, you are tied to a bed by Marguerite and must escape the room with your life intact. It’s an interesting concept as you have to find clues and items within the room and combine them to get closer to inevitably planning an escape. However you’ll occasionally make noise and Marguerite will come back to the room and check on you. In which case you have to hide what you’ve been doing and get back into bed.
This is a cool concept but with it’s lack of combat and reliance of atmosphere it is definitely designed with VR in mind. But once you learn the pattern of what to do, find a new item, trigger Marguerite, wait in bed, repeat; it does become a little tedious. Even more so when you make a simple mistake and you have to replay the entire sequence from the start; waiting for Marguerite multiple times again. It just doesn’t feel fully fleshed out of an idea. It also provides zero replayability at all.
The final mode of this DLC is called Ethan Must Die. It certainly feels the most different part of the package. Playing like a roguelike, you start each run differently as you try to survive in the house only with the hardest difficulty the game has offered yet. There are boxes which contain random drops so sometimes you get a good roll or sometimes you don’t. I’ve never been a fan of this style requiring too much trial and error until you get a good drop. Plus the difficulty is so high (and I’ve beaten the game on Madhouse) it just doesn’t do anything for me. It’s definitely the part of this release I will play the least.
And that’s it. For the price ($9.99) it isn’t a huge rip off but everything about this release feels unnecessary. Back in 2015 I wrote about pointless season passes after I felt The Evil Within and Batman: Arkham Knight both were guilty of being great games that had completely pointless season passes just to squeeze more money from it’s most hardcore of fans. This doesn’t feel as grievous (yet). However it’s more disappointing when you think how close this came to the game’s release.
Resident Evil 7: biohazard is a genre defining game and the conversation should still be focused on how amazing the main game turned out. And not that some completely mediocre DLC has already rolled out for a game that absolutely didn’t need it. The free DLC coming sounds the most interesting of all that’s planned. I would certainly recommend you don’t buy the season pass in it’s current state. But do play the main game again as I will. I needed to wash this bad taste away and be reminded of this game’s true brilliance once again.