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Resident Evil Village Review - Proof that size doesn't always matter...

Updated: May 10, 2021


 

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Reviewed on: PS5

Also available on: PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC

Release: 7th May 2021

Rating: R18+

 

Resident Evil Village is the latest instalment into the acclaimed and much loved Resident Evil franchise. In fact, I myself am a huge Resident Evil fan with it being one of my all time favourite franchises, with one exception of course (RE6 we're looking at you!). The series was previously reinvigorated by the wildly popular Resident Evil 7 and followed by a wave of much needed and very well done remakes of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3. But after a few years of remakes, Capcom is back with a new Resident Evil instalment, and in a big way!

 

If I could sum up Resident Evil Village with one statement it would be - it's all the things we loved the most about Resident Evil 4, mixed with all the things we loved the most about Resident Evil 7. It's dark, deep and full of jump scares but also manages to be more full of action than just about any RE game to date.



Resident Evil Village, is in fact a direct sequel to Resident Evil 7. You once again take control of Ethan Winters as his world is ripped from under him and he somehow finds himself once again contending with all things monsters and zombies-ish. In terms of overall level design and it's not quite zombie foes, Village immediately gives those Resident Evil 4 vibes (arguably the best RE game to date). From the moment I saw the trailer for Resident Evil Village I was excited; I was not disappointed.


There's no doubt for me that Resident Evil Village is a fantastic game and is absolutely one of the best Resident Evil games, for at least the last decade. Not only does it stack up in terms of story and action to the likes of RE7 but it also shows off what these next gen consoles are capable of….. Ish! Don't get me wrong, the game looks AMAZING, the large map areas, to the lycans themselves, there's a tonne of detail. Each house you enter tells its own little story, all of which adds yet another layer of intrigue and immersion, more so than just about any other game on the market. So it really bothered me (probably more than it should) when so much emphasis has been put into ray tracing - making sure everything glows and reflects the way it should; that is except the one thing that really should be reflecting better - the mirrors. Please tell me why, in a 2021 AAA game with ray tracing, we have no mirror reflections? I know it's only a small detail but it's one that really should be non existent these days. Check out the video below for an example of this in action.




<minor potential spoilers ahead> - very minor

(we mention something that happens roughly an hour into the game without any real details)


The story for Resident Evil Village, as I said, is a direct sequel to RE7 in which you're some years into the future, you and your wife Mia have a child called Rose and without giving too much away in terms of spoilers, Rose is taken and it's your job to track her down and bring her home. The story had me hooked from the get go, for reasons I can't go into, again for spoilers, but it was made personal and really thrust me into the story in ways I didn't expect it to. Vague I know, but RE8’s story is good enough for me not to want to spoil it for anyone. Once again however, there are some moments with it that leave you scratching your head. Just like with the graphics, so much effort has gone into making the story for Village really good, but this time it's negatively affected by some rather jarring things that happen, things we don't get the context for until the end of the game. One such example is at one point in the game, Ethan has his hand cut off…. I won't tell you when, I won't tell you how, but it happens. Oh and it's his shooting hand no less…. That's it, Game over right? WRONG! You simply pick your hand up, put some chem fluid on it and stick your hand back on… I mean really? I know it's all make believe but, that's something Dwayne ‘the rock’ Johnson would do in the latest Fast and Furious movies…This is explained later in the game, and it all makes a lot more sense, however at the time I just sat there and laughed to myself in disbelief. Aside from a few of these little moments (that being the biggest, by a long way) the story is good, very good. There's a good mixture of flashbacks and other side characters to add to the story and the lore as you go, keeping you enthralled throughout, The Duke (the vendor) doing most of the heavy lifting.



