Greetings! Long time no see, how’s the family?
Okay I’ll spare you the pleasantries, I want to get to right to something that’s been on my mind for a while: Resident Evil 7.
Now, I’m not the biggest fan of horror games, but I do like the few I’ve played because I enjoy the challenge of seeing how scary things can get before it really freaks me out, and having to perform under absurd pressures.
I think of horror games like spicy food, I always want to see how much I can handle.
The Dead Space series is probably my favorite horror game series, and Until Dawn was quite unique, (and I can think of few things scarier than being put on a team with five mediocre players in an Overwatch Competitive match *shudders*).
RE7 (as I’ll refer to it from here on out) was an interesting game to tackle, and it did truly freak me out a couple times. The basic premise is that you’re a guy named Ethan searching for his wife Mia in a seemingly abandoned house when you’re captured by a crazy family, the Bakers, who are made seemingly invincible by this magic mold that has infected their minds, bodies, and entire estate. They then proceed to try to infect and/or kill you, and you must survive and save your wife in their madhouse.
The main reason I made it through was because the mysteries of the story kept me intrigued all the way until the end of the game. The developer really did a good job of pacing the reveals so you always want to find out just a little bit more.
RE7 had a few shortcomings, though, like the second half of the game becoming progressively less scary once you know all their tricks, or the fact that I personally consider it to be a less freaky version of the Silent Hills game that P.T. gloriously promised.
With that said, I have some changes that I would make to the game in order to keep it suspenseful and deliver a worthwhile finale. Let me be clear: I really like Resident Evil 7, but as with anything in this world, it could have been better. The best word to describe it is “suspenseful,” and I think I’ve devised alternate endings that are true to the spirit of the rest of the game.
*BEWARE OF SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT*
For me, the biggest let down was the endings of the game. There are two possible endings to the game: in the Happy Ending™ you cure your wife Mia of the infectious mold disease. In the “bad” ending, you “cure” Zoe, the infected daughter of the Baker family who betrayed the family to help you escape (don’t even get me started on how underdeveloped Zoe’s character is).
I was initially very excited to play both endings, but then I realized that they were both basically the exact same with minor changes to cutscenes. Neither really delivered as satisfying a conclusion to this fight as I was hoping for, and I saw a lot of wasted potential. And to prove that I’m not just an entitled gamer who thinks he could do better than the developers, I decided I’d rewrite both endings to be satisfying both gameplay- and story-wise.
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First, The Good Ending.
To start, I’d like to say that I think this game never needed two endings, especially given that both are basically the same. The only reason to have two endings is if they are drastically different. The most important thing, in my opinion, to creating successful divergent endings is to make the big decision that splits the narrative meaningful to the player. Choosing between saving your wife or a woman you hardly know is not a tough call; its only made uncertain by not knowing what you’re missing in the other ending.
This lack of stakes in the decision could have been fixed by letting us get to know Zoe much more during the entire game, so that it’s a choice between our friend and savior, or our lying, (sometimes) murderous wife.
In the Happy Ending™, you basically end up returning to the Baker house for a final showdown with Eveline, the little girl who’s been causing all the mold to infect the buildings and people in the game. You hallucinate attackers all through the house until you get to Eveline (Evie for short), and walk through the maelstrom of her mental tricks until you are close enough to inject her with a special necrotoxin meant to kill her and then…
It turns out Eveline was actually the Grandma in a wheelchair that’s been asleep for the entire game.
She then proceeds to vomit black mold all over you and turn into an enormous old lady face made of black tentacles with huge swirling tentacle arms that are somehow in the walls (I wonder if this game was a subliminal PSA about checking your house for mold…), and she tries to eat you as you shoot her face.
The final fight of the game sees you outside, unable to move, shooting up at Evie’s face until the Corporation that created her arrives. You defeat her through quicktime events that push you close enough to pick up a special gun that kills her instantly.
Basically, it was really easy, really weird, and not scary at all.
Up until this point, you’ve been collecting so much weaponry, ammo, and healing items that you hardly have to worry about any of the normal enemies killing you. The game loaded me up with so much stuff I couldn’t even carry it all. You spend the whole game in total control, using your wits and reflexes to survive, and by the end you’re ready for a big boss fight that forces you to think on your feet and use every tool the game has given you.
You’re a mother trucking badass, ready to take on the final challenge and make it say your name right before it shatters into a million moldy pieces. And what’s the payout?
Basically a boss fight with no control, and a boss you just shoot in the face with a random gun that literally appears out of nowhere?
No, excuse me Capcom, but that’s a terrible way to end a game like this.
If I could change it…
Honestly the best part about this ending is the reveal that the grandma is the big bad final boss. She’s pops up periodically throughout the game, always asleep in a wheelchair, so I assumed she was unimportant. When I figured out that she was really Eveline, I actually had to pause the game to laugh for a good minute.
I love this twist so much that I’ll keep it, but the subsequent fight has to change.
You’ll inject Eveline with the serum, and she’ll turn into the huge tentacle monster like normal, but now she infects the whole house, or straight up destroys it and surrounds you completely.
