When Resident Evil 7 was announced during June's E3 it was very much shown as a poster boy for PlayStation VR. We even got to try the demo level using Sony's forthcoming headset during the trade show - much to our underwear's dismay.

However, we did have a couple of issues with it. After the event it was revealed to be a tech demo rather than an actual element of the finished game. It also made us feel a bit queasy - not because of any horror or gore, but because of a control method that wasn't best suited to virtual reality. It was at odds with the format and we weren't the only ones needing a bit of a breather afterwards.

Thankfully, Capcom told us at Gamescom that the controls will be tweaked ahead of the game's release at the start of next year, to make for a more comfortable VR experience. And, as we found out during the German trade show, the game will also be entirely playable without strapping a headset to your noggin.

That's how we played the latest demo level, in 2D on a TV. What's more, this specific section will make it into the game - as a sub-game at the very least.

We're still waiting to see what the main Resident Evil experience will be. We have been told that your main character will wield a gun and possibly be in third-person, but little else. Instead, Lantern - the Gamescom reveal - was another playable "found tape", much like the E3 segment.

Throughout the main game, you will find tapes that, when played on an ancient, in-game VHS deck, provide interactive historical sequences that can yield important information that can help you progress. You don't have to play them, they are optional, but you'd be a fool not to as they are something quite different for the franchise.

For a start, they are played in first person and generally (spoiler alert) feature a character that meets an unfortunate and grisly demise.

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In Lantern, the protagonist is a girl who is being chased by a crazed old woman. You have to escape her gaze and clutches by creeping around a dilapidated, Blair Witch-style hovel. It's scary, but somewhat less so when not wearing a fully immersive VR headset.

The sequence was short but importantly we encountered puzzles and the inventory system, which reminded us more of the original Resident Evils than more recent efforts. We'd go as far to say the whole demo echoed the tense, slow pace of the game that started the whole ball rolling. And that's what gives us hope for the final release.

First Impressions

If we're being honest, both Resident Evil 7 demos we've played so far seem to be very low resolution graphically, which is odd. It might be an effect though, layered on to make the video look retro and downgraded - after all, they are meant to be VHS tapes. We suspect the final game levels will look different.

We're also not convinced that many will want to play it using a PlayStation VR headset. Regardless of any technical caveats, it is likely to be a claustrophobic, tense affair that could leave players gibbering messes.

But that's where Capcom's strategy of including both the VR and conventional versions of the game in a single purchase should pay off. What's more, you will be able to pick up your save games using either format. So if you do find the VR experience too intense, you can carry straight on in 2D.

Resident Evil 7 will be released at the end of January 2017. Hopefully we'll soon get to see what the overarching gameplay will consist of.

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