One of the reasons RE7 was such a huge success was its focus on horror. Resident Evil 5 and 6 were heading in a very action focused direction, a direction not many fans of the series liked. Number 7 however shifted very much back to the horror genre. Resident Evil Village however, takes that even one step further and while, for the most part it's probably not as scary and is more action than horror, there are parts of the game that are absolutely terrifying. There were certain parts of the game that absolutely messed with my head and had me on edge thinking I was seeing things out of the corner of my eye. I consider that a job well done. Packed full of jump scares and just downright ludicrous enemies (seriously, someone over at Capcom is a very twisted individual) the game is helped along by its amazing sound design. Playing with my JBL Quantum 800 headphones, ANC mode on the audio for this game is next level. There were times I'd literally turn my head to look, thinking I'd heard something behind me, or the sound of a chain link fence in the distance. It's not only positioned perfectly, but sounds super real and just really adds another layer of fear to an already terrifying game.


Much like Resident Evil 4 there's a roaming vendor who despite the overwhelming enemy forces around him, and his clear lack of agility or ability to fight in any way shape or form, seems to survive and be perfectly safe. Just like Resident Evil 4 he allows you to purchase items, upgrade weapons and even sell items for Leis to spend on the previous two. There's even references to the infamous Resident Evil 4 Vendor in the form of at least one comment made by The Duke “What're ya buying” he proclaims before explaining that it's just something a friend of his used to say. This is a famous line from RE4 and something the vendor in that game used to say all the time.



As mentioned before, Ethan now has the ability to add extensive upgrades and mods to his weapons, from upgraded mags to improved firepower, fire rate and much more. Like, RE4 this allows you to stay competitive as enemies get bigger and more powerful as the game progresses. Another big difference between RE7 and RE8 is Ethan's ability to block incoming attacks. This combined with that weapon upgrade system, it no longer feels like Ethan is just fighting for survival, but has some level of control over the outcome.


I can't believe I'm this far through my review and have yet to mention Lady Demetrescu, and her daughters or “The giant Lady from RE '' as she's known on the internet. Lady Demetrescu, is very reminiscent of Tyrant from RE2 in the sense that she's not only HUGE, but she stalks you around the castle much like Tyrant did through RCPD in RE2. Not giving you a moment's peace, you'll often find yourself running down a dead end or round in circles as you think about how to complete the next puzzle or where the next safe room is going to be. While Lady Demetrescu was all the internet could talk about when RE8 was announced, she is actually not in a very large portion of the game, featuring in only the first 90 minutes or so, however there are certainly plenty of other monsters and bosses to fight along the way. Each of these bosses are very different, and in true Resident Evil style they are usually not as easy as simply “shoot as much as you can”. They usually require you to work out the hidden puzzle or finding the trick to taking them down.



Clocking in at just over 9 hours on my first play through, its clear that Resident Evil Village isn't the large scale open world that you can clock in over 1000 hours in and still have things you've missed, nor is it the 25+ hours of the likes of The Last of Us 2, but its enough. Its so packed full of content that those 9 hours feel much fuller than most, proving once and for all that size doesn't matter. It felt like the perfect length in my opinion. Plus, if you're a real Resident Evil fan, one does not simply complete the game once, Resident Evil Village is another game you can play over and over to unlock all the weapons, or play mercenaries etc.


Speaking of Mercenaries, I am yet to play in this mode, which I probably should have but a combination of having a newborn and still managing to complete the games main campaign 2.75 times, I just haven't got around to it yet. But if its anything like mercenaries in Resident Evil 4 then it will be great.



It's hard to review a game like Resident Evil Village, because it's so story driven and I want to avoid any spoilers I can. However it's safe to say that Resident Evil Village while it isn't perfect, it's bloody close. It might not be for everyone, but if you liked Resident Evil 4 or you're a newcomer to the Resident Evil series, then I'd highly recommend you take a look, maybe just not the mirrors. Great graphics, enthralling story, and great gameplay make this an absolute contender and early front runner for our Game Of The Year award later in the year. One of the best Resident Evil games I've played, second probably only to Resident Evil 4. Which is a huge achievement and one that I think Capcom should be very proud of.



Our copy of Resident Evil Village was provided to us by Capcom for the purpose of a Review, however you can be sure that everything we say is 100% our truthful opinion of the game. I'm just a sucker for Resident Evil, always have been, always will be.


All images used in this review were captures by myself in game and are representative of the games visuals.



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