‘Resident Evil Village’ game review


Photo courtesy of Capcom

Michael Tracey, Reporter

The major Japanese gaming company, Capcom, celebrated the 25th anniversary of the “Resident Evil” franchise this year. I could not think of a better way to commemorate the occasion than to release another main entry in the popular horror franchise. “Resident Evil Village,” also known as “Resident Evil 8,” released on May 7, 2021, on all major platforms except the Nintendo Switch. The game also marks the first Resident Evil title on the new-generation consoles: PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. If you are fortunate to own one, it is hands down the most stunning “Resident Evil” ever made. Fans will be pleased to know that Capcom has given the world another worthy addition to the series regardless of some of its flaws. The main story of “Village” is a bit hazy and is not as well-paced as previous entries, but it is still an enjoyable experience.

As the player, you fill the shoes of Ethan Winters for his sophomore run after “Resident Evil 7 Biohazard” in 2017, and the game begins after the events that took place in the previous story. Ethan rescued his wife, Mia. They retreat from America to a remote part of Europe to escape the tragedy of the past. They give birth to a beautiful girl, Rose, and live out the rest of their life in peace until now.
Enter franchise hero Chris Redfield, who saved Ethan and Mia at the end of “Biohazard,” but this time, his appearance is not favorable for Ethan. Chris and his militarized men storm Ethan’s home, only to murder Mia and take Rose. Ethan is distraught and deserves answers, but instead, he is met with the end of a rifle and knocked unconscious. Why would Chris do this, and what is his plan? Isn’t Chris the protagonist of Resident Evil like Ethan? Capcom wants players to circle these underlying questions around their heads immediately in the first half-hour, giving momentum for the story they want to tell.

Photo courtesy of Capcom

Ethan is awoken as the sole survivor after an apparent crash while Chris’s men were transporting him. It is the dead of night, it’s cold, and Ethan wants to know where they took his daughter, Rose. He has no choice but to press on through the forest searching for answers, only to stumble upon a lonely European village with a monstrous medieval castle looming above. Within minutes of entering the town, players are overwhelmed with panic and chaos. What seems to be an abandoned village is quickly filled with vicious werewolves, called Lycans in the game, who suddenly attack and both Ethan and the player controlling him are not prepared. Typically, feeling overwhelmed at the beginning of a “Resident Evil” game isn’t new for players, but the design choice of the village itself is questionable. It’s a slow burn start, and the story doesn’t start to ramp up until after the first couple of hours. The game honestly didn’t feel like “Resident Evil” traditionally does until you enter Castle Dimitrescu.

Photo courtesy of Capcom

Before you begin to traverse the claustrophobic hallways of the castle, players discover the obese merchant, the Duke, who somehow can quickly move around the entire map with ease. I am not complaining because every time you hear his wheezy cough and subtle quirks, you know that he represents a safe area of the game. The Duke allows players to purchase supplies, upgrade weapons, and sell valuables they find throughout the experience. Also, random animals are placed around the game to hunt and make into a recipe for a permanent buff, such as increased health, so it’s essential to pay attention to them. The currency, lei, is given in modest amounts but make sure that you don’t waste money on supplies. Unlike previous Resident Evil games, there is a different approach to the survival horror aspect, considering that it is pretty easy to find ammo and health ingredients if you look.

Photo courtesy of Capcom

A tip I would like to share about selling valuables is to hold onto anything that says (valuable/combinable). Eventually, you will find another piece you can combine with the item you already have to increase its value and earn more lei.

I won’t share what goes on within the castle, but what I will say is that returning Resident Evil fans will be introduced to familiarity. Ethan explores multiple levels for a way to escape while being stalked by the intimidating but attractive Lady Dimitrescu and her three daughters. In this act of “Village,” the playstyle is reminiscent of the time avoiding the not-so-attractive Mr.X around the Racoon City Police Department in “Resident Evil 2.”

Photo courtesy of Capcom

A few story beats occur during your time roaming the castle, but the plot doesn’t take off until you leave and come back to the village. I will refrain from mentioning how the story continues from here for spoiler reasons. As the player, you realize that the town is the centerpiece of the entire map Capcom created. Multiple locations are extensions to the village, just like the castle. Each new area that you experience has its separate personality and wacky aspects to them. The locations besides the town are reminiscent of entering a haunted house at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. Even though I wasn’t entirely captivated by the story’s narrative, I was looking forward to joining the subsequent set-pieces and all its terrifying glory.

Photo courtesy of Capcom

Closing out the review, I’d like to give a quick rundown of what to expect from the gameplay. Capcom decided to continue the reimagined first-person approach from the previous “Resident Evil 7 Biohazard” rather than its traditional third-person over-the-shoulder view. I am pleased with this choice because it’s more intense and personal. The first-person perspective enables the player to be consumed by the engaging environments filled with one frightful creature after the next. As a result, it feels less of a video game and more of a full-on horror cinematic experience. I am grateful enough to own the elusive PlayStation 5, so it’s marvelous not having a single load screen interrupt the game’s immersion. Players with either a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S can explore every facet “Village” has to offer seamlessly.
If you’ve played any Resident Evil game, the shooting takes some time warming up, which is no different in “Village.” Don’t expect the gunplay to be similar to first-person shooters like “Call of Duty.” Crafting is highly accessible, clean, and fluent; players can make ammo, pipe bombs, mines, and health items with ease. There are a few quality-of-life improvements, such as automatically smashing boxes with a knife with the press of a button instead of equipping it every time.

Overall, “Resident Evil Village” was a blast, and I enjoyed my time with it even though I wanted more from the story. I would highly recommend it for any Resident Evil fan or new player that enjoys the horror genre. With the recent success of “Village,” a new rebooted movie on the way, and an upcoming Netflix animated series, “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness,” don’t be surprised if Capcom can continue their prestigious horror franchise for another 25 years.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].