To say that I LOVE Resident Evil is no understatement, which was why I was so damn pumped for Resident Evil Village.
It’s safe to say that the original Resident Evil was the game that got me to really love horror. It’s also the game that made me buy a damn Playstation in 1997. Since then, I’ve been a hardcore fan of the series through thick and thin. I have the comics (including the Wildstorm issues!), I have the books, I have the movies on Blu-ray, I have the merchandize (shirts, NECA figures, mugs and replica badges!)…Hell, I even bought the damn curry when I was at TGS in 2019!
Now that it’s finally here, does it live up to my (hardcore) expectations?
Read and find out!
What is Resident Evil Village?
Resident Evil Village is the tenth game in the main Resident Evil series.
Wait, tenth game? Isn’t Resident Evil Village also known as RE 8? Yup, it is BUT don’t forget, Resident Evil has Code: Veronica (which isn’t numbered) and also, Resident Evil 0 (which is a prequel to the original game).
Yeah, it’s a bit weird but you’ll get the hang of it.
Resident Evil Village is developed by Capcom and is a single player First Person Survival Horror game. Its multiplayer component, RE:Verse has been delayed, which means that it’ll get released at a later date. Right now, the game is single player only.
I’m reviewing the Playstation 5 version of the game, with a review code awesomely provided by Capcom Asia.
Set 3 years after the events of Resident Evil 7, the game continues the story of Ethan Winters. After surviving the horrors of the last game, he’s settled down with Mia (who also survived) and they both now have a baby of their own, Rose. Moved to Europe for their security by Chris Redfield, the couple’s just settled down into their new lives when tragedy struck.
The Winters’ home was raided by special operations operatives, led by Chris Redfield himself. Mia was killed and baby Rose kidnapped. Redfield’s operatives put Mia’s body, Rose and an unconscious Ethan into a transport and took off for parts unknown when another incident happened.
Ethan awakes near a crashed van, a missing baby and having no idea where the hell he is.
This is where you start in the game.
Resident Evil Village returns to the roots of RE7 by being completely in first person. Sadly, there’s no VR mode for the Playstation fans, which is a shame. Personally, I feel that RE7 is one of the best VR titles I’ve ever played and it’s a shame that RE8 doesn’t have VR capability.
Thankfully, the gameplay isn’t much affected.
If you’ve played the previous game, you’ll be right at home here.
There are changes though; there’s now a merchant (Duke) who sells, buys and upgrades Ethan’s gear. RE4’s grid-like inventory system returns as well. There aren’t any storage boxes, which means that you’ll need to carry everything on you at all times. Nope, you can’t drop stuff, which is a bummer.
In fact, the game’s a lot like RE4 in story beats as well as gameplay.
There’s a battle with a giant fish-thing, you fight regenerating monsters, you make your way from a village to a castle to an industrial area…so many similarities! I’m going to go and say it right here; I bet Capcom’s going to repurpose assets from this game and remake Resident Evil 4.
Despite Duke being in the game, you actually need to conserve your stuff if you don’t want to suffer running low on supplies. Healing items are especially scarce, so you’ll want to ONLY use them when you need to.
Luckily, you can also craft your own supplies, so you don’t need to depend on scrounging for your stuff. However, crafting is rather costly as the ingredients you need aren’t easily available, especially herbs (which are needed to craft the healing potion).
As a result, despite two alternate avenues to get goodies, Resident Evil Village still feels like a survival horror title, with very limited resources to aid you.
One thing I really love about the game’s survival horror leaning is that it actually allows you to fight back.
I really hate games that force you to run and hide from enemies. Resident Evil Village has no compunction on letting you deal with your tormentors in a hail of bullets…provided you have enough of course.
In fact, on my initial playthrough, I opted to kill enemies using the knife till about 3/4 of the way through because I was afraid of running out of ammo. It was tough, but pretty fun too. Pro tip: Mash R2 and L1 (which blocks) as you swipe with the knife, it’ll eliminate the recovery phase, which allows you to keep slashing over and over! Great to stun lock enemies!
I also love that the Dimitrescu family are sort of like the female versions of the Nemesis.
Once you’re in the castle, you have to always be on your toes as the sisters can come at you when you least expect it. A couple of their appearances are scripted but some seem to be completely random, which is awesome. Lady Dimitrescu is the same, she patrols the castle constantly once the sisters have been dealt with.
I’d be happily wandering around and then suddenly a door opens and the ominous music plays.
That’s when you know she’s near and it’s time to run. Unlike Nemesis, I’ve never been able to drop Lady Dimitrescu…which means that running is your only option.
Incredibly, there are some set pieces (namely the one in the castle’s catacombs with Lady Dimitrescu or running around in the dark being chased by that giant bloody baby thing) that heighten the tension to 11! Running around like a headless chicken trying to escape is ghoulishly fun, though thankfully the game knows not to just depend on that trope…unlike games like Outlast.
To Capcom’s credit, they didn’t make Resident Evil Village just depend on cheap jump scares to make you feel fear. Sure, there are some jump scares (nothing that suddenly pops up in your face thankfully) but the creepiness in the game comes more from the meticulously crafted environment and music.
