It wasn’t going to take long before the leaks and spoilers started coming through for Resident Evil 7. One of these spoilers revealed the difficulty levels for the game, which according to sources include Casual, Normal and Madhouse.
The Casual difficulty will offer regenerating health, as well as unlimited opportunities to save and more frequent checkpoints for players. Also, AI will be much easier to deal with, dishing out far less damage and showing little signs of intelligence. Normal difficulty meanwhile is a bit of a step up, giving less checkpoints, more dangerous AI but still offering unlimited saves.
Then, there’s the Madhouse difficulty. With its change of direction that is so well documented for this next entry in the survival horror franchise, there have already been assumptions made that this could possibly be the most difficult game in the series so far. After all, Capcom’s Hajime Horiuchi told Xbox Magazine in an interview that Resident Evil 7 will be intentionally more challenging than earlier games in order to bring back a bigger aspect of fear, stating, “The difficulty being a little higher than in previous titles is definitely intentional.”
So a little on the Madhouse difficulty first. What we know so far is that it will not offer the option of consistent checkpoints, and takes away the comfort of regenerating health. In fact, the only time dwellers of the Baker residence get any respite is when finding cassette tapes, which will serve a similar service as ink ribbons did early on in the series in order to save the game. Finally, as expected from the differences between the other two difficulties, AI will be faster, more powerful and even more intelligent than before.
What Madhouse is offering is a great service to fans and seasoned gamers alike. Its a nod to veterans of Resident Evil with its retro-style method of saving the game, and a difficulty level that will challenge those who like their horror experience with an added fear of imminent death looming around each corner.
So if Resident Evil 7 wasn’t going to be the most difficult game in the franchise so far already, then Madhouse mode will certainly push it over that line. As opposed to taking control of a soldier, police officer or someone with far more experience with firearms to take down a small country, upcoming protagonist Ethan will have plenty to worry about, as a civilian simply in search of his missing wife.
Capcom’s intentions for Resident Evil 7 is to bring a sense of fear and anxiety to players, and they can’t necessarily do that without the prospect of any enemy within the game having a realistic chance of killing you, even in a one on one situation. Gone are the days it seems of simply shrugging at the sight of a single zombie before peppering it with your weapon of choice. Resident Evil 7 looks set to bring the challenge to the most seasoned of players, and Madhouse will take it that one step further.