Capcom’s return to RE‘s survival horror roots is frightfully effective, causing anxiety at the very notion of opening a door. Exploring the decaying southern Gothic home of the Baker family is intense, and like a great Resident Evil game, finds more than a few ways to make your skin crawl.
At least part of the reason this new entry feels so fresh is that it’s largely treated as a standalone story. You’d be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t even part of the RE franchise with how little lore from previous games appears here.
Still, horror comes from the unknown, and despite being mostly self-contained, RE 7 left us with a few important questions that are still festering.
(SPOILER WARNING: this piece discusses many of the plot revelations made throughout the game, particularly the ending, so tread carefully.)
Is Ethan supposed to be infected?
Maybe it was purposely never explained or maybe I just missed it due to all the hyperventilating, but is Ethan supposed to be somewhat infected by Eveline’s mold? Because if not, that dude took an unbelievable amount of punishment.
It’s one thing to scrape by surviving against hulking monstrosities and infected southern mutants, but Ethan makes a few close calls throughout the game that would have squashed anyone without some type of unnatural healing ability.
Case in point, within 15 minutes of starting the game, our faceless protagonist has his hand cut off by a chainsaw, then reattached with what looks like staples. After that, he’s back to full usage of it, as if it’s not a moment’s notice away from plopping off onto a filthy floor.
Even crazier is when, in your gnarly chainsaw battle with Jack Baker, there is a scenario where he catches you and saws your foot clean off. But this isn’t a game over screen, as you pick your foot up, put it back in place, pour some first aid fluid on it, and get back to fighting like a life-altering trauma didn’t just occur.
I can suspend disbelief for these disgusting monsters and horrible, horrible mutations that befall the Bakers, but some of these injuries Ethan sustains are just too far beyond the help of a bottle of first aid fluid.
He’s breathing the same infected air that Mia and the Bakers are, so it’s understandable that he may be getting some of the more beneficial effects of the infection. If so, that leaves a loose thread of someone infected still roaming about. If not, well, he sure is resilient.
Whatever happened to Zoe and Lucas?
Jack and Marguerite Baker met pretty definitive fates in RE 7 but the same can’t really be said about the younger two family members, Lucas and Zoe.
We’re never really given a conclusive scene with Lucas, as he bolts shortly after you solve his puzzle room. We see his handiwork throughout the salt mines later, and even read that he’s had some mysterious benefactors, but we’re never given the satisfaction of introducing him to our shotgun.
One could probably assume that he bit the dust when Eveline went full Akira and blew up the house but at this point we know Lucas is probably too sly to be taken out like that. Do I sense a DLC story coming?
The outlook is certainly less optimistic for Zoe though. If you make the dumb choice and give her the cure, she dies anyway. If you make the smart choice and give Mia the cure and leave Zoe behind, it’s not a stretch to think her betrayal didn’t yield cheery consequences once returning to the house. The outlook isn’t really helped any by her being in your dream/vision of the now-dead Jack back at the house.
We pretty much know nothing good can happen to Zoe by game’s end but it would just be a lot more comforting having some closure for someone so doomed, especially after such a guilt-inducing last meeting.
How does our favorite evil corporation fit into all this?
In the game’s finale, you’re saved from being devoured by gross Eveline by a rescue helicopter and a man named “Redfield.” As Ethan and Mia are flown away, the chopper Redfield arrived in has a familiar logo stamped on it: Umbrella.
These are the only nods to the larger Resident Evil lore, save for a few easter eggs like a newspaper mentioning Raccoon City. However, it’s unlikely that they’re there just as fun acknowledgments.
We never really found out who Mia’s employers were and what group was silently keeping tabs on the terror at the Baker’s plantation. Is Umbrella now in the bioterror cleanup business or was this playing both sides. Why would Chris Redfield be working with Umbrella (assuming that is actually supposed to be Chris Redfield and not just a throwaway moment)? Or is there another shady organization making new rounds of bioweapon monsters?
The end credits tease the “Not a Hero” DLC coming later this spring, starring a character other than Ethan, so expect some answers to the overall implications for RE there.
Until then we’ll just have to occupy our curious minds be trying to get out of that bedroom without getting bugs thrown up on us.
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