Well, I did it, I survived. That’s right I made it through my first Resident Evil game and this felt a lot more like a true survival horror gaming experience compared to the other horror games that I’ve played! Yack yack spoilers as usual, and some strong language here and there, read at your own risk blah blah blah.
I think I picked a great place to start in the RE universe because this game and Village are the only two games in the series that have interested me due to them focusing a lot more on the horror aspect, all the other games just didn’t have that same appeal, but that’s a ramble for another time.
I know what you’re thinking, you probably hoped I was going to play Village first, but the reason why I chose to play this first instead was because when some parts from the former got leaked to me, there were things I wanted to learn that took place prior to it that would help me understand better what occurs in Village. My friends tell me the connection between this game and that one is small, but I have decided to go here first since I process the lore differently than others.
So, let’s focus on this game which was one helluva ride.
In the year 2017, Ethan Winters receives a message from his wife Mia to come and find her, which perplexes him since she’s been missing for three years and is presumed dead. He goes to Louisiana and his search leads him to an old house that is home to a deeply disturbed psychotic family known as the Bakers. When Ethan finds Mia, clearly there’s something wrong with her as well, she becomes violent and attacks him, before being abducted by Jack Baker the patriarch of the family. From there Ethan must save Mia and escape the house and he’s got some help from Zoe, the estranged daughter.
The more I played, the darker the story became, just like my friend warned me!
The gameplay definitely gave me the experience I was looking for, and it stresses the importance of being conservative with your inventory as it is limited. You can upgrade it later by finding backpacks. I could also craft ammo and med kits and I would sometimes have to choose between the two if my space was almost full.
There are also safe rooms that enemies cannot enter. In there I can save manually and store items I do not need. There are a couple of times in the game where I was being hunted by Jack, goddamn he just doesn’t die! I had to run in circles the first time to cut him off to in order use the key to the trapdoor, hurry to solve a puzzle to open a narrow passage to lose him, and then lure him away from a room containing a broken shotgun that I could use to replace the working one in a room with a hidden switch.
There is some emphasis on combat, but most of it is with limited ammo, so I had to aim well. I hated those moldy creatures because they would startle me a lot! When I first started to see the growth of the Mold infection in the Baker’s house and how their basement was like a torture chamber, it made me wonder what the hell they were up to, were they turning victims who trespassed into those things?
Eventually I got better weapons and there are puzzles to solve too that require you to search for items used to do them, examine things you find, or look for clues, they’re not too difficult, but I do remember getting stuck at one of them which I will cover in more detail in a moment.
Regarding characters, when I was exposed to some leakage of Village, I didn’t like Ethan right away, and even after playing this game, I still haven’t changed my mind. For a protagonist, he’s pretty dull; no personality when he speaks, except when he swears (which is pretty frequent), and I have no idea why Capcom decided to keep his face obscured. However on a positive note, having a blank slate of a protagonist allows players to step into the shoes of them easily, like we can immerse ourselves in the game more. Maybe that’s what Capcom was hoping to achieve.
Also unlike previous protagonists (who to my knowledge all have military backgrounds), Ethan is just a civilian with no formal training, so he has to fend for himself. Even though he does acquire various weapons, he doesn’t have superb strength or reflexes and that’s what made the game a scary experience focused on survival.
Mia on the other hand seems to be a very anxious person when she finds herself caught in this mess. Her story becomes much more interesting later in the game when I learned what she really was up to all those years. I also enjoyed Zoe’s Southern voice and apparently she’ll appear in the game’s DLCs, so I look forward to seeing more of her.
Each of the Bakers have personalities that remind me of various horror characters. Jack is like Jack Torrance. Marguerite reminds me a lot of Sylvia Ganush from Drag Me to Hell with all the insects swarming that she summons and controls. Lucas is definitely like Jigsaw who likes to play games with his victims and talk on a loudspeaker and it’s a shame he has such a small role, we don’t see him again after Ethan escapes his trap. It’s almost as if he wants to get away from the family like Zoe, especially when Jack severs his hand which clearly has been done before and Lucas complains about it.
That dinner scene really did leave its scar on me, like what the hell were they eating? Pieces of human flesh? Mold infected food? Good thing Ethan didn’t eat it if it was the latter!
At first I thought that they were just a crazy cannibalistic family, but I learned as I continued to play that they didn’t choose this lifestyle.
Like I said, this game got creepier the more I advanced in my play-through, and even now Marguerite also stalked me a little, but instead of chasing me around the house, she would wander until she spotted me and send her bug army in.
After I defeated her, I was able to look for the arm for the serum without any distractions, it was when I came into this old kid’s room did I start to see that there was something else present in the house, haunting it. It was darker, my flashlight flickered and for some reason every little noise made me tremble, like I was waiting to be ambushed by another Molded or worse. When it got pitch black and a voice told me to stay away, I knew there was something else at work here as I made my way into the little room with a decayed corpse of a little girl and the arm that I needed. Then I had to run the fuck out of there because that’s when the Molded attacked!
