Not all monsters hide in the shadows. Ethan Winters discovers this within minutes of entering this remote village at the foot of a medieval castle. The sun has barely burned down the morning mist when voracious horrors attack it with fangs. Resident Evil Village’s opening hours create an incredibly tense tone that blends moody, atmospheric horror with roller coaster firefights that keep Ethan an inch away from his life. And like an ultra marathon runner, Village maintains this exciting pace until the credits roll.
Ethan’s journey forces him to explore a ramshackle barrack, blood-soaked wine cellars, and a creepy mansion with animated china dolls. These locations are the perfect backdrop for a series of bloody encounters. My stomach tightened as a deformed baby-like mutation chased me through a dimly lit basement, and I had to stop and catch my breath after a harrowing shootout in a growling truck the size of a truck. The environment and the hostile design of the village are superb, making it one of the scariest Resident Evil games ever.
Ethan is slowly collecting the usual assortment of shotguns, pistols, and grenade launchers to combat this assortment of otherworldly horrors. Village’s arsenal doesn’t hold many surprises, but all of the gunplay is more sophisticated than what we had in its predecessor. Running away from the slowly marching enemies of Village isn’t difficult, but it’s still exciting to navigate their barrage of fangs. The real challenge is staying calm long enough to set up a series of headshots while these hordes strain your position, and I’ve said goodbye to most encounters with an adrenaline rush. A handful of other opponents – like a meme lover Lady Dimitrescu – pursue Ethan relentlessly throughout the game, much like Mr. X from RE 2. You never know when one of these villains will saunter around a corner, which creates noticeable tension, however These sequences always ended in an epic, resource-intensive boss fight.
When I wasn’t fighting tooth and nail for my life, I would scour every room from floor to ceiling, looking for more ammunition, medicines, and other valuable tools. As in previous Resident Evil games, the Village map does an excellent job of communicating which rooms have been vacated and which ones still contain some hidden treasure. However, some items are better hidden than others. On the one hand, Village encouraged me to douse its finely detailed surroundings with a fine-toothed comb; I’ve enjoyed most of these scavenger hunts and checking a room from my map has always been satisfactory. On the other hand, some items remained stubbornly hidden even after a few minutes of scrubbing, so trying to find every item in every room became a bit of a chore. Fortunately, even a cursory search of each room will provide enough equipment to guide you through the upcoming exams.
Developing a keen eye for detail is also important in solving Village’s few environmental puzzles. I love how these puzzles provide a much-needed stress relief, and most of the Village’s puzzles got me started off with. Unfortunately, some puzzle solutions are obscured by fuzzy logic. For example, I had to brutally force my way through a puzzle involving rotating statues because the clues were misleading. Even after stumbling upon the solution, it still took me a while to work out the underlying logic. Fortunately, Village doesn’t throw many puzzles in your path, and most of them are satisfactorily simple so speed bumps are rare.
Resident Evil Village’s narrative is more compelling than I expected. Ethan’s still a boring everyone, but his journey to save his daughter is full of wild characters and a handful of surprising moments. The Village narrative was never the main thing that got me forward, but I’m glad to see that Capcom actually put some thoughts into this world, and some of the late game changes made me really excited to see where the series was going next .
Resident Evil Village is an impressive package. I loved the recent remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3, but I’m excited to see Capcom pushing the series back on. Village expands Resident Evil 7: Biohazard’s approach to first-person combat, featuring a series of white knuckle encounters that perfectly compliment Capcom’s annoying environmental design. Fortunately, the increased action from Village doesn’t lessen the horror. If anything, Village has a sense of fear that few games can match. If you have the intestinal fortitude for intense terror, playing Resident Evil Village is a great way to get your pulse checked.