Surprise! Resident Evil 7 is a downright terrifying experience built on the core concepts that helped establish survival horror as a successful genre in the gaming industry. The game builds terror through tension by creating situations that seem impossible to escape from. Puzzles are always conveniently placed to stop you dead in your tracks and weapons are always not quite powerful enough. While the latest installment does keep many of the mechanics present in previous entries, it also introduces a few new ones that players may not be familiar with.

If you’re looking to make the best of your Resident Evil 7 experience, here’s a few tips that will help you survive the Baker Mansion.

Don’t Waste Ammo

Just like in other Resident Evil games, ammunition is a rare and valuable commodity in Resident Evil 7, one you’ll need to survive. While your choice of weaponry may be limited, each gun you find is a valuable tool to keep enemies at bay while you search for a way out of the Baker Mansion. In most cases, a few well-placed headshots will down enemies unless they are a key story character, so make sure to relax and maneuver your way around without firing off too many rounds. Most major encounters can also be solved without firing off a shot provided you find the right items in the area around you too. Think before you shoot.

Interact With Everything

Even though Resident Evil 7 doesn’t feature as many puzzles as its predecessors, the game still has a good number of them. Whether a door requires a specifically shaped key to unlock or a set of statue heads to proceed through it, you can almost always find them scattered about the environment in desk drawers or hidden behind a false wall. If you can interact with an object in Resident Evil 7, odds are that it’s hiding a secret worth knowing provided you can figure out how to open it. So, if it’s a desk, clock, sign, or videotape, make sure to interact with it; otherwise, you might miss valuable equipment and a way to proceed forward.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fight

Even though Resident Evil 7 is played through a first-person perspective like many popular survival horror experiences such as Amnesia and Outlast, the core gameplay loop remains the same as previous Resident Evil titles: You collect ammo and weapons, and then you fight back. While you certainly will be doing a lot of running and hiding throughout the opening section of the game, its important to know that you shouldn’t be afraid to fight back when the time is right. You can drop enemies attacking you in Resident Evil 7 with a few shots or a well-utilized environmental hazard; just make sure to play it smart.

Be Prepared for Dynamic Encounters

One thing you should be aware of regarding each encounter in Resident Evil 7 is that they are, for the most part, dynamic. They can actually play out in different ways depending on how you handle the situation at hand. Take one of the earlier encounters with Jack Baker for example, which requires you to retrieve a hatch key and escape through a trapdoor in the kitchen floor. If you opt to sneak around and retrieve the key, Jack can easily be avoided and you can escape with little resistance. If you run for the key instead, Jack will chase you and smash through tables and walls, making it more difficult for you to escape unseen. No matter how comfortable you feel with each encounter, be prepared for things to turn out a different way, otherwise you’ll quickly find yourself on the floor reloading a previous save point.

Store Unwanted Items in Safe Rooms

When you first break free from the Baker family dinner table and start exploring the Mansion, you’ll come across a locked solid steel door at the end of the hallway. Once you’ve found the hatch key and escape through the kitchen floor, you’ll loop back around into your first Safe Room in Resident Evil 7. In each of these rooms you’ll find a gigantic green military storage chest, where you can place items like ammunition, collectible coins, herbs, and first-aid consumables for later. Since your character’s inventory is extremely limited in the beginning of the game, make sure to place everything you don’t need in the storage chest so that you have free inventory room to grab additional weapons or healing items during enemy encounters. There’s nothing worse than needing a chainsaw to deal with an enemy encounter and not being able to pick it up because you kept your antique coin collection in your pockets.

Photos via Nicholas Bashore