Beating Resident Evil 7 on any difficulty is a big enough challenge for many players, especially those who find the prospect of being hounded by an unkillable murderer for several hours unappealing to begin with. But for players who conquer RE7 on normal and find themselves wanting more, the developers were generous enough to include a third difficulty, aptly titled “Madhouse” mode.
Resident Evil 7’s Madhouse difficulty doesn’t just add more and tougher enemies, though it has those too. In many ways, it changes the very fabric of the game. So much so that even a hardened, impervious veteran of normal mode might need some help getting through it.
If you’re having trouble, read these general tips for surviving Resident Evil 7. If you keep those in mind and use these Madhouse-specific tips, you might just make it through.
Madhouse difficulty differences
First, let’s talk about what changes when you’re playing on Madhouse difficulty.
Your saves are limited
Definitely the biggest of all the changes on Madhouse is the new blank tape; a consumable item that, like the ink ribbon in early Resident Evil games, is used to save your game. The game gives you just enough that you can save when you have to — before and after bosses, for example — but few enough tapes that you occasionally worry about running out. It’s classic Resident Evil.
Checkpoints are no more
The generous checkpoints RE7 hands out on Easy and Normal do not apply when playing on Madhouse difficulty. The game will provide a checkpoint at the beginning of some sections, but that hardly ever happens, and if you aren’t careful with your limited saves you might find yourself losing hours of progress.
Item placement varies
If you’ve played through RE7 already once or twice on Normal before starting Madhouse, you may be surprised at the location of certain items. This sometimes makes the game slightly easier by giving you items such as the grenade launcher and backpack upgrades earlier than normal. However, when you plan your route from memory, finding that an important key suddenly isn’t where you thought it would be can make things complicated.
There are more antique coins
This is another Madhouse change that can be both good and bad. On one hand, having more antique coins to find — 33 versus the 18 found in Normal mode — means you’ll run across them more frequently. But there are also more to buy with antique coins, including new items that increase your attack/defense, and a key that was once more accessible.
The Bakers are more dangerous
Getting spotted by Jack Baker during Resident Evil 7’s first few hours on Normal or Easy mode isn’t a big deal, as you usually can run away and hide to avoid him. But on Madhouse, Jack actually runs faster than you can, which is terrifying. Good luck getting to a safe room if Jack surprises you from around a corner.
There are more enemies in different places
Again, you may already have a pretty good idea of when and where enemies will spawn if you’ve already played the game once through on an easier difficulty. Throw that idea out the window, on Madhouse the enemies are more numerous, and pop up in some surprising places designed to take advantage of your expectations.
Normal foes are more dangerous, too
Not only that, but the fungus monsters you encounter during Normal gameplay have far more health, cause way more damage, and, worst of all, move more aggressively and erratically on Madhouse, making each encounter a life-or-death situation.
Ammo is scarce
On top of everything else, the game dishes out far less ammo, forcing you to make every shot count.