Demos have been a long standing way to market a game, from the days I would steal demo discs from the magazine stand in Safeway, cheeky bastard I know, up to the recent “playable teasers.” Calling a demo a playable teaser came with P.T. for the sadly cancelled Silent Hills. A way to introduce the world, feel and possibly the mechanics of the game, without revealing any of the actual game itself. Resident Evil 7 took notes with their playable teaser Beginning Hour, however the teaser falls short to capture my attention the way P.T. did.
Beginning Hour’s setting, lighting and sound design give the game a creepy vibe and deliver the feeling that you really shouldn’t be there. Quickly prompting you to escape the house, you’re set on a cautious but quick attempt to vacate the premises, finding clues to aid in your escape, discover why you were there and wonder what exactly do I need this doll finger for? The first play through shows an evident return to the horror genre for the Resident Evil franchise and makes me excited to play through the next installment when its released. However the short coming with this trailer is that the scripted events lose their effectiveness and the cut scenes that repeat themselves become stale quickly.
Comparing P.T. and Beginning Hour is hard not to do. While both games begin similarly the differences quickly become apparent after the first play through. Beginning Hour has the player restart the experience each time they come to a certain end point, which begins feeling tedious as there are several cutscenes to go through or skip before you’re waking up on the floor again and looking for clues from the beginning. P.T., however, kept the mystery and tension alive as you ran through the same hallway over and over again looking for clues, only restarting on the floor of the first room if you were caught by the ghost haunting this hall. The continuous loop in P.T. keep the immersion of the game experience, there is no real “end” until you reach the full win condition. This kept me constantly trying to figure out why I was there and presented the feeling of being trapped. Beginning Hour is definitely creepy, but after the first time I became comfortable in the surroundings.
The Beginning Hour Trailer is definitely worth a play through if you enjoy horror games. Playing it over and over to solve the puzzles of the game however after a while just becomes tedious and frustrating as your progress is reset each time and you’re being welcomed to the family repeatedly, son. However, while Beginning Hour does make me want to just go back and play through P.T. all over again it does do its job in building hype for Resident Evil 7. I look forward to finding out more about the new installment to one of my favorite franchises.
TL;DR: Beginning Hour is really creepy the first time around and sets a great tone for Resident Evil 7, but is no where as creepy as continuous play of P.T.