At the end of Resident Evil Village I was in a tough position. I was near death, had no healing items, and the only bullets I had were for the sniper rifle I hated so much. I thought my death was a certainty, but I didn’t want to go down without a fight. I aimed the gun I hated so much and shot the final boss as they charged me. When that foe died, I finished the game with my worst weapon and panic in my mind. I couldn’t imagine a better way to end Resident Evil Village. Though not perfect in execution, not a lot of games affected me the way that Capcom has with this survival horror hit.
Resident Evil Village picks up just a couple years after Resident Evil 7. Ethan Hunters has reunited with Mia and conceived a child. But when his daughter, Rose, is taken he must go out on another horrific journey to save her.
Your enjoyment of the story here is really dependent on if Resident Evil 7 has already hooked you with Ethan and his family. If it has, then you’ll be on board for most of the story. In many ways Village feels like a part two to its predecessor, it assumes that what was previously introduced is enough for you. So there isn’t much story enjoyment if you either haven’t played Resident Evil 7 or weren’t already on board. With that said, there are some fantastic payoffs here for Ethan’s journey. Ethan felt more than just a vessel for me to fight monsters. While I wouldn’t call any of the vocal performances mind blowing, they get the job done bringing this fantastic world and it’s characters to life.
There are some hiccups in the story horever. The game will introduce characters just so they can die and it feels like most of the game’s conflict could’ve been avoided if a Resident Evil legacy character didn’t make what was so obviously the wrong choice. Also, while I do love the village location of the game, the storytelling doesn’t service it properly. The village is mostly just treated as a location for you to shoot monsters. The game hints at some bigger lore with the location with notes left behind, but I ended up being disappointed that more wasn’t done with it. Also, while the dialogue can be both strong and enjoyably corny, it can also be stiff and rough at points. Lastly, I think people will be disappointed in the role giant vampire lady, Dimitrescu, ends up playing in the game. It didn’t affect me as much because the character didn’t get my testosterone running like it did with a lot of other people. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll put it like this, Dimitrescu is not the primary villain, she’s a supporting villain, so she is placed in the game accordly. To be fair to Capcom, I don’t think they were expecting the reaction that the character had. Who knew so many people on the internet were that horny? Some will be disappointed by her role in the game but I think they will get over it.
Overall, this is a strong story. Resident Evil has always leaned to more entertaining stories than compelling. Village does this too but it does introduce some elements that hint for some compelling stories in the future. It’s a satisfying expansion for Ethan and I’m excited to see where future games take the narrative.
Graphics, sound, and all the presentations stuff
It’s perfect. I have no complaints. While the village itself doesn’t play the story part that I would want it to, it is beautifully realized with some incredible monster designs. Settings range from dirty shacks to amazing gothic castles with an added factory setting that will have you sitting at the age of your seat. The lighting, sound, and visuals work in perfect harmony to make you so scared that you might worry that you’ll sh*t yourself. It was only the music that I thought was run of the mill, but by the time you get to the end there are some killer tracks played. Shusaku Uchiyama rocked it with the music by the end. Sure, I experienced some pop in and I noticed some enemies would teleport back to their original placement once I’ve reached their distance limit, but I didn’t even care. I was so stuck in this world that popping in bricks and teleporting enemies didn’t even annoy me.
No matter what anyone thinks of the specific aspects of gameplay, I think most can agree that this is a good experience. The game does lean more towards action than its predecessor which might annoy Resident Evil purists. There’s no stealth and you are often encouraged to take out everybody. With that said, you do have to think about ammo, weapons, and efficiency in your conflicts. There was one point where I had more ammo then I knew what to do with. This was followed by me panicking that I wouldn’t have enough to survive the next encounter. Though more action heavy I would never call the game an outright action piece. I would also argue that any leanings the game has towards action makes sense within the context of the game. Otherwise, the shooting aspects play like RE7. If you liked the mechanics of what was before you’ll feel at home.
Where the game really exells is level design consisting of exploring, finding locked off treasures and areas, moving on, finding stuff, and then back tracking to unlock stuff. You often see the same locations over and over again. That might sound bad but I had so much fun expanding and finding new things that could potentially help me by the endgame. I felt like a treasure hunter at certain points and it was exciting to find items that could be used later on. The game is a lot like a metroidvania which the best Resident Evil games are.
Mercenaries Mode makes a comeback in this entry. While I love Resident Evil, I have actually stayed away from Mercenaries. My favorite part of the franchise has always been exploration and to play a mode that doesn’t feed into that was strange to me. Seeing as I was writing about the game I gave it a try. I was surprised by how much I like this time challenge shooter. It can be a lot of fun finding efficient ways to get through these arena style levels. It’s too bad that it ends so soon. Luckily, there is always potential for added content. But if I’m being honest, I don’t know if I’ll come back for it. While I had a lot of fun with it it felt disposable and more of a distraction. It was a fun diversion for me and that’s it. But for fans of the mode, I think you will be happy with it. I’m convinced they’ll add more, so don’t worry about it ending so soon.
As for negatives for the gameplay, I would argue certain mechanics could be better explained. I didn’t know you could use hunted animals for recipes at the start. I killed animals and sold them before it was an option. It didn’t end up being the biggest loss, but I was a little bummed at the end. The game will lock you out of areas that I don’t think it needs to. I purposely skipped searching rooms because I wanted to come back when it was safier, next thing I knew I couldn’t go back. This was strange because it’s not like the location was destroyed, I just couldn’t open the door anymore. Also, I have loved the inventory management of previous games. Making decisions on what you need always adds some nice tension. I never needed more inventory space in this game. I obtained the inventory expansion as given and I never filled it up. Lastly, while I will argue in favor of some of the puzzles (there’s an escape room section that I had so much fun with), most of them are mindless. I like good puzzles and Resident Evil used to have a ton of them. It’s a shame to see that go away.
Ultimately, I had a great time playing. Some people might think the game leans too much into action, but that’s more subjective. I had a lot of fun with it and I think a lot of other people will too.
Resident Evil Village is up there with some of the best games in the franchise, in my opinion. Resident Evil 7 fans will be pleased with it as a sequel and Resident Evil 4 fans will feel like they just returned to their childhood home. Purists might be a little annoyed with the direction, but I’m just going to say that they might have jaded expectations. With that said, I wouldn’t recommend this for newcomers to the franchise given the story. If you’re new to the franchise, start with Resident Evil 7 and treat this like a part two to that. I think a lot of people will be happy with this game and it will become a survival horror classic.