Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil Village Starts Off Pretty Rough
Released earlier this year to widespread acclaim, second only to the acclaim shared with Monster Hunter Rise released literally around the same time window, Resident Evil Village was lauded for its gameplay, immersion, and graphics. By some, many consider the game a “total package” of what survival horror should be like. Unfortunately, I am hesitant to join in on the fanfare this game has as I’m on the lower end of the gene pool when it comes to liking this game.
I’ve beat around the bush enough. I didn’t like the game from the first experience alone. I know, I know, put the pitchforks down, put your hammers down, I have my reasons. Unrelated, but the game also includes a bundled copy of Re:Verse which, to this day, has yet to be released as Capcom keeps pushing the date back. So, while the game is bundled with its multiplayer counterpart, I will only be able to cover my thoughts on Village as a first look experience.
Resident Evil Village Continues Where 7 Left Off
Before I get into them, I’d like to piggyback on the things that this game has going for it which is the immersion and sense of helplessness you feel while playing as Ethan. While I did not play 7, there is a quick synopsis that plays, detailing the events of the previous game in less than 3 or so minutes, which helps bring the player up to speed with the current affairs of Village.
Following their encounter in the previous game, Ethan and his wife Mia are living peaceful lives with their child until badass Chris Redfield and his swat team shows up, busts several caps in Mia, kidnaps Ethan’s child, and abducts Ethan as well, leaving him stranded in a snowed village.
The Action Begins Almost Immediately
All of this is within the first several minutes, thrusting the player amid the action and the confusion. While I hadn’t played 7 or Village prior, I just wanted to say that even knowing the big reveal behind Chris’s motives were complete BS, but, being that there would be no way I’d know about such reasoning in the allotted time, I’ll just chalk it up as Chris being a douche.
It was here that the ray-tracing started to show what the RE engine had to offer on the next-gen console, with lighting and shadows due to raytracing giving off a highly realistic effect. In the beginning, in Ethan’s home, the colors are warm and are of superb quality, a trait that persists in the village as Ethan travels through the pitch-black snow mountains with nothing but a light equipped on your person. Even surrounded by absolute darkness, does the graphics do a good job in casting light on the ground to make things visible as Ethan approaches landmarks such as a shack or a barbed fence that he must traverse through. It’s also a sense of uneasiness as you’re in the wild without a weapon to defend yourself with.
RE’s Nostalgia And Storied Legacy Kills...
Moments after you receive your gun from a “kind” stranger, said stranger is immediately slaughtered and you’re left to fend for yourself against the various lycans and mutants swarming about. It was then at this point I remembered why I never played 7 and it has everything to do with the first-person point of view. I loved the action gameplay that 4 provided which also included an amazing co-op in 5. While some may not consider those games “true RE” titles, they were fun for me and that’s what matters if the player is having fun or a sense of fulfillment. Unlike the bionic superheroes that are Leon and Chris, you are defenseless Ethan who has nothing armed but a rusted knife and a handgun with very little ammo to show for it.
Perhaps I was spoiled in 4 for being able to stun enemies with the knife only to roundhouse kick them to death, but such theatrics do not exist here. All you can do is hold your hands up in the air to block the Lycans’ hunger for your flesh, use your very limited ammo capacity to fend off the attacks, and try to find an escape route. In most situations, you enter a house, block off entry points, and pick off enemies one by one as they come, or in a swarm, if you allow them to get close. The problem is I was unsure where to go or where even the exit was for me, so I would get frustrated when the Lycans inevitably broke my flimsy stronghold and entered the house, causing me to use up whatever ammo I had left.
Swallow The Bitter Herb
This sense of uneasiness became evident when I couldn’t even use herbs I found by themselves as emergency healing items. In any other RE game, you could use herbs by themselves, but in this game, since it’s a crafting material you’re required to use them to create first-aid kits. This means that you could have all the herbs in the world, you can’t use them without the other necessary component.
The entire experience leading up to the end of the village was infuriating, but, as I found my way out and the cutscene ended, I felt at peace. I realized that not all games are going to be for me and it doesn’t make them necessarily bad. Some games are undeniably flawed yet I enjoyed my time playing said games and vice versa. This is one of the rare times where a critically acclaimed game such as Village failed to make its mark on me from first impressions alone. Maybe over time once I play it more I’ll digest the way the game wishes for me to play like bitter pills, but until then I’ll stick to my guns. In this case, my guns with very little ammo that does jack to fully transformed mutant weremen.
Resident Evil Village is now available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Stadia.