Prologue & Guest House
Get your first achievement (She's Alive!) just by making it through the opening cinematic. Wow, maybe this game won't be that hard after all!
Follow the path to the main gate. You can interact with both the gate and the intercom button, but neither yields results.
Turn down the only path here. Open the van for a folder about some show called Swamp Gators sneaking into the ghost house. Sounds vaguely familiar - I can only assume that ended well. As long as you're checking files, you may as well open up your inventory to read the email from Mia. This is actually the first of the collectible files - gain them all for the Devil in the Details achievement.
Go through the broken fence. As you wander down this completely linear path, take a moment to marvel at the sunlight. You won't be seeing much more of it. Continue, ignoring any ghosts or hallucinations that may cross your path, until you get to a sort of gate made from half-butchered meat and buzzsaws, still dripping gore into the wet ground.
Immediately call the police Crouch to scuttle under the thing, and go a little farther until you reach a small dilapidated house. Drop down a shallow ledge to the firepit here and pick up a purse, turning it this way and that to reveal a driver's license.
Take it (earning you the A-ha! achievement), and drop the purse. Wander around the house's warm, inviting exterior, before entering the first open door. It will immediately close and lock behind you. Luckily, Ethan always carries a flashlight, otherwise this game would be twenty times harder than it is.
You'll recognize the next area from the teaser demo if you played it, but things are little rearranged, and there's a lot less giggling. Pass the chained cabinet and make your way though the kitchen, poking about as you go.
There's nothing substantial here- pot full of guts, vaguely sinister photos, crow in the microwave, etc. There real question is why the Bakers keep their spaghetti in the refrigerator. These people are weird.
Do note the locked drawer here, just next to the unlocked drawer. We'll be back for it. Past the kitchen, turn right and head up the stairs to find the first save point of the game. Like all the better save points, RE:7 savepoints are safe havens- you can't be hacked to death while within their hallowed grounds. But then, you didn't pay sixty dollars just to lurk in an attic all day.
Grab the VHS tape and go downstairs, following the hallway to the TV room. Pop in the tape and find yourself transported into the past, filling the shoes of a cameraman named Clancy. First things first- do not move. You have materialized over, and are standing on a Lockpick. Step slightly back and look down to retrieve it.
Follow your Swamp Gator partners through the same door and kitchen that Ethan just passed through. Use the lockpick to open the locked kitchen drawer. There's not much there now, but patience is a virtue. And Resident Evil:7 is all about virtue.
Let events play out linearly until you're Ethan again. Return to the kitchen to find the formerly locked drawer unlocked. Open it for an Antique Coin- something as good as gold on the Baker estate.
Go back to the TV room and, taking a hint from the tape, pull the handle inside the fireplace (you may need to wedge up right against it before the [F] prompt appears). Despite the fact that you just saw someone get killed in the room at the bottom of the ladder, go to the room at the bottom of the ladder. The ladder will break, so press ahead, crouching to navigate the low, extremely damp tunnel. Say hi to Andre when you see him, then surface to find a small prison area. Make your way through, noting an inspirational mural, until you reach a cell that has someone in it. Mia? Look left to see a table with some bolt cutters (always handy), and a note.
Read both sides of the note to add to your journal. Note that Mia's status has yet to be determined, and Clancy is marked as 'L.' Lived? Take the bolt cutters back to the cell and rouse the occupant, who at least looks like Mia . You'd know your own fiancee, right?
Follow her along the passage until she collapses on a couch. Explore the little room off this one, examining both dolls, which are doubtless steeped in some sort of unspeakable symbolism.
Finishing your search will trigger Mia's abduction. Follow the newly opened passage up some stairs, past a non-working phone. Open the drawer here for a map of the area.
Go through the first door on your left to pick up two first aid meds- one in a drawer, and one on the cabinet past the sink. Try the door at the end of the corridor (locked), then retrace your steps to the basement stairs, where you'll find Mia doing her best Sadako impression. She's not happy to see you.
Follow the onscreen prompts to survive the assault, and apply medical treatment afterward (Ethan may not be much of a sprinter, but his pain threshold is phenomenal). Step closer to Mia for round 2. You'll automatically grab an axe, and while you can use it defensively, sooner or later you're going to have to attack.
The best time for this is just after a successful block. After a relatively small amount of damage, Mia falls, taking your axe with her.
And then the phone rings.
Retrace your steps to the phone, answer it, and take its advice to heart. Return to
Mia to where Mia used to be, and pick up your axe. It's not really useful for much else now, but you should get in the habit of hoarding weapons. Of hoarding everything, really. The locked door at the end of the corridor is now open, and leads back to the first area of the house, near where you entered. Go back through the kitchen and use the bolt cutter on that first chained cabinet you past.
Retrieve the fuse and take it to the TV room, which has a conveniently prominent fusebox, with one empty slot. Head for the attic- only to be sidelined by another encounter with Mia. Things are going to go real, real bad here. Just let it happen- there's no special click combo that could prevent it.
Use some of that First Aid fluid, because that'll help. Again showing remarkable stoicism, guide Ethan up the stairs and hit the now active button here to give you access to the attic.
The first door on your right has a table with more First Aid Med, a box of ammo and the M19 handgun. Take them all
There are two more boxes of ammo in the attic- one on a table by the bed in the large room, and one on a small table in the room behind that.
Locked and loaded, make for the attic ladder in the mainroom.
You're stopped by Mia (so, she escaped the house, lugged the chainsaw up to the roof in the rain and just... waited?) You've got plenty of ammo, and you can't save it for later , so fire at will. Headshots work nicely, and her reel+recovery animation is pretty consistent, so you can keep popping her in the skull as she slowly advances.
The only dangerous time are while reloading. Ethan isn't that fast at it (while still much faster than I'd be if I had to reload a pistol in combat with a raw stump), so try to position one of the support posts between you and Mia when you're popping a new clip in. It won't slow her down much, but it's enough.
When Mia's down, take another close look at her, then look around the attic to get suckerpunched straight into the next chapter.
At least you get an achievement for it (Welcome to the Family, Son).