10:00 am EDT, January 3, 2019

How ‘Resident Evil 7’ speedruns make a scary game even scarier

If you thought that the Baker residence was creepy enough as is, try watching one of the many intriguing Resident Evil 7 speedruns to really get your pulse racing.

In October, I wrote about two topics relevant to this piece: How horror video games are more terrifying than horror movies, along with a list of games that were too terrifying for me to complete them. Despite my aversion to playing horror games, I’ve found a renewed interest in them while watching Resident Evil 7 speedruns. In an odd sense, Resident Evil 7 has somehow crossed a threshold where my brain found it so scary, that it was no longer scary. Go figure!

The best part about watching Resident Evil 7 speedruns are the finesse needed to craft the menu items. These menu item craftings make it a PC-only speedrunning game, which deviates from the tried and true controller speedruns of platformers like Super Mario 64 or RPG games like Pokémon Yellow. If your cursor isn’t waiting on the spot of the healing item or weapon that you need, you could instantly die, ending the speedrun prematurely.

The next best thing about all Resident Evil 7 speedruns are the tactics. You can trick the game into despawning the Molded, but it doesn’t always work as planned. Walking through a door and closing it is what tells the game that the Molded will not be able to catch you, so in the interest of saving space for other active assets, Resident Evil 7 melts the mutated creatures into the floor.

When you’re watching a Resident Evil 7 speedrun, you may be thinking that the player will know every step of the game by heart, therefore making things like Molded and item crafting a cinch. The funny thing is, the game often has a mind of its own, with some Molded either refusing to despawn the first time via the door method, or items seemingly moving to a bad place in the limited inventory on their own. Yes, sometimes, even the Resident Evil 7 speedrunners scream.

There exist some pretty interesting categories of this story-heavy game, starting from the vanilla Any %, to the more complicated knife-only Madhouse Mode. I’d highly recommend watching the latter, as the speedrunner that holds the knife-only Madhouse world record seems wildly undiscovered based on the amazing work that he puts into the category.

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Sure, Resident Evil 7 speedruns are innately terrifying to watch, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be a little bit funny. During the sequence where Marguerite traps the player in a wasp-ridden pit as she shouts obscenities down to you, there is actually a timer running that will make it so that the wasps miraculously despawn. This timer makes for a pretty dull part of the speedrun, but is altogether hilarious with LeWhoZeHurr’s moving commentary.

The DLC modes offer a lot in terms of challenge when it comes to Resident Evil 7 speedruns. In particular, the Ethan Must Die category is very stressful to watch, as the difficulty of the Molded is cranked up so high so as to almost always kill you in one hit. You start with a knife in this run, and can be killed by any given exploding box as you attempt to piece together weapons to take down Margurite in the Greenhouse.

You will be able to take one item back from your previous death by visiting the place of your murder, but if you don’t do so in the exact following speedrun, you’ll be out the flamethrower or shotgun that you ever so luckily landed in your last run. It’s more of a grindy speedrun, making it one that is fun to watch happen live. The star rating system is such a kick in the face when a 3 star box blows up in your face, hopefully teaching you a lesson for future speedruns.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Resident Evil 7 speedruns, let alone speedruns as a genre. If you’re new to the format and want to learn more, check out ScottTheWoz’s explanation as to why they’re so much fun to watch. As Scott describes, I find it intriguing to watch players beat a game within such a small time frame that of which took me days, maybe even months to beat.

For now, watch out for exploding boxes, despawn the molded, and whatever you do, keep your cursor locked on the proper inventory space. Take one misstep, and your perfect speedrun will end.

Fans of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard can look forward to the Resident Evil 2 Remake coming out for PS4 Xbox One, and PC on January 24, 2019.

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