Note: This Cloud Version of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was tested on 100MB UW Broadband over WiFi and wired ethernet cable, along with a 5G mobile connection.
The launch of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard back in 2017 was a revelation for fans of the franchise. After the lukewarm reception to Resident Evil 6 and decidedly poor reception to Umbrella Corps, Capcom realised that it had to try something different. With its creepy mansion, limited ammo, and exceptionally dangerous enemies, Resident Evil 7 was both a loving homage to the series’ roots and a brave new direction that would significantly inform its immediate future.
You play as new protagonist Ethan Winters who travels to Dulvey, Louisiana to track down his missing wife. Upon his arrival, he finds that the Baker family residing in the mansion are slightly unhinged, demonstrating a profound disregard for their own safety while striving to kill anyone who happens to stumble upon their home. It’s a fascinating direction for a series that previously largely focused on nameless monstrosities, drawing more inspiration from Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead than George A. Romero’s Living Dead franchise.
Despite the new narrative direction and first-person perspective, however, Resident Evil 7 feels like coming home for survival horror fans. You’ll spend a good deal of time carefully exploring the Baker mansion, finding keys, unlocking new areas, and combining items like herbs and ammunition to help you survive. The game ramps up the action towards the end of the seven-eight-hour experience, but it does it in a way that feels sensible, keeping the overall tone of the game reasonably grounded throughout — at least compared to the bombast seen elsewhere in the series.
Unfortunately, this all will mean little to Switch owners, because the cloud version of Resident Evil 7 — as we sampled it — is an absolute trainwreck. After the previous cloud releases demonstrated reasonable playability (bar a few niggling moments in Resident Evil 3), this latest effort feels like the bad punchline to an even worse joke. It’s horrendous, and this is all while achieving the strongest signal possible via Wi-Fi and ethernet connection. Considering this game has been available via the cloud in Japan since 2018, it comes as even more of a surprise.
The most egregious problem is undoubtedly the lag and stuttering that occurs during regular gameplay. Visually, it all looks about as good as you could possibly expect from game being streamed to your console, with minimal artefacting, but key narrative moments were ruined for us by obscene lag, stuttering, and screen tearing. It became borderline unplayable at times. Additionally, load times are ludicrously long at the best of times, with our worst example of this lasting upwards of 20-30 minutes before we even got to the main menu. Again, all this is with a consistently strong signal our end and having had good experiences with recent Switch cloud releases RE8 and RE2.
The fact that Resident Evil 7 performed so poorly when other cloud entries have been comparatively strong really brings home the fact that, although mileage may vary, these issues are completely out of your control. On our evidence, there’s simply no way we can recommend Resident Evil 7 to Switch owners, even if it’s the only option available. It’s a great game utterly ruined by awful performance, and yet more evidence for cloud gaming skeptics that the tech just isn’t yet consistent enough to be viable.
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