Hands-On: Resident Evil 7’s ‘Banned Footage Vol. 1’ Adds Replayability With New Game Modes
Last week we reported on the details of the first piece of DLC for Capcom’s Resident Evil 7: Biohazard [Review: 9/10]. Released today for PlayStation 4, Banned Footage Vol. 1, the first pack of new content, includes three things for intrepid horror junkies like myself to sink their teeth into. The aptly titled Nightmare is a wave-based survival mode, Bedroom is an escape-the-room puzzle experience, and Ethan Must Die is a brand new game mode. Only Nightmare and Bedroom feature PlayStation VR (PSVR) support.
Unfortunately, this means that the most interesting new feature (Ethan Must Die) is left out of the VR fold, but we have our fingers crossed it will get support later on.
Instead of accessing the new content from VHS tapes inside the game itself, you’ll actually go to the Main Menu and find them all under the “Extra Content” option. From here you can select the Banned Footage collection or the new Ethan Must Die game mode.
You can watch a quick teaser video above showing off what’s in store for the Banned Footage Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 collections. The second set is due to release on PS4 in two weeks on February 14th. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with blood, guts, and gore?
Nightmare (VR Supported)
The first piece of new content in Banned Footage Vol. 1, Nightmare, offers some much-needed replayability to a game that formerly only consisted of a single-player campaign. You’ll take on the role of Clancy, the cameraman from the Beginning Hour demo and one of the playable VHS tapes found in the core game. The events found here supposedly take place after he is separated from the rest of his crew. Your objective is to survive for 5 hours until dawn.
You’ll start off in one of the basement rooms of the Baker House, near the processing area. If you completed the base campaign, it will be immediately recognizable. You’ll start with a small collection of resource scraps that can be used to purchase items like guns, ammo, first aid kits, skill upgrades, and more. Spread throughout the basement are processors that create more scraps over time once started. You can also set traps in pre-defined locations.
Exploring this game mode requires quickly memorizing the layout and making trips between the different processors to stay stocked up on your scraps and supplies. The traps are best saved for late-game usage to get the most out of them. Rooms that have objects in the middle (such as tables) are useful for keeping distance between yourself and the Molded creatures that spawn. Careful aim and a cool-head will be crucial to passing this new mode.
While it’s not necessarily infinitely replayable and would be improved by more maps or multiplayer functionality, it feels like a welcomed addition to the game. That being said, I can’t help but feel like it really should have been there to begin with as an optional VHS tape. It adds a missing layer to the experience that was very likely ready to include by the time the game launched.
Bedroom (VR Supported)
This bit of content feels the most similar to what’s already found in the VHS tapes from the base game’s campaign. You’ll start out as Clancy once again, strapped to a bed this time, as Marguerite stops by to deliver your supper. After she leaves it’s up to you to frantically search the room for a way out.
In practice, it plays out much like a real-life escape room puzzle would, tasking you with exploring every nook and cranny of your surroundings for a way out. But you have to be careful because if you make too much noise then she’ll come back to inspect what’s going on. If she catches you out of bed then it’s Game Over. If you hear her coming, then you have to try and put everything back the way it was so she doesn’t notice.
Even though it’s not a wave-based survival mode like Nightmare, this one felt more nerve-wracking to me. Part of that could be because Marguerite as a character is more terrifying and disgusting than the Molded, which act much like the over-used zombie archetype that they seem to be based upon.
It’s unfortunate then that it loses its appeal after you’ve figured it all out, but it was fun while it lasted. A bit reminiscent of the Happy Birthday tape from the original game, albeit with a more frantic and unnerving premise.
Ethan Must Die (No VR Support)
Finally, the most interesting piece of new content in the bunch is a brand new game mode called Ethan Must Die. While it adds the meatiest junk of stuff to do with the most interesting replayability elements, it unfortunately lacks any PSVR support. Hopefully that changes.
You’ll start out alone and afraid in an attempt to surpass the overwhelming odds of an entire game mode tailor-made just to kill you. Whereas the core campaign featured a litany of ways for you to fight back or run away and hide, Ethan Must Die doesn’t sport those same fine luxuries.
Instead, everything in this game mode appears to be randomized. The higher the star rating on a crate the better item it could have. When you die, you’ll leave a gravestone behind and if you make it back to that gravestone on your next playthrough, then you get a randomly selected item from your past corpse given back to you. It’s almost like an even less forgiving version of Dark Souls’ death and soul system.
It’s strange that this mode doesn’t support PSVR play because for the most part all of the assets are reused from the core game even if this is a “new game mode” technically. It’s a lot of fun and features a disgustingly difficult gauntlet of challenges.
If you loved the original game, then this is worth the $9.99 price of entry. However, I’d recommend getting the $29.99 Season Pass to get this, Banned Footage Vol. 2 when it releases (typically $14.99) and an unannounced third piece of paid DLC content all together. You’ll save money that way.
However, if you weren’t amazed by Capcom’s brand of first-person horror in Resident Evil 7, then this isn’t going to do anything to change that. With the most interesting piece of content lacking PSVR features, it’s a bit of a hard sell if you’re a fan of Sony’s HMD, but it’s still overall worth playing outside of VR regardless.