Overall - 90%
Resident Evil Village shines brightly as one of this year's early Game of the Year contenders. Whether you're a fan of the series or a survival horror fan in general, be sure to pick it up.
A little less than a year after being announced, Capcom’s Resident Evil Village is finally here. Can Village stand toe-to-toe with the recent Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 remakes? Check out our review and find out.
Resident Evil Village Review
Resident Evil Village starts with a recap of Resident Evil 7, one designed to make sure you know what’s going on in Village. The title once again stars Ethan Winters, who happily lives with his wife Mia and their new daughter Rose. Shortly into the game, Chris Redfield and his team bust into Ethan’s house to capture him and his daughter. Chris kills Mia and takes Rose without explaining why. When you wake up, you find yourself in a strange forest next to a couple of dead guys, and your daughter is missing. You travel through the woods until you enter the village, and that’s where the real nightmare begins.
After exploring the village for a bit, you are introduced to the main villains of the game. They have Rose, and want to play with you for a bit. This, of course, comes back to bite them. You escape the enemies and then begin the search for Rose. Your first adventure is in Castle Dimitrescu, where a tall lady lives with her daughters. You have to explore the castle, get the keys, and escape the crazy vampire ladies that live inside. The campaign took around 10 hours to complete, though you can squeeze out a few more with additional exploration.
Resident Evil Village has a first-person combat system, as opposed to the third-person view of the Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 remakes. This title is is not a twitch shooter, however; your aiming is slow and all of your ammo counts. The enemies will sway, charge, duck, run, and do anything else they can do to overwhelm you. Still, once you get used to it, the game becomes pretty easy on the default difficulty. You start to learn their patterns and can land headshots with ease. When it becomes that easy, the game becomes less tense and loses some of its scare factor. If you are a veteran of Resident Evil, you might want to bump the difficulty up a notch.
Village is a bit different when it comes to its horror. You get different vibes from different areas and different bosses. Lady Dimitrescu plays the role Mr. X had in the Resident Evil 2 remake. You can hear her hunting you through hallways and stairwells. A later area strips you of your weapons and light, leaving you to stumble through an old house while something chases you. There is also a water boss, which had me on edge because it was a one-hit kill in that area. My point is, you are likely to find something in the amalgamation of horror genres Village offers.
One thing that Resident Evil is pretty well known for is its puzzles. Resident Evil Village has some great puzzles that require you to think on your feet. They aren’t afraid to let you miss some things if you ignore a puzzle. While you have traditional puzzles like figuring out music notes or replacing fuses, Village also has a bunch of environmental puzzles. I like them here because they make you think. Early on, there is an easy torch puzzle, but the second one makes you try new things to complete it and get your reward. The puzzles are satisfying and rewarding, which is an essential part of the series.
Another rewarding part of the game is the exploration. Treasure makes a return to the series, allowing you to trade it to a new merchant for ammo, weapons, upgrades, and even meals. He goes by The Duke, and he somehow is allowed to trade here without being attacked. Instead of being a background merchant, he becomes a bit of a primary character, offering Ethan advice and help from time to time. After a few hours of play, he will offer to cook meals for the two of you. These meals will increase your stats permanently, giving you more HP and increasing your movement speed.
If there is one thing that really irks me about the game, it is how it handles progression. You are always moving forward at a steady clip, which is nice. However, after you beat a big area, such as Dimitrescu Castle, it becomes locked off. That means if you missed any ammo, supplies, treasure, or whatever, it’s gone for good. I’d be okay with it if it were a minor area, but huge chunks of the map eventually become inaccessible. I know why it’s done; it’s to prevent players from thinking they are missing an essential item in the old area. Still, it proves to be fairly annoying nonetheless.
Resident Evil Village also brings back the fan-favorite Mercenaries mode. In it, players are given a timer to clear out a certain amount of enemies before you can move on to the next level. You collect resources to upgrade in between levels and can find buffs during the fights. These buffs can give you more damage, heal you per shot, and make you do more knife damage. There aren’t many levels, but hopefully we can get some more as free DLC. It isn’t the Mercenaries of the past, but it is a step in the right direction. I think we’ll see the game mode come back fully in the rumored Resident Evil 4 remake.
I played the PlayStation 5 version of the game and didn’t run into any bugs or crashes. There were a couple of pathing issues with the enemies, but nothing major. The game looks gorgeous as well; some fantastic lighting work on display. Just be warned that there are flying enemies, which are always incredibly annoying in first-person shooters.
Resident Evil Village shines brightly as one of this year’s early Game of the Year contenders. Whether you’re a fan of the series or a survival horror fan in general, be sure to pick it up.
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