The Resident Evil franchise holds a very special place in my heart—and as a fan-boy, I couldn’t have been more excited about RE Village’s release.
That said, after finishing the main story, and playing around with separate difficulties, I can say that RE 8 is a great addition to the series, even if it doesn’t necessarily feel like a RE game. More on that later.
Set after the events of RE 7, you follow Ethan Winters into another horrible situation—this time, in an attempt to rescue his daughter, Rose.
Vampires, werewolves, lycans, gargoyles, all are just waiting around the corner for your arrival—not to mention a line-up of villains intriguing enough for a love-hate relationship to develop.
Alcina or Lady Dimitrescu – who has gotten most of the attention, for obvious reasons
Karl Heisenberg – who bears a striking resemblance to van helsing
Salvatore Moreu – a vile, sad little fish man , who not much more can be said for
Donna Bienviento – think Bride of Chucky mixed with the poltergeist
And of course, Mother Miranda – the master shape-shifter and matriarch of them all
Location and surroundings shift pretty noticeably, depending on which villain arc you’re currently progressing through, and while the game can feel a bit streamlined at times, it breaks the monotony enough to keep things feeling new.
Resident Evil Village Gameplay
RE Village gameplay improves upon what worked well in RE 7, sticking with first person perspective and adding elements from series’ entries that came before—namely, RE 4.
It’s obvious that Capcom made a concerted effort to make RE Village feel familiar, giving similar vibes to what is arguably the most well-recieved RE game in history. Developers even made obvious callbacks with things like in-game dialogue (“what’re ya buying?”)—in other words, they knew exactly what they were doing creating the feel for this game.
The most obvious RE 4 inspired implementation comes in the form of the Duke—a modern-day, much, much fatter version of the Merchant.
And with merchants come weapon customization and a micro economy to play around with, making collectible items feel more worthwhile. Given the fact that you’ll be able to sell them for upgrades, enhancements, etcetera. etcetera.
Naturally with weapons customization, you’re looking at a slightly more gun-play focused Resident Evil game when it comes to combat— certainly more so than 7, but not nearly as out of control as 6 (barring one, specific part of the story—which was executed perfectly, in my opinion). But this is a relatively spoil free review, so I won’t go into detail about what that section is—you’ll have to find out in the game.
Using defensive techniques against enemies (i.e .blocking with your hands and pushing) plays a much more significant role—and will take some getting used to if you’re more the type to take the offensive approach. You of course still have series staples such as the combat knife, although how often you use it will vary wildly, depending difficulty and your playstyle.
Speaking of difficulty, depending on your need for a challenge, game modes will largely determine your experience with RE Village.
A seasoned veteran of RE 7? Hardcore might be more your speed. Series newbie? Standard is probably a good bet. Simply here for the story and visuals? Casual at your service.
Most people will find standard difficulty pretty evenly balanced between enjoying the game and story, with only minor spikes in difficulty along the way. However, if you’re looking for a true survival horror experience —limited ammo, hard hitting enemies, less healing, that type of stuff—Hardcore (and village of shadows for second playthroughs) will likely yield a better experience.
Be mindful that the pacing can feel a bit off at higher difficulties—specifically in earlier portions of the game when your equipment is clearly outranked by enemy AI and hit points. So you’ll need to exercise a bit of patience in some situations. Will you experience Dark Souls levels of Frustration? Maybe for 1 or 2 early sections, but generally not anywhere near souls game levels.
It’s also worth mentioning, that in a fashion similar to all Resident Evil games, you can expect good levels of replayability, and likely some DLC in the future (if RE 7 is any indication). Although, nothing is in the works at the time of this being published. As far as I know.
**Update** Capcom has officially announced DLC for RE Village, which is currently in development
Resident Evil Visuals and Design
RE Village looks incredible, whether on previous generation consoles, next gen, or of course PC. In my opinion, it’s the best looking Residebt Evil game ever next to the remakes, and stylistically the environments have an authentic, transylvania feel to them, making the immersion feel present for the most part.
As mentioned earlier, each villain has their own unique portion of the map, all with noticeably distinct feels to them. From the iconic castle to Heisenberg’s factory, you’re getting a nice mix of locations that still feel appropriate to the RE inspired world in which they reside.
Beyond the environments, enemy designs are some of the creepiest you’ll come across, thanks to impressive visuals and sound design.
Frighteningly hollow eyes, and creepy body language from the Lycans—Varcolacs with their half werewolf appearance and 90s haircut, Lady Dimitrescu and her Mr X-like mechanics. The game has character and charm oozing from so many different origins, and it’s hard to dislike how this game presents itself.
Resident Evil Village Criticisms
Resident Evil 8 did a lot of things right, but it isn’t without its flaws.
Without ruining the story, Ethan is purposefully made forgettable in ways—from both his faceless-ness, and relatively underwhelming personality—and he feels like more of a stop gap character or catalyst moving into the series’ future.
This isn’t to say Ethan is terrible, but a more charismatic and/or physically tangible figure may serve future games well, even if the first person viewpoint sticks.
Another mention goes to the dfficulty jumps regarding scaling, and it should be noted that some areas feel a bit unfair in hardcore, particularly in the early stages of a first play through. A setting in between hardcore and casual might of done a lot of good here, but it should also be said that scaling fixes itself in later stages of the game on higher difficulties, once you’ve had the chance to upgrade your weapons in meaningful ways.
Overall, RE Village is a well-made experience, proving that Capcom is making changes that are better in line with older, more successful titles. If you loved RE 7, you’ll probably love RE 8 too, just for different reasons.
It doesn’t feel 100% like a resident Evil game, similar to how RE 7 felt so starkly different from previous titles, but I think this is more of a byproduct of an evolving RE universe, rather than a negative for the series as a whole.
Without going too much into detail, it’s obvious Rose will play a significant role in RE’s future, be it for a immediate sequels or long term—hell, Capcom might not even know just yet.
But if you’re looking for a well made Resident Evil game, with great gun-play mechanics, impressive visuals, and a nice call back to Resident Evil 4, which is one of the greatest Resident Evil games of all time—Resident Evil is certainly worth picking up, and I think the series has a promising future, if they continue to build on the good foundation they’ve already managed to create.