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iam8bit: Resident Evil Escape Experience – Review

After going through London’s Resident Evil 7 promotional event, we were lucky enough to be in New York whilst the US pop-up was running. What version did we prefer?

Ticket Price: $41.99

Address: Roy Arias Stages, 777 8th Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10036

Website: https://iam8bit.com

“Not the fucking mannequin!”

We were towards the end of the game, swinging open the door to the final area. And standing right in the doorway was one of Resident Evil 7’s mannequins. In a nice change of pace from the Resident Evil Experience in London, this was one of just a few references to the latest game with the majority of the event looking back at the first two games in the series.

That nostalgic element was something that we noted was missing from the London event. Whilst we absolutely loved that experience, Resident Evil 7 wasn’t yet released when it ran so we had little connection to the scenes and characters at the time. Whereas Resident Evil Escape Experience was recognisably old-school Resident Evil. And, if the locations (ranging from the Spencer Mansion to the Raccoon City Police Station) didn’t immerse you in the world of the earlier games, the classic soundtrack pumping through the speakers sealed the deal. It was the game brought to life.

This faithfulness to the series went beyond the cosmetic too with the puzzles also feeling very much in tune with the franchise. We particularly enjoyed the puzzle with the statue head in the Spencer Mansion room. Statues are omnipresent in the original Resident Evil and the puzzle centering around this bust involved some physicality which, at the risk of flogging a dead horse, was very reminiscent of the games!

The big difference between this event and the London one was that this was a pure escape room experience. There were no actors, scripted scenes or theatrical elements to this game. That’s not to say that the threat of death wasn’t ever-present. Throughout our time in the room, there was banging on the walls and triggered effects that reminded us that we were in a Resident Evil attraction! Whilst we’re obviously a bit more seasoned as far as scare attractions go, some of our team (this was a mixed group room as seems to be the way US rooms operate) were unnerved by certain events that occurred – including the person who shouted out this review’s leading quote! We’d say that there’s more value in this event if you’re a Resident Evil fan than someone looking for scares. They’re present and accounted for but very intermittent and used more as a punctuation mark to points of progress in the game.

Resident Evil 7 Promotional Banner

Liked:

Yeah, you probably already know what we’re going to say here! But it was really well themed to the franchise and felt respectful of it. If a future event brought together this reverence of the franchise with the interactivity of the London experience, you would have perfection! The two events compliment each other very well.

Combining the Resident Evil franchise with an escape room-style attraction makes perfect sense considering how puzzle heavy the series is. And we think that maybe licensed attractions are better suited using the escape game format as you get to spend quality time in the IP’s world. Compare that to the licensed haunts of Halloween Horror Nights where we were rushed through each attraction with such speed that we were barely able to appreciate the theming.

Disliked:

Obviously, we know the franchise in and out. If you didn’t, it’s possible that you may look upon this event with unkinder eyes. Especially if you’re a seasoned escaper as the puzzles tended to be quite simplistic and felt quite repetitive. We were totally aware of this whilst playing but our familiarity of the series meant that we’re used to (and expected) the sorts of puzzles that the game presented us with. It’s still a really good escape room but bear in mind that it’s a pop-up attraction so don’t expect the bells and whistles or complexity that come with permanent games.

And we would’ve liked to have seen at least one zombie! Resident Evil without zombies isn’t Resident Evil! In all fairness, they weren’t ignored but their presence was completely ‘off-screen’, relegated mostly to the audio track. The addition of a ‘live’ zombie would have topped off the experience for us, especially as it succeeded in every other way.

Our final comment would be that, at $42 per person, the event was overpriced considering that it was a basic pop-up room. For what the game was, $30 was the maximum that should have been charged.

iam8bit: Resident Evil Escape Experience
  • Originality
  • Scare Factor
  • Staff
  • Execution
  • Value for Money
4

Summary

Resident Evil Escape Experience was a great time - if you enjoy the video game series, especially the older entries, you'll find a lot to love here. And if you're into escape games, it's worth checking out - just be cognizant of the limitations that come with temporary attractions. Now we just need someone to create a permanent Resident Evil attraction!!

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