(Available for PlayStation 5, PlayStation4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Google Stadia and PC )
(PlayStation 5 version used for review)
Resident Evil kicks off its 25th anniversary special with the latest entry in the mainline
Resident Evil series. Village is once again in a first person perspective like Resident Evil 7, likely to once again push a VR component that’ll be added in an update. This one takes place a few years after Resident Evil 7 with returning protagonist Ethan Winters traveling to a mysterious village to rescue his daughter from a cult that has taken her after the murder of his wife. The village is once again full of mysterious monsters including 3 vampiric women (one of which has already broken the internet with her reveal) and you’ll be fighting back with a variety of guns with the survival horror aspect of the game having you manage resources to make it to the end of the game. Do you use a healing item now or leave it longer and do you shoot now or run and save your bullets for later. Given how well received 7 was and how much Capcom is hyping this game up the question becomes what has Capcom done with new tech at their disposal.
- Story: this feels like this game is way more story driven than most in the series. I really liked Ethan’s determination to rescue his daughter and the lingering mystery of Chris Redfield’s motivations is a very good hook and I was surprised how much I really cared about the ending. The best thing about Resident Evil stories is usually around the collective story across all the games and there’s a lot of things for long time fans to see especially near the end when it draws connections to the earlier games.
- Combat: it’s pretty much the same first person perspective shooter the first game had mixed with the survival horror resource management. It once again works very well and is easy to get a hang of. The game adds the ability to barricade up doors and windows in the main village which acts as hub before travelling to each of the boss locations but it’s not used too often in my experience. The only complaint I have is the blocking command being added, I really didn’t use because it’s never really been in a resident Evil game prior to this so it was more in my instincts to run in a desperate situation rather than block
- Controls: the controls are once again good since they are mostly a replica of the controls from RE7. It’s especially improved by the haptic triggers and rumble of the PS5 controller works very well which is to be expected given Sony have the marketing rights to the game and it has been heavily promoted by Sony as a must have item for the PlayStation 5’s first year on the market. The triggers make a big difference in handling each different kind of gun which right now is innovative but might not age well when a lot more Sony first party projects come out that will take full advantage of the controller.
- Graphics and performance: I played this game on a PlayStation 5 but I’ve seen comparisons and even on PS4 and Xbox One the game looks really good thanks to how good the RE engine Capcom is using. While this game is not a powerhouse, even within its own series (I personally think Resident Evil 2 Remake used the engine to better effect) , it still looks fantastic especially in delivering the gore and I suspect the next game will take full advantage of the new genrations of consoles. The game also runs very smoothly especially with its set pieces so expect minimal loading times though again that might be to do with playing on a console with a SSD hard drive
- Scares: the game loses a lot of its fear factor towards the end especially with the amount of time you get used to the various monsters and less emphasis on scares (something that plagues many of the Resident Evil games) but at the beginning it’s quite scary especially with the already world renowned giant vampire Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters roaming the castle hunting for you but the scariest portion of the game comes after you leave her castle and head to a small house near a waterfall. It was so scary I genuinely needed to stop, breathe and calm down after the first time I finished it. here’s a tip if you want maximum fear, play that segment like I did in the dark with a headset that allows 3D audio you’ll never be the same again.
- The blend of RE4 and RE7 gameplay: while I think it was a good idea to mix the gameplay styles of 2 of the most critically acclaimed games in the series and it works for the most part, there’s times when it doesn’t feel like the 2 blend well. especially given that the enemies drop a bit too much currency.
- The Mercenaries Mode: I was glad that the Mercenaries mode was back after it was cut from RE7 and it functions well as great post game content. However I’m decently skilled at it and I wasn’t able to unlock extra stages. I did the first stage and in 2 of the 3 areas had killed all the enemies and made a good completion time and still got a B Rank. I’m fine with strict standard for A ranks however if you do that have all the stages unlocked so I can try out the content and not have a large portion locked out. really annoyed me and I ended up giving up on it as I’m not willing to have to hit perfection just to unlock a couple of extra stages.
- Game pacing: this game feels way too quick. I know Resident Evil games are not incredibly long and the one with longest campaign is the worst one but the way the game is paced makes me feel like I wish it was a bit longer. It’s weird because it’s about the same length as RE7 but that game still feels longer.
- Feels a little less innovative: I wasn’t expecting a massive change from RE7 but this game really does feel like it has much less impact though that’s not a huge criticism since it’s built off a really good game though it does make me ask the question how will this game will be seen by the fan base in a few years time. Especially when it’s a part of a completed trilogy.
- No VR support at launch: this really bothered me, one of the best thing about Resident Evil 7 was the fact that the whole games was also set up as a fantastic VR experience and this game is set up to do the same. But with PlayStation having a stake in it and PlayStation 5 VR not due until 2022 it’s not available on any format including the PlayStation 4 VR which could be a good selling point for that version.
Resident Evil Village is another very well made game and certainly lives up to the legacy of its predecessor in many ways though doesn’t quite have the same impact. While I’m not a fan of the guarding I did enjoy the combat and the fact that the series can still scare me shows that the series has some of it’s survival horror roots. The game succeds again in making great environments and making you think about your actions and while it’s not going to be considered the best game in the series by most fans it still is a real highlight and is a good middle point for what is a planned trilogy with Resident Evil 7. If you’re still on a big RE7 hype this will work well for you
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