Resident Evil 7 Final DLCs - Mini Review / Discussion

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Resident Evil 7 Final DLCs - Mini Review / Discussion

Postby KleinerKiller » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:50 am

So the last bits of DLC for Resident Evil 7 -- the long-delayed free episode Not a Hero and the slightly pricier final epilogue End of Zoe -- were released together earlier this month, and I only just got the chance to play through them both. Wasn't sure where to give my thoughts on them, since it's not long enough for my review thread and no one's going to glance at this if I necro the old RE7 thread, but if mods feel this should go elsewhere then feel free to move it.

Full spoilers for both the main game and the DLCs follow.

Not A Hero

Spoiler: show
Positives:

- The hordes of RE fans trying to deny that this Chris Redfield is actually Chris Redfield because of the more realistic art style and different voice actor, and coming up with wild theories about him being HUNK or an evil clone or whatever, can finally be put to rest. As can all of the speculation about Umbrella and the stupidly-named new corporation The Connections, since the DLC wastes no time clarifying all of the remaining loose ends on that front. The resulting new status quo of the RE universe is one that actually excites me, as long as they keep doing interesting things with it.

- As much as I don't want RE to settle back into the framework of dumb, over-the-top action shooting, Chris's faster gameplay feels more like a polished spin on the main game's last act than a return to the arcade shooter style that nearly killed the franchise. Ammo is still a concern, albeit less so than with Ethan, and the game makes up for the heavy weaponry supply by throwing different types of enemies into the mix that provide at least a modicum of tension to the action. The simple Metroidvania structure with the focus on trekking back and forth with new tools is a pleasant surprise as well, and manages to make copious backtracking from the hub to different Molded-infested mine shafts feel interesting instead of tedious.

- Cart pushing section aside, for the most part I love the scant few puzzles and deathtraps dotted throughout the adventure. They play like much shorter spins on the Happy Birthday deathtrap from the main game, aka exactly what I wanted, and I was not expecting to have to think for a second and even slightly examine my surroundings while playing as Chris. The part with the soldier surrounded by tripwires got me genuinely happy when I died for the second time just as I realized what I needed to do.

- Lucas trying to slash Chris with a dinky little penknife and getting shot straight through the jaw for his trouble never fails to make me laugh.

Negatives:

- I'm glad it's not that long, because the mines were a visual bore and a gameplay slog in the main game, and that really doesn't change here. It may have been a poor idea to set an hour-and-a-half of questing within an expansion on the worst stretch of the main game, even if there are a few interesting gameplay change-ups Lucas's hijinks spice things up every so often.

- Chris, as per usual, isn't the most interesting character. His meathead nature and absurd strength are at least toned down, but he's pretty much just a grizzled blank slate who mainly expresses brief sorrow over his soldiers' deaths and repeatedly intones about how much he wants to kill Lucas.

- Lucas's end feels... underwhelming. While the lead-up with the research facility and the tackling headshot is great, his transformation is weak sauce and the boss battle is a total pushover that doesn't feel fitting for him. I was expecting someone like Lucas to get an elaborate puzzle boss fight with the goal being to figure out how to hurt him, sort of like a mix between Jack's first fight and Marguerite's second, so it feels weird (and disappointingly series backpedal-y) to just run around and shoot his glowing heart a lot. The subsequent cutscene coup de grâce also feels a bit too abrupt.

- This is a personal one, but as I've mentioned elsewhere, I really liked the idea of Lucas escaping to become the Wesker or Spencer figure of the new line, constantly meddling in the background but rarely ever getting confronted until a grand climax. Failing that, I'd hoped (prior to End of Zoe's gameplay conceit being revealed) that Zoe would track her brother down and end him. It just feels weird for Chris to be the one to kick his ass, even if it's immensely cathartic to be able to kick said ass.

Overall: It's not mind-blowingly good, but it's well worth playing, and you get quite a lot for it being a free experience. Even I, someone who hates the actionized RE games, liked the way it played. Plus, even if I was disappointed with the overall handling of the finale, Lucas deserved to die and I hope he burns in Hell.


End of Zoe

Spoiler: show
Positives:

- Joe Baker is an uninfected old nutcase who punches Molded with his bare hands and swiftly impales gators on spears, and the game somehow manages to make this more awesome and cathartic than stupid.

- The addition of the gators as instantly lethal enemies is brilliant, and the sequences involving them (especially tromping through the water without a safe patch of land in sight on the way to the Umbrella base) wrung genuine tension and suspense out of a DLC about punching things in the face. I was always on the lookout for spears, and always praying I didn't miss the throws.

- Jack being the final antagonist made me roll my eyes at first since his last appearance in the game was such a fabulous sendoff, but realizing he refused to pass on when Eveline died and came back one last time through sheer blinding fatherly love fits the game's themes really well, and he's served nicely by the DLC's plot. He also gives the game a much more satisfying and climactic final boss than Eveline or Lucas. I wish he spoke even a garbled word, because Jack Baker is a treasure to gaming, but enough is expressed in the final battle to make up for it.

- When I heard talk about the mechanical power fist Joe gets his hands on, I wanted to scream at Capcom to stop backsliding into the days of volcanic boulder-punching. Imagine my elation when it turned out not to be distractingly stupid, but in fact cathartic as all hell and at least given the barest justification for existing. The endgame charge-punch rampage back through the Baker Estate was a hell of a capper to the whole game, and dueling Jack one last time with it was as gritty and grueling and momentous as I'd hoped.

- ZOE ACTUALLY SURVIVES, HOORAY FOR SALVAGING THE WORST PART OF THE ORIGINAL GAME

- The final exchange retroactively makes Ethan seem like much less of an ungrateful bastard, even if it doesn't quite quench the debate about who Ethan wants to save vs who the player wants to save. I'm glad he and Zoe end the story on good terms, and I hope she or they continue to appear in future titles.

Negatives:

- Zoe being a comatose damsel in distress up until the last cutscene. Yeah, the point is to free her of Eveline's influence as she's dying, but surely there could have been ways to incorporate her into the end of her own story as more than a ragdoll for Joe and Jack to carry around. Daughters showcased her viewpoint in a marvelous way, she survived on her own for three years without any apparent direct combat experience, and she spent 2/3rds of the main game helping Ethan out behind the scenes -- they could have given her something to do.

- I'm never one to complain about a good challenge, but holy balls, this DLC is hard. I didn't expect an experience where you control a guy who plows through every enemy with punch combos and later gets a one-hit-kill would be the hardest thing in the game short of Ethan Must Die, but there were times when it took a sharp turn into the painfully difficult, particularly in the gauntlet on the docks and the last battle with Jack. Especially in the latter, my sole death in the last round sucked some of the wind out of the sails of an otherwise damn solid showdown.

- Seriously, fuck those crawling Molded even harder than in the main game. At least Ethan had guns instead of slow-firing spears and didn't die in two hits when one smushed its head into his crotch.

Overall: Strenuous difficulty spikes and Zoe's lack of agency aside, this is the perfect finale to RE7 and a way stronger loose end cleanup than Not a Hero. Joe and Zoe are promising additions to the RE cast going forward if they do indeed reappear, Jack's belated last-last-last sendoff doesn't put a dent in his fantastic arc in the main game, and putting a Molded in a fucking wrestling hold is just so damn fun.


Anyone else play them and want to chime in? I hope so. They're pretty great.
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Re: Resident Evil 7 Final DLCs - Mini Review / Discussion

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:00 am

Yeah, I've played both, and they were both pretty good, but End of Zoe was silly but awesome.
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