Game Reviews

Resident Evil Village Review: An Eclectic Retrospective

Story Highlights
  • “Resident Evil Village boils all the best and worst parts of the franchise down into an eclectic, though uneven experience.”
resident evil village review viallage closeup

Resident Evil Village Review: An Eclectic Retrospective

PROS

  • Creative worldbuilding
  • Memorable set items
  • Rewarding exploration
  • Compactly designed village

CONS

  • Uneven construction
  • Weak motion
  • Lacks rigidity

If Resident Evil 7 was a return to type for gaming’s most iconic horror franchise, Resident Evil Village is a full-blown identification disaster. Not content material to easily repeat the success of its predecessor, the brand new installment crams 25 years of historical past into eight hours. It’s not the very best Resident Evil recreation, but it surely is likely to be probably the most Resident Evil recreation.

That’s each good and dangerous information for followers of the shape-shifting franchise. Everything that gamers cherished about classics like the unique recreation and Resident Evil 4 is current within the new recreation’s DNA. That’s simply as true in the other way, too, as Capcom has put collectively a giant, daring franchise retrospective that doesn’t cowl up warts.

Resident Evil Village works finest when it’s serving up atmospheric exploration that cleverly expands on the franchise’s puzzle field roots. It’s much less enjoyable as an action-packed first-person shooter. That conflict of types represents your complete sequence in a nutshell.

A Horror Anthology 

Resident Evil Village picks up three years after the occasions of 7. Charisma black gap Ethan Winters has settled down along with his spouse, Mia, and child, Rosemary, following the entire Louisiana incident. His home paradise crumbles when Chris Redfield makes a surprising entrance. Ethan finds himself on the lookout for his household in a creepy European village that’s infested with Lycans, vampires, and extra (oh, my!).

Like many parts of the sport, the story is a bit of far and wide. It gives up some glorious scares early on as Ethan is overwhelmed by vicious werewolves that make the franchise’s outdated zombies appear candy. The tone rapidly turns into sillier as the sport introduces its colourful forged of characters. Structurally, it’s a horror film anthology the place every character headlines their very own monster flick.

Sometimes, that stream actually works. The Lady Dimitrescu (“the tall vampire lady”) part of the sport performs like a mini model of Resident Evil 2 the place gamers creep round a giant fort, fixing puzzles and working from vampires that persistently stalk the halls. It’s a self-contained B-movie that packs a ton of intriguing worldbuilding right into a concise two-hour stretch.

One explicit part, which I gained’t spoil, serves up each the very best horror and puzzle work the sequence has ever achieved in the identical breath. The centered brevity solely makes it that a lot stronger.

It’s a gleeful exploration of style clichés that will get to unfold its grotesque wings and play with one thing apart from zombies.

Other vignettes aren’t as profitable. One later part invokes Nineteen Nineties horror-action flicks like Lake Placid and largely manifests as a chase scene that trades in rigidity for easy platforming puzzles. Push a crate, press some buttons, keep away from some clearly scripted demise traps. Ironically, the extra it leans into action-horror motifs, the much less thrilling it’s to truly play.

While some concepts match the sport’s mechanics higher than others, it’s good to see the sequence’ horror nerd roots on full show right here. It’s a gleeful exploration of style clichés that will get to unfold its grotesque wings and play with one thing apart from zombies.

Making My Way Downtown

Resident Evil Village could seem like a departure for the sequence on its floor, however most of its new options are a intelligent iteration of the franchise’s design staples. That’s most obvious within the recreation’s titular village. It’s extra open than an ordinary Resident Evil mansion, but it surely quietly capabilities the identical method. The village is one huge puzzle field that gamers slowly unlock as they progress.

Some of the sport’s finest moments merely come from atmospheric stretches of exploration. There are so many little rewards tucked away in several corners of the map. It’s not fairly a sprawling open world, however that’s why it really works. It’s a compactly designed village the place every little hut is price exploring.

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In a recreation filled with immediately iconic characters, the village itself is the actual star of the present.

Every new characteristic serves the village. A Last of Us-style crafting system acts as a intelligent evolution of merchandise mixture and provides extra causes to scavenge. There’s a touring service provider (a deliberate nod to Resident Evil 4) who sells weapon upgrades and ammo in trade for pillaged valuables. There are even a handful of small side-quests, which encourage thorough scavenging whereas telling some micro-stories that discover the historical past of the decaying city.

