We’re only weeks away from the return of Capcom’s survival horror series. Released on May 7 for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, Resident Evil Village propels RE 7’s Everyman protagonist, Ethan Winters, into a gruesome new storyline. Torn from a happy family life by events beyond his control, the once settled husband and father now find themselves lost and alone in a remote region of Eastern Europe, driven by one goal: to find his little one. kidnapped girl.
With the sweltering heat and horrors of the claustrophobic Baker family estate behind him, the snow-capped sprawl of a remote village and its surroundings presents new dangers and mysteries for Ethan. Since its initial announcement last June, Capcom has slowly teased what it is. Four months ago, the publisher gave PS5 players a taste of one of the game’s locations and its ruthless inhabitants with the Maiden demo.
Last week, three revelations. The first was a new showcase with new gameplay details (including confirmation that The Mercenaries bonus game mode was making a return). Inside that was the announcement of a new demo for PS5 and PS4 gamers (with another on the way on April 24). Finally, we got a chance to watch a longer portion of the PS5 gameplay taken through the game’s opening hours. It shows how the franchise’s first-person mechanics are constructed in ways that are both new and familiar. to the series. How exploration is managed. Take a closer look at the new threats you will face. And a surprising allusion to, of all things, the inter-family politics between the powers in power in the region.
Here’s what we found out.
Stay healthy, keep saving
Two pillars of the franchise are again changed. Your health bar will now disappear and return to the bottom left of your screen when changed (for better or worse), and be visible in inventory menus (like Resident Evil 4, the weapons has a case, limited space overlay). Village favors ink over the analog economy: RE7 tape recorders are out, the classic typewriter is back. No more ink ribbons – save as often as you want.
Ethan Winters must have large pockets. Resident Evil Village collects maps and files discovered in a book kept on your person. Also contained in its own tab, an evolutionary journal written by Ethan (with sketches!), Which tracks his progress. Great as a story recap and a quick guide to your next goal when you return to the game.
Things to note: your map is divided into three tabs. The first concerns the exteriors, the third the buildings. The middle tab is listed as “Underground”.
A growing threat
The intersection of Ethan’s diary with a letter recovered from one of the abandoned houses in the village provides a larger context for the game’s story and its timeline. In his diary, Ethan dates the day of the game as February 9. The letter speaks of cattle lost during that winter, torn repeatedly by something lurking in the surrounding countryside. Even before Ethan’s arrival, the threat – whatever it is – is widely known and has increased in frequency and ferocity.
They are called Lycans
The wild beasts that have made their way through trailers to this day have an official name: the Lycans. They are the main threat to Ethan and others while we are in the village part of the demo. Capcom explains that these creatures mainly attack in packs, so it’s best to isolate them and take them out one by one. This information is associated with a disturbing image of lonely Lycans leaning over the rooftops here and there around the village. Everyone growls and slowly changes position as Ethan walks by. It’s incredibly tense. To shoot is to be overwhelmed, but you will never know when they can pounce.
And not content with ripping and tearing with teeth and claws, these muscle and hair bristling killers can also carry weapons and – in the cutscene that wraps up the village section – ride horses.
For whom the bell rings
More Resident Evil 4 Echoes: This scene ends with a nearby bell calling out the massive Lycans along with their oversized pack leader and wielding a hammer. They run out of sight. Capcom gives no explanation as to the bell, who rang it, or what its ultimate goal is. They probably don’t go to bingo …
A variety of creative puzzles are scattered throughout the game.
The village is a dense network of small roads, gardens, backyards and households. Some of these are multi-story rooms containing collectibles such as coins as well as recognizable consumables. Another parallel to Resident Evil 4: Larger objects can be moved on doors and windows to create makeshift barricades. Tactically deployed, these will stack the odds in your favor when pursued or surrounded.
It is suggested that the village will serve as a hub to cross when you make your way to other locations, such as Dimitrescu Castle, exploring which is the second half of the gameplay demo. This place is just as dense and filled with its own unique dangers.
As you might expect, access to certain areas is locked until the correct item – bolt cutters, screwdrivers, wrenches, or special items – is added to your inventory.