In this game, I came across a few videotapes, and watching them either foreshadowed what was the come, provided additional backstory, or gave me solutions to solve puzzles. For instance, the Happy Birthday tape I found in the attic, showed what Lucas was doing to any unfortunate victims who stumbled into his trap.
This particular tape was pretty damn disturbing, I had a feeling that was oil spilling out of the keg the moment I pulled out the winding key. My first attempt got me stuck a little, but when I finally got it, I watched in horror as poor Clancy was burned arrive and his corpse was set up for Ethan as a warning, but at least my experience with the tape allowed me to ensure the latter’s survival.
That’s the last I ever saw of Lucas afterward which is a bit disappointing, like I said. It’s like the Bakers are just one and done obstacles. It seems that he is the only sane person currently living in that house, so it makes me wonder if he is even infected? Maybe he isn’t and he’s hiding something, but he hasn’t cut ties like Zoe.
I didn’t get a shot of it, but another brutal moment in this game was the chainsaw duel with Jack in the basement, where half of it consisted of me trying to stay away from him before he grabbed the chainsaw, I was at full inventory at that time and had to give up some shit just to get the other one to fight him. I really hoped he would stay dead after that, but I was wrong.
Just like Ethan, now I’ve seen everything. This is what happens when the Mold has completely infected the individual, it leads to mutations, some grosteque, and this is Jack in his final form when the Mold has fully taken over him. (well not really this is more like calcified)
This fight consisted of me running around and going between levels just to aim for the eyes with my shotgun in order to defeat him, sometimes it was tricky because those eyes were either underwater or hard to aim at due to his constant movement, since I was trying to conserve ammo. The only way you can really kill someone who is infected with the Mold is if they calcify. It seemed like leaving only Jack’s legs in that chainsaw duel, the Mold still had some of him to rebuild with since the infection grants victims tremendous regenerative abilities starting at early stages, like being able to reattach severed limbs effortlessly.
After that I had to choose between curing Mia or Zoe, since they were both infected. Once I understood how the Mold works and how it affects everyone differently, that’s when I realized Mia was infected since at the beginning of the game, I chose to cure her since well, this was the only time I could put myself in Ethan’s shoes, so if I were him I would have picked her. I’m glad I did since the way the game ended had them both saved.
Throughout my first play-through, I had several encounters with some another phenomenon, one was an elderly woman in a catatonic stupor at random parts of the Baker house, like she was waiting to die. It was like I was coming up out of the basement and there she was, just sitting there in her wheelchair. Then when I found the arm for the serum I thought I glimpsed a little girl running away, and when I escaped the house, I took control of Mia and started to see visions of the same girl named Eveline (whose name I came across several times whenever I found intel within the Baker’s house), who was obsessed with the idea that Mia is her mother.
A flashback indicated that she is the source of the Mold, that infected the Bakers and our true antagonist. The Bakers were just pawns, so it’s a pity that killing them was the only way to free them from Eveline’s control. Eveline was not born like any child, but was genetically modified by an organization known as the Connections: they develop bio-weapons and I don’t know whether I should call them terrorists or simple military trying to keep peace in their own way.
Eveline was to be their latest bio-weapon to be deployed. She has an obsession with wanting a family of her own, probably due to spending her life as just a test subject and wants well, what every child wants, to be loved, but her ability to control the Mold has never made this possible as she has only infected those around her.
All she wanted was to be a normal child with a family, and perhaps she saw Mia as the first real mother to her, even if Mia didn’t fully reciprocate that. She reminds me so much of Alma Wade who was also forced into being a guinea pig, except she was far more manipulative and for years she had control over the Bakers on. The part where Ethan speaks with the spirit of Jack who pleads with him to free his family, it shows that the Bakers were once a normal and loving family.
In the end, Eveline was revealed to be that creepy old woman all along and I was able to destroy her monstrous form with several bullets to the face and Mia and Ethan were rescued by a man name Chris Redfield, part of the Blue Umbrella Organization, clearly dedicated to eliminated these bio-weapons the Connections were creating.
So yeah, that was my first Resident Evil experience, there’s so much history to some of the things involved that I would have to do a lot of research or play older games to understand it all. But I really enjoyed this game and its horror, I can’t describe to you how many times the Molded scared me and the suspense of everything I found and every place I explored. Before I move onto Village, there are several DLCs to play which I do hope answer some of my questions that I’ve been left with.
This is one of those games where the villains are better than the protagonist in character development, but even if you play a faceless blank slate character, it’s the other characters in the story that make you want to come back for more. This game was an enjoyable and frightening experience, and definitely a new challenge, even though it turns out I had nothing to worry about in terms of surviving!
Onto the DLCs next, hopefully they will reveal to me what I want to learn about certain characters and other aspects of the story that I may have missed or haven’t discovered yet.