The third area (the doll mansion), in particular, is incredibly creepy, with all the dolls and whatnot. I really love movies and games that creep you out with a slow burn, instead of going for cheap scares. Resident Evil Village succeeds brilliantly in that.
What I’m actually a bit disappointed about is that the enemies doesn’t have the RE2 and RE3 remake damage modelling. In those games the damage you deal (especially to heads) is clearly visible. It makes the game more visceral and gory, something that I love!
There’s nothing of the sort here.
Other than headshots which blow the head clean off, wounds like knife slashes don’t show up at all. After numerous slashes with the knife, I’d expect my enemies to look cut up and bleeding, not as pristine (or rather decaying) as when I first encountered them!
Speaking of enemies, I’m actually a bit disappointed with the game in this regard.
The basic enemies you encounter attack the same way throughout. They either grab you or swing a weapon at you. Sure, the lycans are a bit faster but you can still beat them no problem with the knife trick above.
It’s only during the last quarter of the game that more enemy variety is introduced, with tougher enemies that are especially fun to fight. They’re called the Soldat and there are a couple variations of them.
These guys are really hardcore! You can only kill them by destroying their chest generators. Sounds easy right? The problem is they tend to protect it unless they’re on the offensive! That means you’ll have to shoot and run and adjust your tactics on the fly to get a clean shot!
They actually remind me of the Regenerators that Leon faced in the endgame.
Speaking of endgame, once you beat the game you’ll unlock a TON of extras.
There’s The Mercenaries mode (which lets you play a mini-game that can unlock more stuff in the main game), a shop to buy extra weapons, infinite ammo, character models and more plus a couple of behind the scenes movies. There’s actually a fair bit to do and unlock and getting all trophies will have you running through the game multiple times!
It’s awesome that the New Game+ mode lets you choose any difficulty too!
Since you carry over your gear, you can get a running start in higher difficulties by loading up with a ton of gear in the final fight. It’s really cathartic to blaze through enemies that gave you a ton of trouble the first time around with an upgraded arsenal…especially if you’re packing infinite ammo!
Resident Evil Village is one of the best looking games out right now.
That’s no hyperbole.
Character models are top notch (though the lips could do with more natural movements) and environments are incredible. You have a ton of varied locations, great weather effects (including spoooooooky fog) and awesome character designs.
Like I mentioned above, I got a ton of Resident Evil 4 flashbacks throughout. The good kind! So Capcom, if you’re reading this and NOT thinking of doing a Resident Evil 4 remake, you should!
Unfortunately, while the environments look incredible, most of it is static. Barrels don’t move when you bump into that, fruits don’t explode if you shoot them. In fact, apart from some items (like crates, certain vases and windows), most of the objects in the environment are static. Disappointing? Yup. Game breaking? Nope!
If you’re on the Playstation 5, you can even enable Ray Tracing for the game, which results in more realistic lighting at a cost to framerate. I finished my initial playthrough with it enabled and to be honest, I had no issue whatsoever. Apparently, Ray Tracing makes the game average about 45FPS (at least that’s the official line) but I don’t feel it was that low at all.
There are stutters at times but those are quickly resolved and occur very rarely! They pretty much only occur during transition areas (such as elevators) as the SSD loads data for the next area.
On the subject of loading…the game has NONE. Everything’s seamlessly interconnected and you’ll NEVER see a load screen as you move around.
It’s damn awesome!
I do have other nitpicks about the visuals though.
Foliage pop-in is very noticeable (especially in the village).
Shrubs, grass and other incidental flora can sudden appear as you’re walking. It’s really jarring if you’re walking towards what looks like a clean path, only to see grass and other weeds magically pop in as you get closer.
The upside to that is that I’ve only noticed pop-in in outdoor areas. Enclosed areas are fine, with nothing just magically appearing.
Finally, I’d like to say that while most of the game looks damn nice, there are textures here and there that could use a rework.
They’re either too plain looking for what they’re supposed to be, or too blurry at 4K. Miniscule issues to be honest (as these issues are VERY rare) but with a game as polished as this, it’s still a weird flaw.
The Bottom Line.
Resident Evil Village is one of my favourite games in the series. It’s certainly one of the top five, hands down.
It’s a heady blend of classic survival horror, awesome visuals and a plot that keeps you wanting more. In fact, after watching the ending I’m filled with questions that NEED answering, especially regarding the BSAA (the organization Chris worked for in RE5).
I’m not going to spoil anything but I really hope there’s DLC that deals with that, especially with that humdinger of a revelation in the closing scene.
The reason it’s not my favourite (the Resident Evil 2 remake holds top spot) are minor; the lack of enemy variety, the pop-in and the lack of better damage modelling.
Overlook them all (very easy to do!) and what you get is an incredible entry in the Resident Evil series and a game that belongs in any gamer’s collection. Hell, this might be even Game of the Year material!
That’s how good it is.
Now to wait for the DLC that Capcom hopefully has planned…
A strong contender for Game of the Year. If you’re a gamer, you NEED to play this.
- Awesome plot.
- Incredible visuals.
- Great, fun gameplay.
- Tons of extras.
- The Mercenaries mode is great!
- New Game+ mode.
- Lacking accurate damage modelling.
- Enemy variety.
- Pop-in for foliage in outdoor areas.
- Static environmental objects.