So, the latest version of “Resident Evil” is finally here. It’s a long time since we saw short previews of the game during the PS5 launch trailer last year, and the very brief demos Capcom allowed us to play didn’t really give us much of a feel for the game, so most people who’ve bought it thus far have gone into it fairly blind. If you’re on the fence about whether it’s a worthwhile investment or not, you’re probably waiting for a review. Wait no longer. We’ve spent a few days playing “Resident Evil: Village” already, and these are our thoughts.
The first thing we want to point out is that it’s crazy to label this game “Resident Evil 8,” which is what Capcom has tried to do. There are, at last count, more than twenty “Resident Evil” games. That’s not even counting the tie-in games, such as the online slots game based on “Resident Evil 6.” Most players aren’t even aware it exists, but it’s still doing respectable numbers at online slots websites for gamblers who don’t mind the odd scare while they’re trying to win money. As far as we’re aware, there are no plans to make a version of “Resident Evil: Village” and upload it to Rose Slots For New Zealand players, but you never know. This franchise is one of Capcom’s biggest moneymakers, whether we’re talking “regular” games, online slots, or even TV shows and movies. Anything is possible, and pretending there are only seven previous instalments in the franchise is bizarre.
Now we’ve got that gripe out of the way, let’s talk about the game. The first thing any player should want a “Resident Evil” game to be is creepy, and “Village” delivers that in buckets. The snowy rural village setting would be unsettling even if it wasn’t full of zombies and people dressed in curiously 18th-century garb, and the game’s designers have done an excellent job of universe building. In fact, some people think they’ve gone too deep with it. We’ve seen some reviewers suggest that the designers have spent too long focusing on continuity from previous games and not enough time coming up with new ideas, but we don’t agree with that. It’s definitely true that you’ll get a few kicks from the story if you’re intimately familiar with the last few games in the series, but there’s nothing stopping new players from getting involved. If you haven’t checked in with the series since the first one or two “Resident Evil” games – or even if you’ve never played a “Resident Evil” game before – you shouldn’t be put off the idea of picking this one up. It won’t exclude you from the narrative.
It’s always been obvious that the designers of “Resident Evil” games spend a lot of time watching horror movies for inspiration when they’re in the process of making a new game, but it may never have been more apparent than it is with “Resident Evil: Village.” We’re all familiar with the “vampire lady” from the trailers. She’s called Lady Dimitrescu, and she belongs to the pages of a certain famous Bram Stoker novel. She’s also not in the game as much as the trailers might make you believe she is, so don’t get disappointed when she vanishes from the story fairly early on. Donna Beneviento is a character who’d have a home in the “Bride of Chucky” series for reasons we won’t get into here because of spoilers, and there’s also a character called Heisenberg (sadly no “Breaking Bad” connections) who basically makes Frankenstein-like monsters. Throw in a merman for good measure and what we’re essentially telling you is that the “bad guys” in “Resident Evil: Village” aren’t especially original. That doesn’t stop them from being scary, though, which they very much are.
If you’ve played “Resident Evil 7” and you were expecting more of the same, you’ll probably be a little disappointed. The Baker family storyline is over, and the witch at the heart of this tale isn’t quite as frightening. You’re guaranteed a few good jump scares, but the genuine horror that leaked out of the digital pores of the Baker family characters isn’t present here. If this were a movie, it would be more of a psychological horror than a slasher. Your job isn’t just to survive the game and escape at the other end with your life – you have a mystery to solve and a compelling reason to get to the bottom of it even if it costs you your life. It’s an interesting hook. It’s not what we’ve come to expect from “Resident Evil,” but we enjoyed it. We should also point out that it looks fantastic, as other reviewers have also noticed. This is the franchise’s first time out on the new generation of consoles, and Capcom has made excellent use of the technology. This game looks and feels far superior to anything you’d be able to play on a PlayStation 4.
Those of you who enjoy “Resident Evil” games for the strategy more than the horror – and we know there are a few of you out there – might be interested to know that crafting has never been more important than it is here. There’s a wide variety of different enemies to take on, and what works on one opponent might not work on another. That’s a little difficult to get to grips with when most of your weapons come from the same source material. Deciding whether you’d be best served to make a landmine or a few rounds of ammo isn’t easy when you don’t know what’s around the next corner. Still, though, that’s all part of the fun. If you don’t die multiple times before completing the game, you’re not getting the full “Resident Evil” experience.
What every review boils down to is one simple question, which is, “would you recommend this game.” Our answer is a strong “yes.” The boss fights aren’t as demanding as the epic boss fights of “Resident Evil” past, but the wide range of opponents and their different strengths and weaknesses makes up for that. Ultimately, this is still a game that you’ll be nervous about playing late at night with the lights off – and when we’re talking “Resident Evil,” that’s all we could ever ask for.
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