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Resident Evil 7 biohazard: Banned Footage Vol. 1
Score: 89%
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Survival Horror/Tower Defense/Puzzle

Return to the Baker Home:
Resident Evil 7 biohazard: Banned Footage Vol. 1 is the first set of DLC for Resident Evil 7. There are 3 different games included in the set, with a nice variety of gameplay. You’ll probably remember the character Clancy from a tape that Ethan finds in the main game. In the tape, the ill-fated Clancy and his crew explore what they think is an abandoned, maybe haunted house for an internet show called "Swamp Gators." In the main game, you are given the hint that Clancy wasn’t just another random victim (in a note found early in the main game, Clancy is noted as something other than "L," while everyone else on the list is noted as "dead" or "turned," and later you find a tape that confirms Clancy’s final fate), but this DLC shows just how close Clancy came to escaping the mansion.

What You Get:
There are two "episode" style games, and then there is the endlessly replayable Ethan Must Die game. Bedroom is an episode where Clancy wakes up, handcuffed to a bed. Marguerite walks in carrying a tray loaded with a disgusting soup. Clancy has to find a way out, but noise attracts Marguerite, and she’ll unleash hell if she suspects you’ve been out of bed. This episode is a collection of puzzles and a sort of memory game. Unlike the main game, if you take an object such as a painting off the wall, you have to be ready to return it. Otherwise, mom will notice something is off. So the routine is to figure out the puzzle, but always have a plan to get back into bed.

Bedroom was quite enjoyable, and offers a different kind of tension than what you’ll find in RE7. The only drawback is that you almost have to fail. The puzzles aren’t set up in a way that you can figure things out the first time through (you might get lucky, but that doesn’t mean the same thing). There are certain things in the room that you can’t put back as they were, and you simply have to know in advance that you should not touch them. So that potentially requires multiple playthroughs, which might be frustrating. I still enjoyed even this aspect, as it was interesting to see all the possible failure cutscenes and the different things that would happen to poor Clancy if he was a complete klutz in the worst possible time and place (sorry Clancy).

The next "episode" puts Clancy in a sort of tower-defense type of game called Nightmare. He finds himself in the basement (basement - hey I thought this was Louisiana) after escaping Marguerite’s room, and now is pursued by Jack. You’ll have to survive until morning (measured by 1 hour waves) by fashioning weapons, tools, and traps. You’ll have to repeat a rather frantic circuit through the area, all while being pursued by the "molded" monsters, and occasionally papa Jack. You’ll pick up supplies at one station, and then run to the workbench to create more ammo or upgrade your guns. This can be a fun episode, especially when you are trying to work your way up to a really good weapon, which will help you beat more monsters, which will in turn help you upgrade weapons and traps, which will… well, you get it. Adapting the mechanics of RE7 into this type of game is rather clever. After a few rounds, it might even help you temper your fear factor and tackle the main game more effectively.

Finally, Ethan Must Die is a bit more of a roguelike take on RE7. Ethan runs into randomized enemies throughout the house, as well as random weapons and items. Die, and you have a chance to recover the previous Ethan’s items if you can find the spot where he perished.

Worth It?:
Resident Evil 7 was intense, and packed full of skin-crawling moments and the tension of a good horror game. At times, you had to fight yourself to get yourself to move on to the next awful part of the mansion. This DLC represents 3 different takes on the core monsters and mechanics. Somehow, when you are faced with pure puzzles like Bedroom, even though Marguerite is still terrifying, the feel is different. Somehow you know this is just one big puzzle to solve, so you’ll be okay. And somehow, the pressure to survive is not quite as intense in Ethan Must Die. Don’t get me wrong, the point is to beat the level, but somehow it feels less terrifying when you know you might be able to run back and pick up your stuff. You’re supposed to bite the dust pretty frequently. Again, somehow it’s okay now.

Admittedly, you’re not going to get much replay value out of Bedroom (unless you just want to see what happens to poor Clancy and all the different the ways he can fail), but Bedroom and Nightmare are important for other reasons. They serve to flesh out what happened in the Baker house before (and possibly during the time) Ethan arrived. You get an idea about the torture and horror that the family inflicted on countless victims before Ethan. You start to realize that other people came agonizingly close to surviving the house. It’s a small thing, but it still builds on the overall story.

It’s hard to say whether you’re going to love Banned Footage Vol. 1. You’re getting three different flavors of game here, so if you only like one, you’re going to be want for more. I find the spin on the existing Baker family characters and the feel of experiencing the house from a different perspective to be more than enough to warrant a buy on this DLC. Keeping in line with the Capcom style of the main game, Nightmare and Ethan Must Die will reward multiple playthroughs with better weapons and bonuses. However, I’d warn that it may feel short on content, if you’re not into replaying for the sake of glory and trophies.

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