Resident Evil 7: Biohazard contains a strong grindhouse aesthetic, but I’d hesitate to call it a grindhouse game because it’s actually more stylistically complicated than that. It absolutely does evoke grindhouse in its violence, but its exploration, atmosphere, and puzzles are inspired by a very tonally different kind of horror: found footage. It seems like an obvious comparison, given the fact that one sequence has you literally playing as the cameraman for a TV show, but the inspirations go deeper than this kind of obvious imitation.
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If you’ve read anything about Resident Evil 7 since it came out, you’ve likely seen one word repeated over and over again in every piece of criticism: Grindhouse. It’s a term that describes a certain type of horror movie. These critics go on to describe the game’s horror as brutal, dirty, and personal, but what exactly does Resident Evil 7 do to evoke such a specific aesthetic of violence?
The titular Verde Station of the game Verde Station is a small isolated space station that is to be your lonely home for two years. You walk around the floating structure, reading messages on terminals and watching the environment change over time. At a few points you’ll find some journal entries lying around that hint at a space opera far bigger than this tiny station you’re stuck on. The mystery begins: How does your lonely little station fit into that sci-fi epic?
Spoilers abound ahead.
It’s been a while since I’ve played a Telltale game. I’ve always enjoyed the developer’s output, everything from Sam and Max to The Wolf Among Us, but I’ve fallen behind on their more recent series like Minecraft: Story Mode, Game of Thrones, and Batman. Thankfully, I’ve finally gotten back on the Telltale horse again with Tales from the Borderlands and it feels… weird.
Beholder casts you as a tool of an oppressive government. However, after playing Beholder for several hours, I still don’t really feel like the tool of an oppressive government.
Part of me thinks this is bad design, the game being unable to properly express its themes. Another part of me thinks its brilliant design, the game making me truly feel the banality of evil; how hard it is to care about other people’s shit when you’ve got so much of your own to deal with?