Why not finish the year as we started it, with a good bit of Resident Evil 7? It might not bring much Christmas cheer, but Capcom’s survival horror revival remains one of the best VR titles of 2017, which makes today’s release of a free new single-player mission a fitting present for all PlayStation VR (PSVR) owners. Though brief, this new add-on, named Not A Hero, is an entertaining if inessential epilogue that neatly wraps up some dangling plot threads.
Note: Full spoilers for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard are included in this article.
If you were brave enough to make it through the original game then you may remember a special cameo from series regular Chris Redfield in the final few minutes. Not A Hero picks up right at the end of RE7, switching out Ethan for Chris and setting you on the hunt for Lucas, the remaining member of the diseased Baker family that managed to evade capture in the main game. Lasting anywhere between 90 to 120 minutes, the epilogue has you making your way back through the dank mine setting.
Not A Hero’s screenshots and trailers had us thinking it may be a return to the recent action-orientated installments in the franchise, Resident Evil 5 and 6, rather than the terrifying slow-burn that 7 turned out to be. The truth is somewhere in between; while you’ll be doing a lot more shooting and a lot less screaming (oh, yes, and some monster-punching), there’s a decent mix of relatively simple puzzles similar to those you found in the first game and some new enemy types that make the combat a little tenser.
Clever twists on the action come about quickly but leave just as fast. For starters, you’ll encounter rooms with poisonous gas, giving you a limited amount of time to get through them before you run out of air. It’s a pretty good means of piling on the pressure, though, like many of this chapter’s new features, it doesn’t ever feel like it’s fully developed. You get an upgrade early into the content that allows you to breathe in these rooms, but I would have loved to see the idea pushed further. The same goes for invincible enemies; a gnawing sense of dread that rises every time you see them disappears as soon as you find a new ammo type that can take care of them in just one shot.
Epilogue or otherwise, there are enough new ideas in Not A Hero for a game at least twice as long as it is, and it suffers from not getting to stretch its legs before the finale.
Luckily, the core RE7 gameplay that worked so well on PSVR before remains intact. Aiming with your head is still far more accurate than using a controller, meaning VR players will have it just a little easier than those playing the standard version. The true joy of the VR support, though, is the pang of panic you feel every time a monster slithers out from under a table, or drops down from the ceiling in front of you with a dull thud. Despite having braved the Baker mansion, I still found myself wincing at the sight of enemies and closing my eyes as I opened doors, as if every step in VR was a dare I was making with myself. Not A Hero isn’t anything like as scary as the main game, but it remains an effective, if slightly generic, thriller nonetheless.
It’s to Capcom’s credit, though, that the experience is even comparable to the rest of the game, given that it’s a free release. I would absolutely recommend anyone that played through (and loved) Resident Evil 7 jump into this engaging highlight reel. Stacked up to the rest of the game, Not A Hero surpasses the original campaign’s slow second act (set on the ship after you leave the mansion) and sits in the same league as the final segment. It doesn’t match the high bar set by the pure terror that is the game’s first third but, frankly, having been through that experience once before I’m in no rush to do it again.
Resident Evil 7’s Not A Hero DLC is available now on PS4 with PSVR support either as a free download or bundled into the game’s new Gold Edition, with comes with both volumes of the Banned Footage DLC and a new chapter called End of Zoe. We’ll have coverage of the latter later this week.