Resident Evil 7 promised us Not A Hero what feels like a very long time ago but it’s here now and at the low, low price of zero pounds I don’t feel like I can complain that much. There are quite a few people who skipped the paid DLC Banned Footage 1 and 2 as there have been a lot of great releases this year and many folks didn’t feel like reinstalling Resident Evil 7 for what looked like mini-games. The two new releases, Not a Hero and End of Zoe, look a lot more attractive as they continue the main game’s story and, if you were still on the fence, getting one of them for free is a great way to seal the deal.
For those who didn’t know, Resident Evil 7: Not A Hero was supposed to follow close on the heels of the main game’s release back in Spring of this year. But Not A Hero was outsourced to developers, Hexadrive and they appear to have run into some serious productions issues which set back the release until just last week. Now development delays have a nasty habit of resulting in critically flawed games. But this time around it feels like the extra care and attention has made for a satisfying piece of free content.
Now I should start with the obvious: This is a pretty short expansion. It took me about an hour or so to complete and there wasn’t much in the gameplay in terms of locations to explore. This is a small story designed to close the loop of the main game and let you know what happened to Lucas after Ethan escapes him. I actually love that (in a free piece of content) as it allowed the developers to craft a tight, coherent action story.
You take on the role of the legendary Chris Redfield who is now working with Umbrella (on BSSA orders) to essentially form a counter bioterrorism unit. It seems Umbrella have reformed as a PMC dedicated to wiping out the mistakes of the company and Chris has reluctantly agreed to help them. This leads Chris to the Baker estate where he rescues Ethan at the end of the main game. The DLC has you chase down Lucas in the salt mines to ensure that he, and the bioweapons data, do not escape.
Long-time fans will be happy to note that Chris solves every problem placed before him by having giant muscles. From punching moulded enemies into oblivion to smashing his way out of traps, Chris is still a hulk. You are given a semi-automatic shotgun, a heavily modified samurai edge pistol and a sweet combat knife to get through this DLC. Along with some grenades, that should just about see you through normal mode.
This expansion is action horror, with an emphasis on the action. Chris is all about clearing large rooms of enemies and fighting through corridors of moulded critters rather than slowly creeping around a scary house. The finest feature of this expansion is the boss encounters. They offer a lot more room to manoeuvre and take a huge amount of damage so it becomes incredibly tense as you watch your ammo slowly dwindle and realise that every shot counts.
I feel as though the DLC hasn’t suffered at all for being outsourced by Capcom to a separate developer. If I hadn’t looked it up I honestly wouldn’t have known. It is technically proficient, graphically beautiful and still as atmospheric as the main game in places. The background environmental noises are very similar to those that enemies will make as they mill about which keeps you on edge as you traverse the mines and did, more than once, give me a fright as I turned a corner.
There are a couple of new enemies in the game which require special ammunition to kill as well as new mini moulded enemy that basically behaves like Head Crabs in Half-Life. These little critters offered the most annoyances to me as it seemed impossible to stab them with Chris’s knife but they were also pretty well used in an infinitely spawning moment as Chris waits for a lift. So they’re overall a good addition in my book.
Overall this is a fine addition to Resident Evil 7 with an interesting take on expanding the action elements of the gameplay. It’s enjoyable all the way through but the boss battles, in particular, are very tense and ultimately satisfying fights. Given that this is free content I would heartily recommend it to anyone who already owns Resident Evil 7. Don’t expect to play it multiple times though.