HIGH Finally killing Marguerite and wrapping up Ethan Must Die.
LOW Not being able to experience Ethan Must Die in VR.
WTF Breakfast in bed.
Released just one week after the game’s launch, Resident Evil 7’s “Banned Footage, Volume 1” collection offers three completely different styles of minigame designed to extend the life of this new entry in Capcom’s long-running series.
Tape 1: Nightmare
This minigame is a wave-based combat experience. Players resume the role of Clancy, the unfortunate star of two of the main game’s VHS flashbacks. He’s forced to defend himself against hordes of molded zombies, as well as the occasional cameo from Jack and some gloriously bizarre weapons. The content takes place entirely within the basement area of the main house — first the morgue and generator areas — but the dissection room can opened up, should the player craft the right tool.
Speaking of which, it’s important to note that crafting is key here. Players have to run from one scrap generator to the next, picking up resources that they can turn into weapons and skill upgrades at workbenches while chased by oozing foes.
On the upside, this content is extremely well-balanced. The scrap generators are just slow enough to create frequent low-ammo tension, but every weapon’s starting cost is so low that players are free to use the limited resources and experiment with any kind of loadout they’d like. The downside is that there’s just not enough variety to it. The waves always consist of the same enemies, and new weapons and tools unlock too slowly.
I beat Nightmare on my third try, and Night Terror, the more difficult follow-up (scarcer resources, tougher enemies) on my second, but I’m guessing it’s considerably easier in PSVR thanks to the aiming advantages the headset offers. Successfully completing Nightmare will earn players around 300K points, but it would take 10 million to unlock everything. While I enjoy this combat, I don’t see myself going back to the exact same scenario and repeating it thirty times.
Tape 2: Bedroom
This content offers another bad day for Clancy — this once has him trapped in an adaptation of the film Misery, with Marguerite in Kathy Bates’ role. It’s an escape room, with the player trapped and tasked with finding a way to open the secret escape passage discovered in the main game. There are a surprisingly large amount of things to interact with in the room and a decent amount of puzzles to solve, but the real challenge is remembering exactly how things were arranged before Clancy started trying to escape. Marguerite will return periodically, and if everything isn’t put back exactly how it was, things can take a very dark turn.
While this doesn’t have a ton of replayability, it’s a thrilling experience, and getting the chance to go up close and personal with Marguerite really makes me appreciate what a great job the animators and voice performer did with the character. There’s a dozen ways to screw up and get Clancy caught, and Marguerite has a unique response to each of them, ensuring that trial and error will be… rewarding.
Bonus Mode: Ethan Must Die
This feels like the Biohazard team’s tribute to The Tofu Survivor from RE2. Players start in the yard, armed with only a knife. They’re given instructions to find something inside the house, then left to figure it out on their own. Heading in, they’ll discover that most alternate paths have been closed off, transforming the house into a gauntlet of horrors that forces them to run down a proscribed path and trying to (mostly) avoid monsters capable of killing them in just one or two claw-swipes.
Interestingly, there’s even a bit of rogue-lite design going on in this mode. Ethan starts with a knife, but the house is littered with crates containing randomized items. Health, weapons, utilities — sometimes even bombs that can instantly kill the unwary.
Ethan Must Die is a pretty amazing experience — it’s a great remix of the main game’s assets, and even more impressive than the already well-constructed Madhouse mode. I haven’t come close to beating it yet, but the randomized difficulty keeps me coming back as I learn new tricks to deal with the traps and foes. I’m a little annoyed that this mode is not available in PSVR for no reason that’s clear to me, but other than that, it’s the standout element of this first DLC pack.
There’s no question that Banned Footage, Volume 1 is a solid value for the money, but beyond its virtues in extending RE7’s life, what impresses me most is that it demonstrates just how deep and versatile the game is. The developers offer three totally different first-person experiences here, and each one not only works perfectly, but fits into the world and experience of Resident Evil 7. I can’t wait to see what Volume 2 brings.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Capcom. It is currently available on XBO, PS4, PSVR, PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PS4, both with PSVR and without. Approximately 10 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode – 4 hours in PSVR, 6 hours standard – the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and contains blood and gore, intense violence, and strong language. No kids. If they’re under 12 they shouldn’t be using the PSVR anyway, but that’s beside the point. Gruesome violence, cannibalism, dismemberment, torture, violence against children, constant swearing… there’s nothing that kids should be allowed to see in this game. At all.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: It’s going to be rough. There are subtitles for all the dialogue, and none of the puzzles are sound-based, but being able to hear approaching monsters and the location of bosses is pretty key for survival. You may be forced to play the game on easy.
Remappable Controls: Only certain functions are remappable. You’re able to swap around which shoulder button does what, so lefties who’d rather shoot with their left index finger and aim with their right will be fine.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.