The reaction to the first Banned Footage DLC for Resident Evil 7 was mixed, to say the least. Each of the three experiences aimed to scare and stress, but the overall quality of each varied from piece to piece, with only one truly being a must-play for Resident Evil 7 owners. This initial opinion didn’t bode well for the second volume, but two weeks later, Capcom has released it upon the world and it also offers a rather mixed set of scenarios. This conflicted nature works in favor of the DLC this time around, however, with the quality being the consistent factor this time around, and each experience varying in terms of themes and gameplay. Resident Evil 7’s Banned Footage Volume 2 DLC succeeds in a surprising and impressive number of ways, thanks to the developers taking some ambitious but smart leaps with the design of each sequence.
Separate from the two new Banned Footage tapes is the “Jack’s 55th Birthday” mode, which is easily the strangest offering Resident Evil 7 has to provide. Similar to “Ethan Must Die”, the new mode is fully independent from the events of the campaign, as Mia is tasked with combing through various enemy-infested environments in search of food for her husband’s birthday celebration. All of the weapons and aids are provided to the player beforehand, as they race against the clock to satiate Jack’s hunger. What truly props this mode beyond a mere gimmick is the lighthearted nature of it all, with birthday decorations donning the usually creepy enemies and environments, and music and crazy weaponry straight out of a Fallout game. Considering how serious the entirety of Resident Evil 7 has taken itself so far, it’s nice to see the developers have some fun with the craziness of it all, providing the game’s most replayable experience to date.
Returning to the horror, “21” returns to secondary protagonist Clancy as he meets up with the final member of the Baker family. Paired with a mysterious stranger, players must secure victory in multiple rounds of blackjack to avoid various gruesome fates and traps designed by Lucas Baker. Accompanying the usual dose of strategy and luck that the card game has to alter are trump cards, which grant several abilities to alter the playing field both for and against the player. The Lucas-centric challenge dives further into the “Saw”-like themes that heavily featured in his sections of the campaign, and make both success and failure equally painful to watch. With multiple difficulties further raising the challenge and stakes, “21” is another memorable chapter in Clancy’s journey that takes a simple concept and pushes it to intensely stressful heights.
Rounding out the trio is “Daughters”, another prequel story that puts players in the shoes of Zoe Baker, three years before Ethan arrives in Louisiana. The plot once again centers around the Baker family, as players get a glimpse into the more human side of Zoe’s sibling and parents, as well as the house they inhabit. While the gameplay is rather straightforward for those who played the campaign, the anecdote offers some long overdue insight into one of the central characters of Resident Evil 7, mending one of the plot holes of the late stages of the main story. Due to the crucial nature of the tape, it’s somewhat of a disappointment that it’s stuck behind a $15 price tag. But, featuring multiple endings and some secrets that help further the fiction, “Daughters” is a must-play for both those unsatisfied with certain events in the main campaign, and for those who have yet to experience the chilling events of Resident Evil 7.
Like many of the best DLC experiences out there, Resident Evil 7’s second Banned Footage volume pushes the game in unusual and daring directions that the main package was unwilling to explore, while additionally furthering the story of the core campaign. While the content is similar in length to the first volume, the offerings inside are much more enticing and well-developed, surrounding Capcom with positivity as they prepare for the final piece of Resident Evil 7 DLC, the intriguing post-story events of “Not a Hero.”