There’s no denying that 2017 has been a particularly strong year for gaming, and with so many memorable titles, it’s no surprise that one of the year’s earliest titles, Resident Evil 7, has been somewhat forgotten in the ongoing year-end conversations. Nonetheless, the latest entry in the long storied franchise provided some of the year’s most terrifying moments, and was backed up by a few brief but equally enjoyably pieces of DLC in the weeks that followed its launch. Yet, the DLC that most were waiting for was the one teased at the end of the game’s campaign: Not a Hero, starring franchise veteran Chris Redfield. After several delays, the long-awaited post-game content has arrived alongside a second chunk of content, End of Zoe, both of which take place after the events of the main game. While each piece of extra content brings some original ideas from a gameplay perspective, their straightforward nature and mostly lackluster stories make the wait feel less than worthwhile.
While there will be no spoilers discussed from Not a Hero and End of Zoe, spoilers from the main campaign of Resident Evil 7 will be discussed below. For more on the core game, check out our review, as well as our thoughts on the first and second DLC releases.
Not a Hero takes place immediately after Ethan leaves the Baker compound, as Redfield attempts to track down the final remaining member of the aforementioned family, Lucas. When three of his Umbrella compatriots get lost down in the mines, Redfield pursues them, as one of the later areas in the campaign is able to be explored further. As expected, Redfield’s tale features more tactical, straightforward FPS gunplay, with a new UI and more readily available ammo that makes the combat feel fresh despite its largely unchanged nature. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the puzzles that separate each battle, as they are far too linear and simplistic, which, considering Lucas’s usual fondness for original (and depraved) puzzles, is a huge missed opportunity. The most interesting tidbits of story in this short tale often come from the environment, as players uncover brief tidbits about Redfield and Umbrella’s unusual partnership, but the stilted dialogue and surprisingly lifeless voice acting (outside of Lucas) makes for a two-hour journey that’s worth taking, but could have been so much more.
A few weeks after the events of Not a Hero, Jack Baker’s brother Joe happens upon his niece Zoe, frozen and still infected by the E-virus. Hoping to save her, Joe’s pursuit for a cure in End of Zoe is a satisfying finale for the Baker family, particularly due to this uncle’s no-holds-barred approach to the situation at hand. In addition to over-the-top voice acting, Joe represents the antithesis to Redfield’s gun-based plan of attack, as throwing spears and his two fists making up the old man’s armory. The moment-to-moment gameplay can sometimes feel a little spam-heavy, but the opportunities for stealth and intense in-your-face combat make for a challenging adventure through the swamps of Louisiana. It’s somewhat but not excessively lighthearted nature makes for a surprisingly fitting conclusion to the latest Resident Evil.
Both pieces of DLC offer a decent amount of collectibles as well as options for replayability thanks to unlockable difficulties and weapons, as well as a respectable three hours worth of total playtime. The unique takes on gameplay that each present within are the highlights of Resident Evil 7’s final pieces of content, as the effects of the Baker’s family actions are felt long after Ethan leaves the mansion. Considering the extended wait period, the missed opportunities in story and variety feel all the more disappointing, especially when reflecting upon what the core game did so well. Even so, Not a Hero and End of Zoe both provide solid reasons to own one of 2017’s more memorable titles and show a glimpse of what could come in the storied franchise’s future.