Resident Evil Village

Some concepts really feel like gentle experiments which might be auditioning for a full function afterward. Take the brand new cooking system, which rewards gamers with well being boosts once they search out animals hidden all through the city. With solely a small handful of recipes to finish, it seems like Capcom is simply testing the waters for a sequel. In common, Village performs like an anniversary survey that’s designed to assist the studio determine the place to take issues subsequent.

It’s not the very best model of what it could possibly be, however each little piece helps create a Resident Evil recreation that emphasizes the strengths of earlier places. In a recreation filled with immediately iconic characters, the village itself is the actual star of the present. Sorry, Lady D followers.

Power Struggle

Just about each beloved Resident Evil launch has the identical downside. While they often begin as horrifying horror video games that take energy away from the participant, they inevitably conclude with an inferior motion set piece. The village as soon as once more commits that sin, but it surely’s extra irritating than ever. The again third of the sport out of the blue transforms right into a uninteresting hall shooter that lays the self-serious melodrama on thick (I’ve to emphasise this: Ethan Winters is likely to be probably the most boring hero in the entire video video games).

Resident Evil Village

The weapons don’t really feel constructed for quick shootouts with dozens of enemies. They’re sluggish, nearly archaic. That works throughout horror sequences the place gamers wrestle to get photographs off on a fast-approaching lycan. It’s much less enjoyable when blasting away at waves of bullet-sponge enemies later within the recreation. The identical mechanics which might be constructed to instill panic are used to gasoline an motion energy fantasy. It simply doesn’t mesh.

That’s obvious within the recreation’s bonus Mercenaries mode, the place gamers rush to kill a set variety of monsters inside a short while interval. Slow motion and sluggish gunplay simply make the mode really feel prefer it’s working at half pace as if Ethan is capturing whereas sinking in quicksand.

With every dramatic beat having no lasting influence on the story, any sense of hazard is misplaced early on.

This battle is a working theme all through the sport; gamers are supposed to really feel powerless and highly effective on the identical time. Those concepts trample on each other, weakening each ends of the spectrum. During the story, we see actually horrific issues occur to its characters which might be rapidly dismissed as “just a flesh wound.” As quickly because it begins feeling like several harm might be cured with magic well being potions, all of the stakes and rigidity exit the window. Body horror turns into slapstick comedy.

It begins to really feel like sure scenes are solely there for pure shock worth — and that impact wears skinny quick. With every dramatic beat having no lasting influence on the story, any sense of hazard is misplaced early on. The indisputable fact that gamers can simply pop right into a menu and craft ammo mid-fight feed into that, too; nothing dangerous ever actually occurs regardless of all of the gore. With no penalties, dangers, or stakes, I performed via your complete again half of the sport stone-faced with nothing phasing me. That’s the sort of tepid response that horror motion pictures worry.

Is Resident Evil a sequence about puny people narrowly surviving terrifying conditions? Or is it about pseudo-superheroes triumphantly gunning down mutants? Resident Evil Village idles in entrance of that crossroads as a substitute of selecting a path.

Our Take

Resident Evil Village is an uneven anthology of horror film send-ups. Sometimes it gives a very thrilling imaginative and prescient of the sequence’ future with imaginative world-building and rewarding exploration. Other occasions, it’s a reasonably run-of-the-mill shooter that struggles to offer any actual stakes or rigidity. Those two tones are sometimes at odds with each other, highlighting the entire franchise’s finest and worst instincts in a single eclectic package deal. Chalk it as much as a quarter-life disaster.

Is there a Better Alternative?

A whole lot of earlier Resident Evil video games do what Village does however in a extra centered method. Try 2 for the exploration, 3 for the motion, or 7 for the horror.

How lengthy will it final?

The story is round eight to 10 hours lengthy, although there’s plenty of incentive to replay it to unlock new weapons and artwork. The Mercenaries mode provides a bit of further playtime, too.

Should you purchase it?

Yes. It’s an actual toss-up of a query. This continues to be a captivating entry within the iconic sequence even when it’s unsuccessful at occasions. But those that haven’t already purchased in ought to steer clear, no matter how a lot they wish to meet Lady Dumitrescu.

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