Resident Evil Escape Experience (Review)

A disappointing Resident Evil escape room from CAPCOM and iam8bit. We can’t recommend it to either escape room enthusiasts or Resident Evil fans (and we are both).

Story and Background

This was an official Resident Evil-branded escape room. The original version of this was launched in Los Angeles as a promotion for the video game, Resident Evil VII. They re-ran the escape room across various cities in the United States. This review is based on our experience at the San Francisco location.

The story was somewhat of a cop-out, but it worked. You are test subjects going through some sort of Umbrella Corporation training that is meant to evaluate one’s puzzle solving and teamwork skills.

Quick facts:

  • Theme: Creepy biohazard house (Resident Evil)
  • Atmosphere: Creepy and dimly lit. Mildly scary.
  • Good for beginners: Yes!
  • Play with strangers: Extremely likely, if you didn’t buy all 6 tickets in your slot.
  • Location: Currently in San Francisco, Portland, Boston, New York, Austin, and Chicago. Formerly in Los Angeles.
  • Players: 6 tickets per slot
  • Price: $42 per person in San Francisco and New York (including Eventbrite fees). $37 in other cities.
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★
  • Booking: Tickets are basically sold out in San Francisco, Boston, and Austin. Tickets still available in Portland, New York, and Chicago. Find your city at https://www.eventbrite.com/o/capcom-iam8bit-11982654513. This event is ending soon.

Theming and Puzzles

We were disappointed in the general theming as fans of Resident Evil VII. The theming was accomplished by the 1) references to Umbrella Corp 2) various objects that have a memorable presence in the video games (like a VCR tape).

The extent of theming in this room could have been accomplished just fine by a knock-off Resident Evil escape room – there was a lot more potential for this partnership that was untapped.

The puzzles were neither memorable nor varied. Most of them were the same style and type. We thought that the main puzzle in the first room was unnecessarily frustrating and unforgiving by design.

Build

The room looked fine and there were various decorations around. The sound effects however were detached from the game experience and near the end became unnecessarily annoying. The sound effects do contribute to a sense of urgency however.

The structure and layout of the multiple rooms was impressive, especially given that this was all constructed for just a pop-up experience. Unfortunately the layout is much harder to appreciate given how cramped the puzzling conditions were.

The most frustrating part about the room was the lack of space. Especially with the game host in the room as well, there was little space for our team of 6 to navigate. Usually we would send a smaller team, but that’s a hard option to consider given that the per-person price is already high.

Laura Hall (designer of this game) posted pictures from the Los Angeles (we think) version of the Resident Evil Escape Experience. The rooms there looks MUCH more spacious and it’s unfortunate that the San Francisco version had to be so cramped.

Overall Recommendation ★★

This room is easily a disappointment to anyone going in expecting a “Resident Evil Escape Experience”. For those not going in with such high expectations, we would only consider this an “ok” experience and an acceptable escape room for any first-timers.

We can’t really recommend it to Resident Evil fans because of the limited tie ins, and we can’t recommend it to escape room fans because of the general low quality and multiple problems.

The high price ($42 in San Francisco) and short duration (45 minutes) makes recommending this even less palatable.

You don’t have to take our word for it – you can check out reviews from other escape room bloggers:

Apparently the New York City location was basically broken…

Save your $42 and spend it on the video game instead (which we enjoyed).

 

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