I have been waiting to play Resident Evil Village for a long time but not for the reasons you’re probably thinking. It’s not because I was psyching myself up to play it because I was extremely terrified and didn’t enjoy playing it all that much. It wasn’t because I’ve already watched a bunch of Let’s Plays so I know what’s going to happen. No, the reason why I haven’t played Resident Evil Village yet was because I really wanted to play it on PlayStation 5! The thing is, I still don’t have a PlayStation 5 nor a beefy PC up to now! So, I finally bit the bullet and decided to play Capcom latest entry in the series on my “rinky-dink” PlayStation 4. I just couldn’t wait anymore!
So, since I’ve already played through it and finished it, I might as well give you my thoughts on my time residing in the spooky locale of Resident Evil Village.
Resident Evil Village takes place after Ethan Winters and his wife Mia are rescued by Chris Redfield and his team from the Bakers and Eveline. They are sent into a form of witness protection and transferred to Europe. During that time, Ethan and Mia bear a child and name her Rosemary. One night, after putting Mia to bed and the couple are about to have dinner, Chris and his team shoot Mia dead and capture both Ethan and Rose. While being transported, their convoy is attacked. Ethan is generally unscathed but Rose is now missing. Ethan then makes his way to a small town which is seemingly being laid siege by werewolf like monster. However, he does find clues that Rose is in the clutches of the village priest/head Mother Miranda. Thus, Ethan begins his quest to rescue his baby.
As early as now, I’m going to say I liked Resident Evil Village a lot more than Resident Evil 7. It’s still very frightening but the fear is toned down because of the general openness of the locations and how some areas are brightly lit. However, there is still a claustrophobic feel to them as your view is usually obstructed by things like debris or tall grass. The use to different heights and some flying monsters also makes it seem as if danger can come from any direction, even from high above. So, Resident Evil Village is still scary but it’s frightening not because of the darkness but because of the fear of anything can attack you from out of nowhere.
As I did play Resident Evil 4 for the first time fairly recently, I can’t help but compare Resident Evil Village to that game. It definitely borrows a lot from it. The pacing specifically does mirror it extremely strongly as you do get something akin to the village attack at the start of Resident Evil 4 shortly after you enter the village in Resident Evil Village. Like in Resident Evil 4, I didn’t enjoy this portion of the game as you feel incredibly helpless and, to make matters worse, you don’t really know what you’re supposed to do to end the sequence. In my case, I died several times while running around and, during something like my 6th try, it just seemed to end for no rhyme or reason.
Speaking of level design, Resident Evil Village is basically separated into several zones with each having a boss to beat at the end. This makes some areas a joy to explore while others more like a chore. I will say the best location is Castle Dimetrescu since you’re given enough freedom to explore but the tension is ratcheted up with the fear of a giant, unstoppable vampire lady looking for you. The other areas never really hits that high so the rest of the game feels like a letdown by comparison.
Bosses also aren’t that impressive or particularly hard, weirdly enough. I played the game on Normal and each boss fight does feel a little straightforward and not particularly fun to overcome. My biggest problem is how there’s no real clear signal if you’re doing good damage to them or not. Even when you’re striking at the obvious weak spot, the bosses don’t give any particular signal like you’re hurting them. This made me second guess my tactics a couple of times, even though I instinctively knew what I was doing was the right thing to do.
I do have to say the gameplay doesn’t seem to facilitate the level of action the game seems to be delivering. That’s because the shooting and movement feels clunky. Ethan is understandably slow and not good at handling a gun as he’s your everyday man. However, this can make combat really frustrating because you never feel as if you’re fully in control of your movements. Even when you buff up your stats, you can run as fast as you want or aim as accurate as you feel you should be able to. It’s a game mechanic and it’s by design, for sure. It’s supposed to make you feel just that little bit more helpless. I get it but I just wish it handled just a smidge better than it does.
As sluggish as Resident Evil Village is, I still really enjoyed playing it as there’s still a lot to like about it. For one, the game is gorgeous! Even though I’m just playing on a PlayStation 4, the graphics and models look stunning. The human faces, while not photorealistic, look real enough to fool me. The environments and locations are imaginative and each area is distinct from each other.
The acting everyone does is also really good. While there’s an overall cheese factor with how over-the-top the performances are, they are a joy to watch. I love how dramatic Lady Dimetrescu comes off and the contrast between Donna Beneviento and Angie’s personalities. My favorite performance is hands down Heisenberg’s really weird take on how Nicolas Cage would be in the role. It’s loud, boisterous and super cheesy. I love it!
The story is also absolutely bonkers in a way. It’s almost like it tried to mash together several cliche horror movie tropes into one glorious title and it somehow works. It also goes out of its way to tie up what’s happening to the old Resident Evil games. I have to admit I did like how they connected all the lore together. It’s not the most cohesive of stories but I appreciate the effort. I guess that because the story in Resident Evil Village is generally bonkers as I mentioned. A lot of crazy stuff happens to Ethan Winters here and they do try to explain how he’s able to survive such insanity without dying outright.
Unfortunately, the story campaign comes off as pretty short. I played it on normal and breezed through it over a couple of days. Capcom did add a few things to extend its longevity by adding things like the Mercenaries game, which isn’t all that fun because of the aforementioned clumsy controls. There are other things like trying to collect all of the treasures and destroying all the Goats of Warding but those aren’t all that enticing a reason to replay the game unless you’re a completionist.
Overall, I did like Resident Evil Village a lot more than the previous entry. The fear level is just right and the mixture of cheese does lighten up the horror to a favorable degree. The areas and the characters are a joy to look at. The gameplay is a little stiff which may not gel with players more used to fast paced action and the bosses are rather unexciting. However, the B-movie level story and acting is just so enjoyable that I can overlook all the janky gameplay. I’m glad I did get to play Resident Evil Village, even if it’s this late and on my old PlayStation 4.
Have you played Resident Evil Village? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!