Resident Evil 7 VR mod review: Pretty scary and a little messed up
This week, a long-awaited PC VR mod for Resident Evil 7 was released. Does it deliver what it promises?
Resident Evil 7 VR is one of the best VR games of all time. The downside: Since its release, the title can only be experienced in virtual reality with the outdated Playstation VR. Capcom has yet to release a graphically superior PC VR version.
Developer Praydog provides a remedy. Known for his PC VR mods for Resident Evil 2 and 3, he wants to repeat the success with Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village. The corresponding PC VR mods were released this week in a greatly improved version.
For this review, I tried Resident Evil 7. I had played through the original in 2017 on Playstation VR and still have
fond scary memories of it. Experiencing Resident Evil 7 on PC in high resolution, for the first time with virtual hands and a simulated body? My anticipation was great.
But was it justified?
The installation: A bumpy start
The installation seemed trivial at first, but turned out to be messy. The official instructions are written for a different Resident Evil and it's not clear from them which version you should install. The default version or the recommended Nightly build, the OpenVR or the OpenXR version? I even had to install a mod manager for a small mod appendage that optimizes the Oculus controller's button mapping.
After I have successfully started the game, the first shock follows: I get 25 to 30 frames per second! Well, my GTX 1080 Ti has its best days behind it. But on Discord, even PC users with a GTX 3080 report problems reaching a smooth 90 frames per second.
I open the graphics menu and begin the trial-and-error process. I turn off complex post-processing effects, SSAO, and other CPU-intensive graphics gimmicks. Eventually, I reach more than 45 frames per second. Thanks to Valve's motion smoothing, the frame rate is artificially increased to 90 frames per second. That's not perfect, but it's enough.
To get an absolutely smooth 90 frames per second or more, I would have to play at a much lower resolution than the native resolution of Meta Quest 2. But then Resident Evil 7 wouldn't look much better than on Playstation VR.
New hand interactions
Once the worst performance problems are out of the way - and that took a whopping 90 minutes - we can finally get started. The textures and details in the interiors are pleasing and are more beautiful than ever in the PC VR version. Mia looks terrifyingly real when she jumps down my throat for the first time.
For the first time I see my own hands in Resident Evil. However, I can't do much with them. The interactions with objects are mostly pre-rendered animations, so I can mostly just watch what my avatar does. Later, when I get my hands on a firearm, I'll be able to aim manually for the first time, and not just with my eyes. That should be a decent improvement over the original.
Praydog has also programmed new interactions: You can heal yourself by reaching over your shoulder and pouring a liquid over your hand, or block attacks by holding your hands up. I haven't gotten that far to try it out myself, though.
Not for the faint of heart - or a weak stomach
Also new is the virtual body, which adapts to your movements and allows you to look down at yourself. How much additional immersion this brings - I'm not convinced. After all, the original wasn't bad just because this feature was missing.
Speaking of movement: As far as I know, the mod does not support artificial, step-by-step turns. If you want to play sitting down and can't stand fluid turns, you should keep your hands off this mod. Everyone else can physically turn if necessary, if the cable allows it or Air Link is an option.
An imposition for the stomach are the quite frequent cutscenes, in which the game takes control of the camera and moves it according to whim. Neither artificial tunnel vision nor switching to a virtual screen or similar is an option here. This can lead to severe motion sickness.
This also spoiled the fun of Resident Evil 7 for me.
Conclusion: For PC VR enthusiasts who like to experiment
A lot of work has undoubtedly gone into the PC VR mod. Nevertheless, it is free of charge. The developer Praydog deserves a lot of praise for this.
PC VR mods have their pitfalls and are not suitable for everyone. That is also the case here: If you want to experience Resident Evil 7 in its full PC VR glory, you need a high-end computer, the will to optimize and a strong stomach. This Resident Evil 7 VR does not (yet) come close to the PSVR original, PC performance or not.
If you would like to support Praydog's work, you can do so via Patreon. Help can be found on the Flatscreen to VR Modding Community Discord under > Resident Evil VR > re-support. But make sure you read the installation guide first.
For more top-notch PC VR mods, check out our article Resident Evil, Cyberpunk, Minecraft - VR mod list for gaming hits.
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