Resident Evil 7 is something of a rarity: it's a major PlayStation 4 title which can be played in virtual reality from start-to-finish using PlayStation VR. There are very few cut corners here – aside from the pre-rendered cut-scenes which annoyingly play in Cinematic Mode – and Capcom deserves credit for that; at a time when even flagship exclusives like Gran Turismo Sport are relying on separate modes to support Sony's expensive new peripheral, it's a refreshing show of faith.
And to be fair, the game scales incredibly well to virtual reality. We played through the entire campaign on a standard television first, and then revisited it to see how the PlayStation VR option stacked up. And it's quite amazing: locations that felt familiar from our first playthrough suddenly loomed around us, with the technology's ability to showcase real scale once again proving a highlight. The graphics do obviously take a dip, but not to the degree that you'd expect, which is incredible really.
But the controls unfortunately don't fare as well. Capcom again deserves credit for integrating a number of comfort options – from walk speed to turning acceleration – but nothing that we tried felt quite right. You can opt between an interval turning mechanism which spins you around by designated degrees or a more traditional camera rotation system, but neither felt comfortable to us and we did end up feeling very sick.
Now as with any virtual reality experience, your mileage will vary; our PlayStation VR legs are pretty sturdy, but we can't stomach RIGS: Mechanized Combat League – a game which a lot of people like. So it may be that you find an option that works for you in Resident Evil 7, but we've played with it for a while now, fiddling with different settings, and it never fails to make us feel ill. It may be because the game hasn't been designed with virtual reality specifically in mind, or it could just be us.
Either way, we came away both impressed and disappointed with the PlayStation VR mode. The game does look legitimately great, and it's impressive that the entire campaign supports the feature. But we couldn't play it for long in virtual reality due to motion sickness, which is a shame. The good news is that the title's versatile, so you can jump in and out of the PlayStation VR option as you please, and you don't need to create new save states or anything like that.
It shows that it is possible to build a major blockbuster with both virtual reality and standard play as an option, and while we don't think the execution's quite right in this case, we hope that that's not going to shy other devs away from giving it a try.
Will you be playing Resident Evil 7 with PlayStation VR, or are you going to enjoy this one like a more traditional game? Try not to look what's on the dinner table in the comments section below.