Resident Evil Village review – Capcom pays homage to horror genre, but does it pay off? | Gaming | Entertainment

Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village PS5 review (Image: CAPCOM)

After a few less than impressive entries in the Resident Evil series, 2017’s Biohazard was a return to form for the famous Capcom survival horror franchise.

It also proved that the series could reinvent itself, without losing all of the things that made us fall in love with Resident Evil to begin with. In other words, Biohazard felt like a Resident Evil game, even though it looked completely different.

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Adopting the same first-person perspective as the previous mainline entry, Resident Evil Village continues where Biohazard left off, once again with Ethan Winters in a starring role.

The big difference is the Eastern European village setting. It’s a far cry from the Louisiana plantation featured in Biohazard, and much closer to the location used in Resident Evil 4. (One of many similarities between this and Resi 4.)

Despite the aesthetic differences, however, the structure of the game and the way things unfold is surprisingly similar to Biohazard.

Instead of Baker family members hunting Ethan within separate areas of the plantation, players battle the four lords of the village within their individual domains. The village itself acts as a kind of central hub, albeit one where you’re likely to stumble across a werewolf or two.

The result is a game that feels a lot bigger and more varied than Resident Evil Biohazard, as Capcom draws from countless horror sub-genres and former games.

The problem with this disparate approach is that it can feel like you’re playing a completely different game from one location to the next.

There are parts so terrifying they could scare the spots off a teenager, while other bits are so laughably silly you’ll find it hard not to chuckle.

While the changes in pace, tone and atmosphere will keep you on your toes, Village doesn’t feel as cohesive or as consistent as a result.

Fortunately, the central plot is strong enough – at least in the way it’s set up – to motivate you to keep playing, even if the conclusion falls a little flat.

If you’ve been watching the trailers, then you’re probably wondering why Chris Redfield has seemingly turned heel, Why Ethan Winters is in a creepy European village, and why there’s a 10ft woman chasing after you.

While not every outcome is completely satisfactory, I always wanted to find out what was going to happen next. I can’t say I felt that way during Resident Evil 5 and 6, despite both games featuring iconic characters from the series’ past.

PS5: PlayStation release trailer for Resident Evil Village

It’s arguably much easier to stay invested when the world is weaved together so masterfully. From Software may deservedly get the plaudits when it comes to level design, but the Resident Evil team isn’t far behind.

Special praise must also go to the sound team. Whether it’s the chink of metal, the creak of wood, or the faint cries of goodness knows what, the sound department is responsible for a vast majority of the nightmares you’ll experience after shutting off the PlayStation (or Xbox/PC).

Speaking of the PS5 version, I would have liked it if Capcom had done more with the DualSense controller, especially when you consider how effectively it was used in something like Returnal.

There is minor DualSense support – some trigger resistance on certain weapons, for example – but not as much as there could be.

On the plus side, loading times and saving times are virtually non-existent, and graphically it’s a real looker, particularly the lighting effects.

The main takeaway from the Village experience is that it feels a bit like a greatest hits package, not just in the context of past Resident Evil games, but the horror genre in general.

There’s gothic horror and haunted houses, industrial horror and H.P. Lovecraft influences, plus all-out action areas with an overwhelming number of monsters.

In Resident Evil terms it’s a straight up mix between Biohazard and Resident Evil 4, just not as pleasantly surprising as the former, and not as good as the latter.

I’m not saying it’s not entertaining, and if you’re a fan of the series, then I wholeheartedly recommend it. I just can’t imagine revisiting this as often as I have some of the previous games. 

To put it another way, if Resident Evil Village was a Premier League football team, it would be fighting for a European spot and not the league title. If it was on Cameo, it would charge hundreds of pounds for a message, not thousands. If it was a singleton looking for love… well, you get the message.

If none of that made a lick of sense to you – and even I’m not sure where I was going with that last comparison – then what I’m trying to say is that while Resident Evil Village is top tier, it’s not quite God tier.

VERDICT: 4/5





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