The village is not empty. Exploring properties uncovers what remains of his population, such as the man wielding a shotgun spotted in previous trailers that ultimately gives Ethan his first real firepower: a pistol. In the same vein, you
run into an injured father and his daughter who refuses to leave his side. This unlocks a new mission: escorting them to a nearby safe haven. This journey and its aftermath provides a great insight into the strengths of Resident Evil Village:
several showcases (both silent and explosive) of RE Engine visuals. The sharp and perfectly paced transition from slow fear to action horror and vice versa. A fight that is both thrill and dread.
Capcom’s photogrammetry technology continues to produce incredibly complex environments. For example, take a simple dilapidated house in the village: rubbish littered the yard, from an abandoned animal transporter to tin cans, each rendered in lifelike detail. Arrows stab a fallen wooden beam, signs of a past battle. Snow covers the ground, with blades of dead grass crossing it. The dead calm of the densely detailed surroundings produces a somber yet fascinating atmosphere.
Keep your head focused on hidden gems, like Resident Evil 4.
Pull, push, hit, collect, improve, repeat
As with previous games, aim carefully to conserve ammo and permanently take down enemies as efficiently as possible. Ethan can raise his arms again to decrease the damage taken, but he can also knock back some enemies, even launch a counterattack. A more aggressive playstyle that might make sense for the time and points based Mercenaries mode, but kills also earn you currency and items in the campaign. Managing resources is always an integral part of your survival, but there are specific rewards for honing your goal: Money (and some collectibles) can be exchanged for upgrades at the local merchant, The Duke.
The knife, pistol, and shotgun were all deployed during the game’s demo (unused but spotted in Ethan’s repertoire were mines, and the trailers demonstrated the power that is the game’s sniper rifle. ). All of them have base reload speeds, fire rates, and ammo capacity that can be upgraded with a few coins thrown into the Duke’s palm.
You have the option to buy ammo from the Duke, find bullets all over the world, or combine materials to craft your own. In another apparent nod to RE4, collected treasures like crystal skulls and pendants can be sold for quick cash.
Meet the mysterious Heisenberg
The Duke is far from the only scheming character you’ll believe. We bump into Heisenberg, the stranger wearing a coat and dark glasses spotted in the previous clips. He moves to capture Ethan immediately. How he does this is a surprise: In addition to his intimidating mammoth hammer, he can also manipulate objects in the environment to achieve surprising results. Stay alert when facing Heisenberg.
Lady Dimitrescu Stems
The towering, intimidating matriarch has captured the attention of horror fans, but little is known about its impact on gameplay. In the preview, we saw the lady stalking Ethan through the castle halls with the slow, steady, confident pace of a classic horror slasher. His towering stature and need to squeeze through doors is reminiscent of the lingering tyrant of the RE2 remake (aka Mr. X). Escape seems to be the name of the game when she’s on your trail, sharp claws extended.
Spotted briefly in the trailer and played out more fully in the demo, a cutscene introduces us to several key characters, including the infamous Lady Dimitrescu and the aforementioned Heisenberg. Without revealing anything of a mess, it’s clear that the assembled motley crew have unique personalities and motivations. Similar to members of the Baker family from RE7, each of these key antagonists appear to have unique methods of making Ethan’s life hell.
“Why is this happening again !?”
Ethan Winters is a unique type of protagonist in Resident Evil. Following his heart-wrenching experience battling the deranged Baker family in RE7, Ethan once again finds himself in a waking nightmare in RE Village. You can’t help but feel bad for the unhappy person. Unlike the other protagonists in the RE series, Ethan doesn’t have an elite supercup roster. He does not appear to have a support network outside of his broken family. In contrast, survivors of previous RE games banded together, organized, and fought back against evils like Umbrella. Ethan Winters… is alone. Sure, series hero Chris Redfield is back, but his role in Ethan’s story is unclear and fraught with aggressive tensions. Taken as a whole, Ethan’s situation creates a unique sense of isolation and hopelessness in RE Village that heightens the mood of horror.
Capcom leans on a Gothic horror aesthetic, with gargoyle-like enemies flying around the castle’s dark spiers.
The gameplay demo eventually leads us to the halls of Castle Dimitrescu and ends with another look at her secrets and her encounters with the Lady of the Castle and her trio of flesh-hungry girls. We’re a world away from the Baker family and the Molded, but Ethan is once again at the mercy of a twisted family dynamic surrounded by vicious monstrosities. Only with constant purpose, keen wit, and intelligence will he save – will we – his own family and escape.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.