Published on May 22nd, 2021 | by Zorbz
REVIEW: RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE
Resident Evil Village is the 8th mainline installment in the Resident Evil franchise, which has a long history spanning back to the original Playstation. Whilst the series has predominantly been a 3rd person survival horror game, Resident Evil 7 introduced the first person camera perspective to the series, which RE Village follows suit with. My review was played on the Xbox Series X version which honestly doesn’t serve many advantages over the previous gen consoles, but more on that in the Graphics section, so let’s jump in.
Concept/Story: Res Evil Village follows on 3 years after the events of Resident Evil 7, once again pitting you in the shoes of Ethan Winters. Long story short and to avoid any spoilers, Ethan’s baby daughter Rose is kidnapped and so Ethan must journey through a European village filled with all sorts of nasties from Lycans, vampires, zombies and other grotesque beasts in order to rescue her.
The story all connects rather well with the previous title and loosely to the previous entries in the series despite shifting the focus to more traditional folklore monsters like vampires and werewolves.
This new entry still retains the heart and soul of Resident evil and definitely has some campy/corny moments that the series is know for as well as some intense and anxiety inducing horror moments. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Resident evil story then you’re sure to enjoy this one, especially if you were a fan of Resident Evil 4, also be sure to keep an eye out for easter eggs that refer back to previous titles.
Graphics: When i first saw footage of Village I thought it looked incredible, this was also confirmed when i first played the maiden demo on PS5. Little did i know that the base versions of the game also looked identical in every way. Here comes my only disappointment, the game looks fantastic don’t get me wrong, but it literally looks exactly the same on base console just with a lower resolution. Sure there is a ray tracing option for current gen, but it is so minimal you barely even notice it. So if this was to be scored on ps4 and xbox one then easily it would be a 5/5, the new consoles however I feel deserve to take a hit because there is nothing pushing the visuals beyond an improved frame rate and resolution.
Now this of course is welcome because the game runs a treat and is crystal clear, but I was just hoping for some next gen extra flourishes like even higher quality textures or added graphical effects not on base platforms.
That little grievance aside the game is still gorgeous as it pushes the previous gen to look the best a game can possibly look and even on the current gen consoles it still looks fantastic. The lighting work is probably some of the best I have ever seen on a console game and some of the surface textures like the wooden indoor architecture inside the castle to the golden embossed hallways just shine and look almost realistic.
Some textures however up close lose a lot of detail and especially some of the outside geometry like the rocks and trees but it’s not something you will find often as the majority of the texture work is on point. One of the best things about the village is it’s littered with things everywhere to make it feel lived in from the furnishings inside buildings to rubble scattered about from the aftermath of lycan attacks. This just adds to the overall sense that this was once a peaceful place that has now been ravaged by monsters.
Character models are definitely the strongest point in the visuals as anything from a standard enemy to major boss characters, everyone and everything is oozing with detail and unique designs. The lycans don’t look like every day werewolves you’re most likely accustomed to seeing and have their own unique look, other enemies especially as you progress further in the game are grotesque and kinda badass looking, especially the soldat enemies with drills for arms.
Each boss character has their own environment that fits perfectly to their mutation, Lady D lives in a lavish castle, Moreau is in a lake area which without spoiling fits his characteristics and so forth. I especially love going into the model viewer to see all the crazy designs up close and marvel at the amount of detail that went into each and every enemy and NPC.
So despite my complaint about not getting a true next gen update, the game looks damn fantastic either way and fortunately i didn’t have any graphical hiccups or any noticeable frame rate drops to take me out of the experience.
Gameplay: Once again following on from RE 7 the perspective is set in first person which really adds a lot more to the spooky nature of a horror game as you have a limited field of view as opposed to a third person title. Despite this view shift, the gameplay itself remains very true to the series and is especially reminiscent of Resident Evil 4 with it’s mix of action, horror and collectibles. Hell even the merchant throws in a ‘what are ye buyin’ joke.
The gunplay is so tight/responsive and pulling off headshots on a lycan only to see its head explode is still just as thrilling as it was exploding zombie heads back in the day. You can map out and hot swap between 4 weapons on the D-pad, with the art of swapping between guns being so fast that it looks like Ethan sprouts more arms. There’s everything from pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles, a trusty knife to a grenade launcher and a slew of more weapons to unlock even after the credits roll.
Ethan also has the ability to craft ammo and health vials depending on the amount of resources you pick up like herbs and scrap metal, which also adds to the experience of needing to check every nook and cranny to make sure you don’t miss out on any valuable items. These items can be resources for crafting, ammo pickups, collectibles to sell to the merchant or even just cash. Enemies also drop money which can spent at the merchant to upgrade your weapons, item capacity in your inventory as well as new weapons and health upgrades (if you go hunting animals). There is however no chest to store items, so make sure to sell any unwanted ammo or guns you’re no longer using.
Puzzles are very few and far between in this entry which is a little bit of a shame, but the overall gameplay is just so fun it didn’t really feel like I was missing much.
I feel like the overall village itself is a puzzle as you need to find certain keys to access new areas or unlock special chests for valuable items, as well as like in RE 4 finding those glinting crystals from caves as well as the new introduction of ‘goats of warding which were much like the blue emblems’
I loved the mix of action for the majority of the game with an especially terrifying section known as the Beneviento house which is straight up a PT experience, this section strips you of your weapons and is the most puzzle orientated area as well as the absolute most terrfying.
To keep it simple though, if you enjoyed the gameplay of RE 7 with the first person perspective, you’re gonna love this newest entry.
Sound: Wow did the atmosphere really come through my headset for this title as every creak, rustle of leaves, footsteps etc can be heard amidst an almost silent whisper of chilly air creating this unnerving experience from start to finish. Music kicks in where appropriate and just fits so well to the overall landscape and situation Ethan finds himself in. The sound of lycans or zombies in the distance always puts you on edge and at the ready and damn do those jumpscares hit hard when everything is all but silent, especially when all you can hear is Ethan’s breathing.
The voice acting is great by all and again retains that campy nature, but surprisingly the weakest of the voice actors to me at least is Ethan himself. His reactions just never match up properly with what is happening, there is not a level of desperation in certain scenes that i felt were needed, especially right at the start of the game. Anyways minor nitpick as it didn’t really take me too much out of the experience.
Awesomeness: One of the best features of Resident evil games is easily the replayability. There’s always something cool that unlocks after a first playthrough and RE 8 is no exception. Mercenaries mode is back and unlocked after finishing the story for some tough but fun arcade style gameplay that awards points for kills all in the name of achieving the highest ranking possible.
Not only that I replayed the story 3 times back to back searching for all the collectibles and upgrading my weapons as well as unlocking new special weapons that can be used from the start in new game plus. Unlocking things like infinite ammo for your favourite weapons really makes the harder difficulty playthroughs more of a breeze if you’re going after that platinum trophy or 100% achievements. It’s just such fun gameplay that i wanted to keep coming back, and honestly who doesn’t love feeling like a badass when they have infinite shotgun and grenade launcher ammo.
Final word: I absolutely loved my time spent in Resident Evil Village and definitely think Capcom nailed everything about it following on from the momentum of Resident Evil 7. Every Resident Evil release from 7 to RE Remake 2 and 3 have all been outstanding experiences from the gameplay to visuals and audio design. Master classes of gaming experiences and this is absolutely no different.
Whilst the perspective has changed, the gameplay of the series still remains the same, albeit with slightly less puzzles, but full of content to keep you entertained long after the credits roll.
Out of 5 Bugs!