The final two DLC expansions are released for Capcom’s award-winning horror game, but do they end the story with a bang or a whimper?
It seems a very long time ago now that Resident Evil 7 was released. It was the first major new game in January, and the first inkling that 2017 was going to be a classic year. Overturning the disappointment of the last two numbered sequels, Resident Evil 7 is an inspired return to the survival horror roots of the series, and despite a new first person perspective still manages to retain almost everything that made the original games great.
You can find our original review of Resident Evil 7 here, which we still standby and would recommend now more than ever, considering that the base game is available digitally for just £19.99. But what we’d also recommend is this new Gold Edition, which contains all of the DLC – two of which are brand new this week.
The existing DLC comprises Banned Footage Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, the first of which was one of the more worthwhile expansions we’ve played this year – with three new modes that expand and riff on the base game in interesting and unexpected ways. Vol. 2 also featured three unconnected new modes, but was overall far less inspired.
These last two expansions are more traditional in that they’re standalone story adventures, except for some reason Not A Hero is free and End Of Zoe is not. We’ll give each their own score, but Resident Evil 7 itself, in whatever way you buy it, is still at least an 8/10. In fact, if you’re playing it in VR we’re willing to say it’s definitely a 9, as it remains the definitive big budget PlayStation VR experience.
Not A Hero
This is the free DLC, a download which was supposed to be released during the summer but was delayed until now. Capcom has implied that the original idea was to make a more action-orientated story, but when that didn’t work out turned it into something more similar to the main game. It stars Chris Redfield, which feels like it should be a spoiler except that Capcom has been perfectly happy to promote his appearance without any pretence of it being a secret.
Not only that, but all the speculation about whether this is the real Chris, and why he’s working with Umbrella, is explained away in a couple of lines of text before you start. So we can only assume Capcom are unaware that fans have already concocted an Internet’s worth of theories to explain what might be happening.
What actually is going on, is that Chris is trying to track down Lucas – who it’s revealed has a secret base in the mines. And that’s pretty much it in terms of plot. Neither this nor End Of Zoe adds anything new to the storyline, beyond a name for the mysterious organisation Lucas is communicating with, and are instead more concerned with tying up the story’s lose ends than hinting at what comes next.
What results is a sort of Resident Evil in miniature, as Chris sets about finding Lucas and the soldiers he’s kidnapped. The mines were the least visually interesting part of the main game but the areas here are all new, and organised into a sort of simplified Metrodvania structure where you need upgrades to your gas mask to get through sections that are too dark or filled with toxins.
There are also some new enemies, although apart from some facehuggery type creatures they’re only minor variations on the existing monsters. The lack of variety in creature design is one of the key flaws with the main game, and these small deviations are not nearly enough to address the problem properly.
But the story zips along excitingly, as you deal with new fixed machinegun turrets, new bullets types, and even try to upgrade your abilities with collectables. It takes just under three hours to get through and we have to say we thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it does come across as slightly inconsequential.
End Of Zoe
The final slice of paid-for DLC is also not at all what we expected, in terms of gameplay or plot. Although the name implies it’s about Zoe Baker, who we felt was treated poorly by the rest of the game and its DLC, she’s not really in it. Instead her calcified body is discovered by her uncle Joe – a new character who takes it upon himself to find a cure for her.
Joe’s outrageous Louisiana accent gives a hint of the cheese to come, as it turns out he favours using his fists to solve all his problems. On the first run through you don’t get to fire a shot, but instead have to punch monsters to death with your bare hands. Even though the game plays the story entirely straight, this is exactly as absurd as it sounds and culminates in a final showdown that is gloriously silly in a way only Resident Evil can be.
Before that though you have to learn how to put up your dukes in first person. It’s always interesting when developers try to make a fighting game this way, and End Of Zoe works as well as any. The left and right shoulder buttons work their respective fists, while a block allows you the chance to counter-attack. It’s frustratingly easy to lose sight of where an enemy is, but when a hit connects there’s an enjoyable heft to your punches.
There’s also a minor stealth element to the expansion, and the chance to throw spears at alligators and other four-legged enemies. But mostly it’s about punching. End Of Zoe takes place a little after Not A Hero and so is chronologically the final chapter of Resident Evil 7. We can safely that’s not the way we thought it would end, but the fact that we can still be surprised by such a long-running series is one of the best things we can say about the game and its DLC.
Formats: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Price: £34.99 (Gold Edition), £24.99 (season pass), £11.99 (End Of Zoe)
Release Date: 12th December 2017
Age Rating: 18
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