The idea is that the boss fight happens in five or so asymmetrical rooms that connect in a ring, all of which are made of the writhing tentacular bowels of Eveline. You have to run around the surprisingly big area destroying nodes to hurt Evie while she’s trying to crush you.
She periodically sends out lesser enemies to hurt you, which are made even more dangerous by the fact that they are silent underneath the music and gross sound effects of Evie all around you. This is made worse by the fact that she’s still in your head causing hallucinations, so you can’t always tell immediately if an enemy is real or not, or if anything you’re seeing is really there.
Eveline tries to crush you and you have to use all the weapons at your disposal and plenty of med packs in order to survive long enough to hurt her. After you destroy all the nodes, she moves in to swallow you, but the Corporation blows two holes in her and enter to try to set off a special explosive to kill her.
She immediately dismembers them, leaving you to snatch the explosive charge and run to the opposite side of the area to grab a detonator from the second team that entered.
Then you have to set it up directly on Evie’s heart, which was exposed by the Corp’s bombastic entrances. All while fending off Eveline and her minions.
Then you blow her up and save the day and live happily ever after. Yay! Except not, because the mold still has infected the whole area and a short cutscene reveals that, without Evie’s control, it’s spreading.
I feel like this ending is way more satisfying for this kind of game. It forces you to use all your skills and everything you’ve spent the game collecting, and gives far more control to the player to mess up and learn from mistakes. At its best, this is what RE7 forces the player to do: face their fear and suffer through the suspense. And this would be suspenseful as hell, trust me.
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As for The Bad Ending…
Just a small warning, this section does get a little graphic.
I have some major rewrites to this ending. Let me first explain what I was expecting from this ending after finishing the good ending.
The good ending is SO sweet and perfect that I thought it had to be a joke that would be in stark contrast with the bad ending. I thought we’d get a whole different section of the game after choosing to save Zoe. I thought it would explain a lot of the mysteries that the other ending had glossed over. I thought we’d get to understand the Baker family better.
Turns out it was exactly the same ending just without your wife surviving.
So! Instead, I want this ending to be as dark as possible with absolutely no hope and a completely different final act. This is a horror game, after all. Might as well turn it up to 11.
To start, you save Zoe but instead of her dying unnecessarily, she is taken over by Evie and tries to drown you. Then you end up back in the scary house playing as Mia, whom you abandoned for Zoe. Since you have no hope of escape without the serum to cure you, you’re trying to find a way to defend yourself and possibly kill the remaining family members (Zoe’s brother Lucas, and Evie).
You’ll wander into a new secluded section of the property, one that Zoe used to live in, and here is where more of Zoe’s backstory and life history will come to light. This is a perfect chance for answers, and in a perfect game we would already have gotten to know Zoe so we’d be curious to learn her history. This would contrast with the Good Ending where we learn more about Mia and her relation to Evie.
After collecting answers and guns, you’ll find out through Lucas that the person you played as for the entire game, Mia’s husband Ethan, is trapped and being infected with the virus. You go to find him in the barn, but it’s a trap; Lucas plays puppet master as he locks you in a large pen and forces you to fight Zoe. Zoe looks physically infected, as if she’s rotting from the inside as the virus takes over her body, and seems to have lost her free will as she mumbles about getting away (think partially lobotomized and under mind control).
You fight Zoe in the pen as Lucas causes all sorts of environmental hazards to hurt you and Zoe. There are electrical traps, falling barn debris, occasional infected minions, fire traps, fake exits that hurt you, and possible other hazards. These hurt both you and Zoe, but as Zoe takes damage, she gets more dangerous and she starts looking more and more monstrous and terrifying.
If you play your cards right and use the traps to your advantage, you manage to incapacitate Zoe. Then, one way or another, you are put into a scripted sequence where you short circuit an electrical trap and injure Lucas who’s been controlling things from above you.
You think you’re safe.
Of course you aren’t. Ethan then comes out of nowhere and lumbers towards you. It’s quickly revealed that he’s fully infected and he attacks you. You try to shoot him and escape, the player in full control, but it’s impossible to kill him or get out. Your movement speed gets slower as you tire of running away, and he eventually catches you. You can hear Evie ordering him to kill you, which he does in a very gruesome manner, and you get to witness in first person. Yay for horror!
Ethan then narrates a disturbing cutscene where he’s clearly gone insane from the infection and is just as deranged as the Bakers were, if not worse. It’s then implied through the visuals that Evie is going to spread the infection and make everyone in the world part of her twisted family.
So to recap, the infection is still controlled by Evie, Ethan is infected, Mia is dead, and Zoe and her brother are entirely under Evie’s control as she prepares to expand and take more lives.
Now THAT is the dark ending that RE7 needed, and honestly I’m somewhat disappointed that they even put two endings in the game if they were going to be so insignificant to the way things played out.
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Anyway, that’s just what I would have liked to see from this game. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I wouldn’t suggest it for people that aren’t into suspense, gore, survival horror, or who have a fear of mold.
I know it’s been a hot minute since I posted anything, but I have a lot of things in the works that I cannot wait to share, so stay tuned for more.
Hasta la vista, bebe.