Resident Evil Village assessment | PC Gamer
What’s it? A primary-person survival horror recreation.
Anticipate to pay £50/$60
Reviewed on RTX 2080 Tremendous, Intel i7-9700K, 16GB RAM
Multiplayer Being added later
Hyperlink Official website
Resident Evil Village begins with a scene of home bliss, as our hero Ethan Winters (getting back from Resident Evil 7) and his spouse Mia put together dinner and take care of their new child child, Rosemary. Then one thing dangerous occurs—I will not say what, as a result of it is fairly stunning—and shortly Ethan finds himself misplaced in an remoted village in a snowstorm, trying to find his kidnapped baby. It is a sharp, sudden intro, however an efficient one, instantly setting the stakes excessive and establishing Village’s brutal, sadistic tone.
It is by no means explicitly said the place the village the sport takes its title from is situated, however a number of clues level in the direction of it being nestled someplace within the wintry mountains of Romania. The village itself is a scrappy, ramshackle scattering of wooden and brick homes, farmer’s fields, and the occasional church. Over it looms a gothic fort with immense spires stretching into the mist, and there are additionally traces of historic ruins, suggesting an extended and unusual historical past. It is a magnificent setting, dripping with environment, menace, and thriller—and a spot I wished to discover each darkish, dingy nook of.
Ethan is a boring man who all the time appears confused about what is going on on, and by no means has something attention-grabbing to say. This makes him a barely unremarkable protagonist, however his excessive normality does heighten the eccentricity of the village’s many oddball residents. The earlier recreation’s Baker household have been a comparatively grounded bunch of ghouls, however right here Capcom has critically ramped up the monstrousness of its antagonists. As Ethan hunts for Rose, he goes up in opposition to an impossibly tall and glamorous vampire, a bizarre mutant fish-man, a killer porcelain doll, and different assorted weirdos.
What I like about Village is that it by no means settles on being only one form of horror recreation. Every villain’s lair encompasses a very totally different tackle the style, from breathless, action-packed survival in opposition to hordes of enemies, to a extra slow-burning, psychological model of horror. It is a recreation overflowing with cool, memorable concepts, always inventing intelligent, stunning new methods to boost your coronary heart charge and jolt you out of your consolation zone. And it manages to maintain this up for just about the whole period of the sport.
Every part is so wildly totally different, Village virtually has the texture of a horror anthology. Admittedly, this could make it really feel inconsistent at occasions, as if all of the elements are flimsily strung collectively. You usually get the sense that Capcom had the concepts for the sport’s many sensible set-pieces first, then determined the best way to join all of them collectively on the final minute. Nevertheless it’s value it for the variability this strategy gives. You genuinely by no means know what recent weirdness the developer goes to throw at you subsequent.
This not solely makes this probably the most diverse Resident Evil up to now, however arguably the scariest. Among the finest examples of that is the mansion of Donna Beneviento, a dollmaker and one of many village’s rulers. In her creaking, dusty previous home—which is suffering from dozens of eerie, black-eyed dolls in varied states of disrepair—you are compelled by way of a sequence of brilliantly constructed moments of understated, excruciatingly tense horror, culminating in an encounter that may nicely be the scariest single second in Resident Evil historical past.
In one other part you are hunted by Girl Dimitrescu, the aforementioned lofty vampire. Her fifteenth Century fort is an opulent labyrinth of ornate, gilded corridors and shadowy drawing rooms, lavishly adorned and softly lit by candles. It is an extremely atmospheric setting, and the imposing Girl D bearing down on you (crouching to squeeze by way of doorways which are a lot too small for her) is thrillingly nerve-wracking. As she pursues, it’s a must to hunt for objects to unlock the principle gate, which includes some mild puzzling and, in true Resi model, mentally mapping the constructing.
Citadel Dimitrescu is maybe the very best showcase of Resident Evil’s spectacular visuals—however the whole recreation is simply obscenely fairly. The environments are richly detailed and stunningly lit, with a tangible layer of grime and texture to each object and floor. It runs easily, even at excessive resolutions, and raytracing makes for some attractive lighting and reflections. The character fashions are additionally spectacular, with expressive, convincing animation bringing the solid horribly to life. The English voice performing is a little bit hammy, however for probably the most half this fits these absurd, egomaniacal characters.
The fort and dollmaker’s mansion are among the many sequence’ most memorable set-pieces. However I do want that they had squeezed extra out of a few of them. In a single sense, I do respect how Capcom resists the urge to exploit its concepts dry, enthusiastically tossing them apart to current one thing new to the participant. This retains issues feeling recent and unpredictable all through. However sometimes I might attain the tip of considered one of these sequences and suppose “Is that it?” Typically I simply want the sport would give me extra time to soak all of it in earlier than shoving me by way of to the subsequent room of the haunted home.
Elsewhere, the horror is extra rapid. Whereas Resident Evil 7 had one kind of standard enemy—the sludge-like Molded—Village options an array of savage horrors known as Lycans. These feral, snarling creatures are available in varied varieties, and it’s a must to commonly swap up your ways to combat them. The usual grunt Lycan is not overly highly effective, however they’re agile and athletic, capable of leap at you all of the sudden from a distance and clamber up partitions and ladders, which makes for some entertainingly dramatic, fast-paced battles.
I discovered the common Lycans too cartoonishly werewolf-like to essentially be scared by them, however later iterations are rather more intimidating. There are some actually tousled creatures within the latter half of Village, together with twitching biomechanical horrors with drills for arms, guys with chunks of rusty steel screwed to them as makeshift armour, and different equally grim examples of Clive Barker-esque physique horror. It makes these sentient blobs of black slime from RE7 appear very lame as compared.
