Resident Evil 7‘s first DLC chunk is out. There’s a new game mode called Ethan Must Die which is almost exactly what it sounds like, a desperate bid to survive the until dawn in Nightmare, and a self contained puzzle called Bedroom. Bedroom is great. Bedroom should have been in the full game.
In it you, now playing Clancy the hapless cameraman from the first Resi 7 demo, are trapped in a bedroom at the Baker mansion. Specifically, you’re manacled to the bed whilst the room is lit by candlelight. This combined with the fact that the DLC as a whole is called Banned Footage might suggest we’re in some sort of Resident Evil: After Dark situation, wherein a woman’s mouth says ‘Yes!’ while her eyes are saying ‘Bedroom!’. In fact you’re just confronted with Marguerite Baker, whose mouth says ‘Eat this bowl of hot offal’ while her eyes say ‘I’m going to fucking murder you’.
It’s a compact little escape-the-room game that’ll take about an hour or so, though sadly we already know that even if Clancy escapes that room specifically he won’t escape the Bakers in general. It’s as tense and unsettling as the first few hours of the main game. Marguerite treats you with a sickly sweet niceness, despite presenting you with a meal of unspecified grey organs or dead rat that’ll make you violently sick if you eat any, and insists she’ll be back to check on you soon. From that point on any wayward creak you hear, even if it’s made by your own feet, is cause for mild palpitations.
Getting out of the room requires you to solve a mix of puzzles and riddles, some of which you won’t get the necessary tools to solve until later on. You see a cork, and find a corkscrew, but even if you knew how to get the corkscrew you’re not entirely sure why you need to get the cork out of the wall. Even the cutlery Marguerite brings you must be utilised in ways you probably weren’t expecting — though this does raise questions as to why she’s bringing you stuff you need to get out, unless it’s some kind of test, or she actually wants you to escape, which is exactly the short of bullshit I wouldn’t put past this family.
There’s an additional, horribly reactive layer to getting away, though, because Marguerite will indeed come back to check on you whenever you do something that makes a lot of noise. If she finds any evidence that you’ve been out of bed you’re liable to get a swarm of flies to the face, or something equally horrible. This means that if she’s yowling her way back up the stairs, you’ve mere seconds to scramble around the room putting everything back where it was before you started, including not only shutting drawers and doors but replacing literally anything else that you might have moved. Insert your own jokes about the cleanliness of your teenage bedroom vs. your mother here. It’s very tense
Bedroom is in fact so good that I’m annoyed that it wasn’t in the full game. The biggest issue I had with Resident Evil 7 is that, while the earlier sections in the house were as brilliant as they were horrifying the final act left the house, trading in the atmosphere and horror to become a run and gun shooter. While I’ve seen others saying they liked the final section, and saw it as changing up the game to keep it fresh over the full play time. I just thought it wasn’t anywhere near as good. For me the game ends as you get on a boat to leave the Baker House. On balance I’d rather the last bit weren’t in it and the game was eight-ish hours long.
Given that, and given that Bedroom is great, I’d have preferred it if Bedroom had been an extra hour in the game. Who needs an extra hour wandering around a ship later on? And to anyone suggesting that it would be boring because there are already some self-contained puzzle room experiences, and that adding more is overkill on the Baker house, I say: screw you, the Baker house is excellent. It’s tense and horrible and the walls feel oppressively close, and unquestionably the best bit of the game. All of the DLC is set in the house, because everyone knows this. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Bedroom was going to be in the game, like the other video tape sections, as a way to teach Ethan how to find the secret door in that room, and then was cut in favour of fannying about in some mines.
If there are little episodes that are of a similarly high quality in all the DLC then that’s great. They will be played and enjoyed, in that weird ‘God this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me but I must keep going’ way that good horror things are. But I think with every passing one I will resent the ending of Resi 7 a tiny bit more.