Capcom followed through on their promise to return horror to the Resident Evil franchise as Resident Evil 7 biohazard offers a creepy environment, a multitude of jump scares and several downright disgusting monsters. Factor in realistic graphics, limited in-game resources and a minimalist inventory, and you have a game that is terrifying enough to put even veteran horror gamers on edge. While the game’s story and first person perspective is a departure for the franchise compared to earlier Resident Evil games, the survival-horror mechanic that was truly revolutionary for its time when the original Resident Evil released in 1996 has come back around full circle. With that in mind, here are some basic strategies that will help you survive in the Bakers’ mansion.
1. Don’t Waste Ammunition
For anyone familiar with the survival-horror sub-genre this goes without saying, but to the uninitiated the first person perspective could lead one to the false sense that Resident Evil 7 is a first-person shooter which it most certainly is not. If you want to survive in this game’s world of limited resources and difficult to kill monsters you cannot get into a “spray and pray” mentality. That is true of the seemingly plentiful handgun ammo just as much as for the rarer shotgun or specialty weapon ammunition.
While the player character has a knife as a backup weapon throughout a large portion of the game, going melee against most monsters, including the so-called “Molded” which are the game’s standard enemy, is not advisable unless you’ve put a few well-placed bullets in them first. Knife kills are possible, but put the player character in danger needlessly since proper ammunition management will reduce the likelihood of having to fight hand-to-hand.
The best way to conserve ammunition is to make every shot count. The standard monster in Resident Evil 7 is more susceptible to head shots than shots to the body, so don’t waste bullets by shooting at the chest. Aim for the head. Most of the game’s basic monsters move slowly after initial contact, so take the time to take aim for the head before taking a shot.
Likewise, the Bakers in their human form are more susceptible to head shots. In their more monstrous forms, things get a bit more complex, but each of them has a weak spot, so the idea is to pinpoint that area whether it’s a sensitive, squirming underbelly, or enormous eyes that have sprouted, blinking from various places on the body.
2. Just Because It Seems Dead Doesn’t Mean It Is
This is especially true of encounters with the game’s seemingly human characters. Sure, you may have just repeatedly hacked at that woman’s neck with a hatchet. And, sure, she may have said what sounded like last words before slumping to the floor, the light gone from her eyes in what would be certain death in the real world. Resident Evil 7 is not the real world.
If you pause to catch your breath or gather your thoughts while standing over that woman’s seemingly dead body you will find yourself fighting for your own life as she reanimates and attempts to kill you. Death eventually comes for some of these characters, but it is a long time coming.
3. Don’t Hesitate to Heal Yourself
If you aren’t at or near full health then you may be one hit away from death depending on who or what you encounter down that next pitch-black hallway. While healing items are, like ammunition, in limited supply that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them when you need to. Herbs can be used by themselves for a small heal or combined with chem fluids to create first aid potions for a much more potent healing affect.
Crafting the healing potion is almost always the best bet, but if your health is in the red, and you don’t have any chem fluids don’t hesitate to use that herb to get yourself out of the danger zone. That doesn’t mean you have to heal every time a monster hits you, but if your character’s health drops into the orange you should eat that herb or splash some healing potion on yourself.
4. Remember to Block
If a monster or boss has closed into melee range, don’t forget about the block button. Blocking greatly reduces the amount of damage your character will take, so be ready to get your arms up to block melee attacks anytime you are in combat.
Yes, you will still take damage from a hit. However, if you block that could mean the difference between your character’s health dropping into the yellow or going straight into the red. Especially in the case of boss fights. The best strategy is to either drop the enemy before they get into melee range, or dodge their attack altogether, but if all else fails blocking can be the difference between life and death.
5. Keep Moving When in Combat
To avoid having to block, and take even a slight hit to your health just keep moving. There is a certain rhythm to combat in any video game, and Resident Evil 7 is no different. While you may need to slow down or even stop to take aim – don’t forget to make every shot count – it shouldn’t take more than a moment before you begin moving again in order to avoid backlash from your target.
Maneuver for a shot at the enemy’s weak spot. Aim. Shoot. Move, and keep moving until you find yourself in a position to take another shot at the weak spot. At the same time, be aware of your surroundings. If you’re in a narrow hallway fighting a few monsters, don’t inadvertently back yourself into another area that is full of monsters that could take you by surprise.
6. Be Stealthy Whenever Possible
While Resident Evil 7 is no Metal Gear Solid in terms of stealth game mechanics, you can at least put some fights off for a short time, until you are better equipped to deal with them, if you do some sneaking around. Sneaking works well during early encounters with the Baker family, and even with the Molded in certain situations such as in a large room with lots of clutter to hide behind, or in some of the longer hallways. Again, don’t count on stealth working in every situation, but it is worth a shot especially if you’re low on ammunition or healing items.
7. Be Observant
Being observant is one of the most important skills to have in Resident Evil 7. Paying attention to one’s surroundings can lead to finding more items, noticing an enemy’s weak spot and keying in on the, often explosive, traps that a certain member of the Baker family likes to leave laying around in the middle stages of the game. There are stages in the game that make the player feel both frightened of impending death and afraid to slow down in order to get a better look at the environment. While you shouldn’t stand still for long, or at all, while being pursued, don’t be afraid to take a chance for a quick look around a room to see what useful items may be lying around before moving on to a potentially safer location.
This applies to boss battles too. Boss rooms will sometimes have some ammunition or healing items scattered around, and it always pays to watch out for the bosses patterns and weaknesses.
8. Use Those Psychostimulants
Making good use of psychostimulants when you find them goes hand-in-hand with tip number seven. Taking psychostimulants will allow you to see all the items in an area by marking them in your field of view. They only last for a short time, however. Use them when you have them. Don’t save them for later, and don’t just horde them. Use them. Even if you’re in an area you’re pretty sure you’ve cleared, take them if you have them because you may be surprised at what you’ve missed.
9. Manage Your Inventory
One of the major elements of Resident Evil’s brand of survival horror is a limited inventory, and Resident Evil 7 is not an exception. Having the right tool, key or weapon at the right time is more important than almost anything else. That broken shotgun you just found may be the key to getting a more functional weapon, so it is of utmost importance that it is in your inventory when you need it. Unfortunately, you can’t always anticipate exactly when and where you may need a particular item. However, carrying a balanced inventory can help.
For example, it probably isn’t a good idea to try to carry every weapon you find at all times. Except for handguns and knives, weapons take up a lot of inventory space. Then factor in all the different varieties of ammunition, and soon there won’t be room in your inventory for that all important Snake Key that will allow progress into the next section of the game. If you’ve found grenade launcher ammunition, but not the grenade launcher then you can safely ditch the ammunition in storage until later. If you have the grenade launcher, but no ammunition, and the enemies in the area don’t seem to need that kind of firepower to be dispatched then you may want to store the grenade launcher until you actually need it.
Another good way to free up space in inventory is to use chem fluids to make either health potions or handgun ammunition whenever you have the ingredients to do so. That could easily free up a few inventory slots.
10. Don’t Ignore the Antique Coins
Yes, the antique coins take up inventory space. Yes, it takes some time to collect enough of them to get something useful. However, once you have them you can deposit them in storage until you have enough of them without worrying about when or where you may need to use them.
There is a particular safe area in the game that has some peculiar gumball-type machines with some very helpful items in them including a semi-automatic magnum handgun along with some items that will buff your character. When you find those coins pick them up. If you don’t have space in inventory right away then make sure you go back and get that coin later. When you’re dropping a boss quickly with a magnum pistol, or taking more damage than usual, you’ll be happy you did.