Whereas a lot of Village takes place in tight, slender areas, it generally opens up into bigger arenas constructed with fight in thoughts. Right here you may discover explosive barrels to lure teams of enemies in the direction of, roofs to climb, homes to slide into, and furnishings to tug throughout doorways to stem the move of Lycans. These sections are enjoyably frantic, however are much less attention-grabbing than the moments when you do not have to fireside your weapon a lot, or in any respect. Village is an honest first-person shooter, however each time Capcom focuses on environment and rigidity over motion, it is a greater recreation.
Nonetheless, the developer appears to have virtually solely misplaced curiosity in puzzles. There are a number of in Village, however they’re extraordinarily straightforward, with options which are all the time staring you proper within the face. As somebody who has all the time loved the arcane, convoluted puzzles in Resident Evil video games, I discover this barely disappointing. It does make for a pacier recreation, with fewer interruptions to the move of exploration and fight. However I like these interruptions, and I really feel like Village may have benefited from being a little bit extra cerebrally taxing. I did not get caught as soon as within the 11 hours it took me to complete it.
Ethan has only a few allies within the village, they usually are inclined to die horribly not lengthy after assembly him. However a mysterious character referred to as The Duke is a continuing pleasant presence. He is a service provider with a curiously enigmatic character, and all the time appears to be one step forward of you. Flip a nook in a brand new space and you will find him there, quietly puffing on a cigar, eagerly awaiting your coin. He sells weapons, ammo, crafting blueprints, and different useful stuff, and can purchase any treasure you occur to select up—together with the crystalised stays of bosses, which all the time fetch a tidy value.
The Duke also can improve weapons and switch uncooked components into meals that completely improve your well being, defence, and motion velocity. As you discover the village you may encounter a variety of wildlife together with pigs, sheep, chickens, and the occasional fish splashing round in a stream. Shoot them they usually’ll drop meat, which The Duke can then use to whip up considered one of these tasty stat-boosting feasts. That is considered one of a number of non-compulsory quests and distractions, which assist Village really feel barely much less linear than the final recreation, even when the story does observe a strictly prescribed path.
Working into The Duke offers me the identical feeling of aid I get once I discover a protected room within the previous Resident Evil video games. It is an opportunity to breathe, regroup, tidy up your cluttered stock, and save on the close by typewriter. Sure, typewriters are again, however you do not want ink ribbons to make use of them. Stock administration is a crucial consideration in Village, however restricted to weapons, ammunition, and well being objects. There are not any magic merchandise packing containers on this recreation, so if a weapon or another cumbersome object is taking on an excessive amount of house, you may both should promote it or pay to extend the dimensions of your stock.
Necessary objects like door keys and objects wanted to resolve puzzles do not take up any stock house, and are saved in a separate, bottomless menu—which is one main means Village streamlines the traditional Resident Evil components. Treasure does not take up any stock house both, so you possibly can carry round as many crystal skulls as you want. I have to admit, I miss the previous system, the place choosing up a key may imply sacrificing a weapon or another useful merchandise. Nevertheless it does imply much less time spent in menus or backtracking to search out merchandise packing containers, which, once more, will increase the general tempo of the sport.
In comparison with RE7, Village has a way more attention-grabbing construction. A big, open sq. within the centre of the village acts as a hub, from which all the key places within the recreation department off, locked by a sequence of keys. This can be a protected zone, much like the principle corridor of RE2’s police station, and also you revisit it often. Right here you get easy accessibility to The Duke, in addition to the entrances to every villain’s lair. The village can also be hiding a number of non-compulsory areas, which include additional story particulars, uncommon treasure, and minibosses. This rewards you for taking the time to wander away the crushed path and discover.
Though Resident Evil 7 had the texture of a tender reboot, solely calmly referring to the sequence’ bigger mythology, Village comprises some main revelations that impression each recreation within the sequence in hindsight. In case you’re a fan of those tales and you’re feeling like the previous few video games have been mild on new details about this universe and characters, Village won’t disappoint. However the vital factor is that it isn’t a type of Resi sequels that bombards you with dumb new lore. These revelations are massive and vital, however sit quietly within the background, letting Ethan’s story stand by itself.
Ending the story unlocks a retailer the place you should buy a choice of extras with an in-game foreign money earned by unlocking achievements. These embrace a return of The Mercenaries, a fan favorite arcade/time assault mode. In Village’s tackle it, you should purchase objects and weapons from The Duke between rounds. However in any other case it stays trustworthy to the mode popularised by Resi 4. There is a New Sport+ mode too, which helps you to carry your weapons and character upgrades over to a second, tougher playthrough.
Village can sometimes really feel like half a dozen totally different horror video games jammed collectively. However the power and number of its concepts, the standard of the artwork course, and its darkly evocative environment greater than make up for it. It is a daring and experimental horror recreation, but in addition one which leans into the sequence’ previous glories—notably Resident Evil 4. There’s loads of Mikami’s 2005 reinvention right here, from the enigmatic service provider and weapon upgrades, to the agricultural setting and corrupted villagers. However in the end, Village is its personal recreation with its personal id, and the weather it borrows from earlier sequels by no means outline it. This can be a high quality horror recreation in its personal proper, and proof Resident Evil nonetheless has the ability to thrill, shock, and scare 25 years on.