The Resident Evil series has always had a special place in my gamer heart, but with the way the series went back to horror in RE 7, I truly fell in love all over again, even if Ethan Winters wasn’t the most compelling protagonist. His struggle, and the struggle of the Bakers was incredibly easy to relate to and sympathize with once the answers were revealed.
With Ethan, Chris, and Mia all returning in Resident Evil Village, along with the lovely tall lady vampire Lady Dimitrescu, I have been incredibly excited to jump into this next entry. At this point, I’m about 75% finished, and while I want to see everything before I assign a score, there’s plenty to talk about now, so let’s dive in and talk about it!
Werewolves, Vampires, Zombies, Oh My!
I remember when the rumors first emerged about this Resident Evil title. They said that it would, quote, “piss off fans” because it was going to include things like werewolves. Well, I’m a fan, and I’m not pissed off at all. On the contrary, I think the fresh new enemies and the lore that comes with them are a refreshing change of pace for the series.
Another thing that’s interesting about Resident Evil Village from a story perspective is the fact that the developers sought to create a “horror amusement park” based on interviews, and that’s a bit different than RE 7 which was more focused on the Bakers. Here we have a sprawling Eastern European village and five distinct villains, including the focus of the internet’s collective attention, Lady Dimitrescu.
The game doesn’t lose its identity by packing in so many villains, and I actually like the variety it offers, but it does feel like the game is whisking you from one setpiece to the next at times. For example, the portion of the game with Lady D and her vampire daughters feels pretty fleshed out, but the next two areas aren’t quite as long, though one of them is utterly terrifying.
While this is noticeable, it does make for great pacing and very little downtime. Even exploring the village between major areas to search for hidden treasure and new routes via items you’ve found is peppered with fights that range from a couple enemies to minibosses that guard some of the game’s more valuable treasures.
There’s a wonderful sense of place throughout every environment though. Part of that is thanks to the incredible details and lavishly crafted environments, but part of it is also the superb sound design and tension that permeates almost every moment. The game also relishes in making you feel overwhelmed, but does so sparingly.
When it does happen though, holy moly do things get intense. I feel like the game does a great job of employing different types of horror, ranging from psychological to the fight for survival against overwhelming odds. The boss fights are also excellent, with unique mechanics and some truly ghastly transformations.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this review in progress, I’m not quite finished with the story just yet, and would like to see how it all plays out before I assign a final score, but from what I’ve experienced so far, this is shaping up to be one of the best horror games I’ve played, and a damn fine Resident Evil title to boot. Stay tuned for the final review in the coming week!
Article by – Bradley Ramsey
Insert date – 1/14/2020
Updated – 5/10/2021