The Resident Evil series continues to be around the upswing these last few years, and that’s largely because of the fantastic Resident Evil 7 kicking off the most recent era of the franchise. Resident Evil 7 was slow and methodical, harkening back to the very first game within the series. Since then, we’ve had two remakes of classic Resident Evil titles, and it’s clear that Capcom provides extensive fresh new ideas for the series and knows what fans want from this. That’s why it’s safe to say there’s a lot of hype surrounding Resident Evil Village, the eighth mainline entry in the series and the direct follow-up to Resident Evil 7. Unfortunately, Village doesn’t hit the highs of its predecessor, but it’s still an incredible survival horror game in its own right.
Although it’s an immediate sequel to Resident Evil 7, Resident Evil Village feels incredibly different from its predecessor. The game has a much faster pace, that is immediately noticeable from the game’s opening section. Bullets fly, monsters attack, and fires rage, all within the game’s opening hour. Even the quieter moments of puzzle solving or exploration are cut short by explosive set pieces and chase sequences. Village is much more of the action game than Resident Evil 7, that is understandable considering that this game takes clear inspiration from Resident Evil 4. It requires the first-person perspective of Resident Evil 7 and gives it a go of adrenaline within the arm, to mixed results. Resident Evil Village is really a thrilling rollercoaster, but it’s a pretty uneven ride.
Resident Evil 7 saw players spending most of their time avoiding the Baker family, avoiding combat at the appropriate interval typically before the game’s halfway mark. Resident Evil Village provides you with a gun with lots of ammo and pits you against an apparently endless wave of enemies within the first hour. Because of the game’s greater focus on action, there’s much more that you can do in combat encounters. Arenas are available and feature several twisting pathways through houses and also over fences. You are able to block doors and windows to chop off entrances for that enemies whilst simultaneously blocking one of your own potential exits. Ammo can be crafted so long as you have the resources, and you may shoot environmental objects like explosive containers or bags of flour to kill or interrupt your pursuers.
Fights feel multilayered, and while the enemy AI is pretty dumb and basically only lumbers directly toward you, you constantly feel pressurized during combat encounters because of their overwhelming numbers. You’ll usually have enough ammo to defend myself against a crowd, but the game does a fantastic job of creating sure you won't ever have enough to feel at ease after every fight. You don’t just have to encounter houses and buildings to flee out of your enemies and catch your breath, but additionally to scrounge for much-needed ammo and crafting materials so you can reload your shotgun or create a first aid med. Unfortunately, exactly the same cannot be said for the game’s boss fights. In a series which has had some pretty insane boss battles, it’s a shame that Village’s boss encounters are extremely lame. The spectacle can there be for most of the fights, but none of them are particularly engaging when it comes to mechanics.
The game makes a great first impression, but things have a downturn within the other half. Everything Capcom indicates in prerelease marketing, from Lady Dimitrescu to those mysterious scenes with Chris Redfield, is only in the first three hours approximately of the game. Those are also incidentally the very best areas of the sport. Castle Dimitrescu is definitely the game’s best location, and while the other places you explore continue to be sort of interesting, the sport starts to fall flat when you get to the halfway mark. Repetition sets in and you start to seem like you’re just studying the motions. That’s not to say Resident Evil Village isn’t entertaining throughout; the gunplay remains satisfying and the loop of scavenging for supplies and solving puzzles remains engaging until the credits roll. It just seems like the game is frontloaded with higher ideas.
As per usual with the RE Engine, Resident Evil Village’s presentation is just stellar. Its environments are true next-gen graphical showpieces, largely thanks to the ray-traced lighting. Outdoor areas look great, but Village’s lighting and shadows shine indoors. The ornate halls of Castle Dimitrescu are hauntingly beautiful, and that i stopped more often than once to admire the scenery as long as I wasn’t being hunted by one of the game’s big bads. Houses are littered with clutter and debris, dungeons are filled with torture equipment and sinister tools, and the weather is constantly moody and overcast. The sport is definitely an absolute treat to look at, especially with HDR enabled. The same can probably be said for the audio quality, an important aspect for any horror game. Just like its predecessor, Resident Evil Village sounds amazing with a decent set of headphones, and hearing Lycans scrambling around inside buildings or hiding in fields while you’re scrounging for ammo does wonders in order to increase the strain.
Unfortunately, that level of graphical fidelity comes at a price. On PlayStation 5, the sport targets 60 frames per second with ray tracing enabled. It hits that typically, but there are specific areas where you will find very noticeable dips. Just before release, Capcom stated that players should expect 45 FPS with ray-tracing enabled, and today it’s clear why. It’s not too the game runs poorly with ray-tracing switched on, but you can seem to be it chugging a little bit during some combat encounters. Sometimes, the dips happen in empty rooms such as the grand hall of Castle Dimitrescu. Certain rooms and areas are only a bit too much for that system to handle, that is unfortunate. You are able to achieve a rock-solid 60 FPS by disabling ray-tracing, but this is a game where the technology adds a substantial add up to the game’s overall mood and visual style.
Overall, Resident Evil Village is a superb survival horror game that leans into the action and silliness of earlier entries in the series to mixed results. It’s not as good as Resident Evil 7, and it’s less good as Resident Evil 4. It feels like a strange mixture of the 2, even though it appears as though it might be in a position to strike a great balance in its first half, the second half dashes any hope of that. It’s still an attractive game with its great amount of scares, however it doesn’t sense just like a true next step forward for that franchise.