Not a Hero is a free downloadable episode for people who already own Resident Evil 7 on any of it’s available formats.
Due to the short nature of the Episode and the fact it comes after the main plot of RE7, it is going to be impossible for this review to be completely spoiler free. I can tell you here however, it is worth picking up.
Not a Hero tells the short story of how series staple Chris Redfield gets caught up in the Resident Evil 7 plot line and on the side of Umbrella. The free episode sticks very closely to what made RE7 good, but sometimes to it’s detriment.
During the ending of RE7 we see Chris Redfield jump out of an Umbrella helicopter and he distinctly leaves out his first name while introducing himself. Not only that, when he takes off his helmet he looks similar to the franchise hero but something wasn’t quite right, including his voice. All of this threw the community in to a spin for 10 long months, expecting twists, turns and identity reveals that would make M. Night Shyamalan blush. However the reality of this is just a single line of dialogue in the game, which glosses over the situation in such a blasé fashion I couldn’t help but laugh.
Now that is out the way, the actual gameplay itself will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played RE7 before. While the spooky theme has a military spin (this works very well) it is essentially the same gameplay loop that you saw in the original release. You creep around dark maze-like locations, you collect items allowing you access to different areas, you are outnumbered/outgunned by your enemies, you find ammo in packs of 3 rather than 30 all the while being taunted by a Baker family member.
In previous entries Chris is known for punching boulders and lifting enemies way over his head. While he has his brutish strength here, the new enemy types aren’t as susceptible to it as you would think. You have to rely on clever resource management, crowd control and a bit of brain power to get through the majority of this episode which like the main game, culminates in an all out firefight.
It’s a shame that this free content and additional development time didn’t result in something more experimental that strayed further from the formula in RE7, but if you’re going to copy any of the recent RE games you could do a lot worse than 7.
It is however only the structure of NaH that is a rehash; there is a lot of new content here with new weapons, characters, locations, mechanics and puzzles all getting their chance to shine in the episodes 90 minute run time. I was pleasantly surprised at how much new content is here, especially from a developer who is renowned for their asset recycling.
The sound design is as strong as the main game with guns (or fists) being appropriately punchy and the voice actors do a sound job, whether they are new or reprising their roles. The guy who voices Chris Redfield is not his original actor (from Revelations, 5/6) but a new actor who sounds like is doing an impression. It is a good impression but the whole Redfield character is quite uncanny compared to the original with his slightly revised look, voice and attitude.
Not a Hero is certainly worth a play, the content is free for all owners of RE7 (it’s even PSVR compatible). I can’t say that I have been left super impressed or disappointed by the DLC as it feels so similar to the main game. If you liked RE7 and wanted more of it then definitely give this a download but if you don’t, you aren’t missing out on anything ground breaking.
Not a Hero was released December 12th, this review is based on the PS4 version.