Remember how, after the brutal Resident Evil 4 was released, Capcom screwed up the Resident Evil 5 thing a bit and finally did it with Resident Evil 6? Well, they went back to the same routine. While not perfect, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was an exciting new way to approach the survival horror franchise and put players in the shoes of a new protagonist, in a completely original setting: a Louisiana house that inhabited by the terrible Baker family.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard also used its first-person perspective (heavily inspired by PT) to heighten terror, exploration, and puzzles while unleashing lightning bolts of action, especially in the second half of the game. Resident Evil Village is much more focused on the action side, and while there is some exploration, horror, and inventory management, it is more like a first-person shooter than survival horror in many ways.
Here the players put on the shoes of Ethan Winters, who now lives with Mia Winters and her daughter Rose under the supervision of Chris Redfield. Ethan even received military training, the best way to explain his skills with guns. And now, as you may have seen in the trailers, Chris throws himself into the winter house, kills Mia, and takes both Ethan and Rose. After that, the player regains consciousness after the accident of the transport in which he was near a mysterious European village.
The village has been besieged by werewolves and Lycans, while the nearby castle has been occupied by vampire-like creatures who obey the orders of the exuberant and huge Lady Dimitrescu. Determined to find his missing daughter, Ethan sets off to explore the village, castle, and other locations. Ethan Winters is a terrible protagonist, and while he acted as a scared husband in Resident Evil 7, he doesn’t sound at all believable as an action hero in Village, even if he’s involved in a lot more than we can count.
Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters don’t like it too much. Although she was the standard bearer in promoting the game, especially after the internet ran out at her feet, the truth is that her role in the game is less. Everything was structured around certain objects that were protected by four people, the hierarchs or “children of Mother Miranda”, the great antagonist. Dimitrescu is the first to deal with, and her role is less influential than many would expect. The other three present different challenges (you don’t even allow the use of weapons and you form one of the “momentazos” in the game), but we won’t except anything.
In terms of gameplay and setting, Resident Evil 4 was a clear inspiration for Village. The game even allows you to barricade cabinet doors while trying to stop the werewolves. Exploring items and secrets as well as some easy puzzles are still part of the formula, but the game isn’t as scary or interesting as others with the same IP. You will return to the village quite often, usually armed with an item that you can use to find more secrets, but the layout of this area isn’t great and the lack of friendly characters to interact with makes the whole village a mess little boring.
There’s also the Duke, a new vendor that accepts high-quality items that you come across while exploring. Sell weapons, ammunition, and even blueprints to make your own items. There is even a culinary section where you can get ingredients to cook special dishes, which will give you permanent improvements like higher speed or health. You’ll have to explore the entire map to hunt animals like chickens and fish, as well as other specialties, and get these ingredients. It’s not the first time the series has featured animals, but they don’t fully fit.
In normal difficulty levels, the campaign took about 9 hours of gameplay, and although we weren’t 100% complete, we did a lot of research and found a lot of objects. You can expect a maximum of 11 hours of gameplay to do everything in one normal session. Fortunately, there are some extras to unlock, even development videos, though the big star is Mercenaries mode. If you are not familiar with the concept, it is an arcade mode where you will have to fight hordes of enemies for the best results. It’s fun and if you get addicted you will find plenty to discover in it.
Good in terms of visual and acoustic aspects. The game looks and plays well on PS5. We can’t talk about the previous generation versions, but the new generation’s work very smoothly despite the ray tracing function being activated. Yes, there are a few frame rate drops from time to time, but nothing that really affects the experience. The voice-over work isn’t particularly good, although it can be expected from any Resident Evil. Of course, we have to admit that we laughed at Ethan’s reactions more than once. He speaks as badly as one would expect someone surrounded by fantasy beings with very bad intentions.
Nor can we hold him responsible for anything related to direction and design decisions. While it’s by no means a bad game, it’s not a great Resident Evil either. Once again, Capcom seems unclear what fans love about its franchise, repeating past failures. Resident Evil shouldn’t be an action game, and while generally fun and good moments, Village has turned out to be a little disappointing, especially after the great direction of Resident Evil 7. The game leaves the door open for sequels, but only we can I hope Capcom understands this is not the way to go for Resident Evil.