Resident Evil Village expands on almost everything Resident Evil 7: Biohazard established. Despite it being shorter than expected, the world is visually stunning and incredibly detailed, the monster design is impressive, the action progressively improves, and the story is very engaging and compelling.
Growing up, I never really played any Resident Evil games. I mean, I played a bit of Resident Evil 4 and 5, but not enough to have a strong opinion about those games, let alone the series. But, when Resident Evil 7: Biohazard released, I was immediately hooked, especially with the direction the creators decided to go with it. I’m not alone in the sentiment that the series was growing pretty stale, especially after Resident Evil 6. Even the fifth one was met with some backlash. Obviously, something needed to change, and Biohazard did just that, opting for a first-person shooter perspective, and ramping up the claustrophobic setting to make the most out of the scares. I’m glad the latest entry, Resident Evil Village, did the same and in more ways than one, improves on everything Biohazard established.
Resident Evil Village takes place three years after the terrifying events of Biohazard. Living with Mia and their daughter, Rose, they seem to building a new life together, leaving the past events behind. However, when Chris Redfield ambushes their home and takes Rose, Ethan Winters must return to a familiar situation in order to try and get his daughter back.
The game starts off pretty similarly to the first one. As Ethan, you’re getting used to your surroundings since you’re in unknown territory. It’s all very horrifying in the beginning since you don’t know what’s going to happen next in a world well you’re clearly out of your element (or so you think). At first, once the recurring monsters you’ll be fighting over and over again are introduced, you’re not really sure how you’ll be able to deal with them time and time again. However, as time progresses and you learn the game a bit more, as well as upgrade your weapons and so on, these monsters sort of become obsolete. Of course, if they come at you in waves, it could be a lot to handle, but you’re able to figure out different ways to take them out, which is the beauty of it.
There are a variety of different enemies that are all unique in their own way, specifically with their designs and how you approach them in a fight. For example, to name a few of the ones you’ll see frequently, there are Lycans, Moroaicas, Haulers, and Samcas. These are the most common enemies you’ll encounter in the playthrough. I found myself having the most difficulty with the Lycans since they can be pretty fast and they come at you in packs, so if you aren’t positioned properly, they can deal quite a bit of damage. The others were pretty easy to handle, though. There are also mutated and upgraded versions of these monsters which were even more annoying to deal with.
With the Lycans, there are large versions of them, which have more armor and are a bit more difficult to kill. You have to spend more time with these since they can be a handful. Although a bit slower, they deal more damage and are just more annoying. But, as mentioned, the more you play, the more you’ll have an idea of how to deal with these beasts. Before I get to the main bosses and other characters, there are also mini bosses which were both interesting and challenging. One of the more memorable ones are Lady Dimitrescu’s daughters, who Ethan runs into frequently as he travels through Castle Dimitrescu. They can be very tedious in the encounters, but good thing you only have to fight three of them. Another one which stands out is Urias. He seems to be the ultimate Lycan. You run into him at the very beginning while traveling through the village and you instinctually try to avoid him. Well, at least I did. He’s definitely the most intimidating. There are some others, but I think it’s best to experience those for yourselves.
Now, let’s discuss the main bosses and the areas they’re in, which were fantastic. I think it’s rare to find bosses like these in most video games. These were all incredibly unique in their own way and each were part of a different area in that world that stood apart from the rest. The one everyone seems to know and recognize is Lady Dimitrescu, who was a big part of the buildup for this game. She’s insanely tall, but also extremely intimidating in the encounters. She’s one of the first ones you’ll have to deal with since Castle Dimitrescu one of the first main areas you’ll go to as a player. For the majority of this area, you won’t really have to fight with her. She’s more of a stalking figure for the majority of your time in there. You bullets don’t really do much to her, so it’s best to stay out of sight when she’s around since she covers a massive amount of distance with her height and her attacks. Thankfully, there are some areas she won’t follow you to, which will keep you safe from her. It ended up being one of my favorite areas in the entire game since it’s one of the longest portions of it, and it’s a good introduction of what to expect for the rest of the game.
Some of the other areas weren’t as long, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t equally as detailed, enjoyable, and horrifying. The next one I did was House Beneviento, which reminded me the most of Biohazard. You’re in a house for the majority of the time, similarly to the previous entry, and this area of the game offers the most tense moments. Donna Beneviento is constantly harassing you and there are a variety of puzzles to solve in order to complete it. It’s the shortest portion out of the rest, but for me, it’s one of the most memorable. Following this one, I headed to the Reservoir of Salvatore Moreau. He doesn’t seem like much at first due the first impression he gives off. However, as you progress through this area, you realize he’s one of the most challenging when he reveals his true form. The reservoir was one of the more difficult areas since you have to plan your every move when traversing to through it, otherwise the results can be devastating. This boss battle was also one of the more intense ones.
Lastly, there’s Heisenberg’s Factory. Out of the rest, Heisenberg seems to be the most normal and relatable one. Other than his outer garments, he looks like a normal man, but he clearly has his issues. Playing through his factory had the most to do out of the rest. I ran into some annoying mini bosses, as well as a variety of constant other beings which didn’t make it any easier. It’s a stressful part to be in since you’ll find yourself running out of ammo fairly quickly and scavenging every nook and cranny in order to find some supplies to help you through it. This was one of my favorite encounters since you do get a certain weapon that’s very fun to use.
I would speak a bit more on Mother Miranda, but I don’t want to spoil the story and she plays quite a bit role in the grander scheme of it all. Some other characters I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with were The Duke, the overweight merchant, and Chris Redfield, who’s a familiar character in the series. The Duke came through in so many ways and was seemingly always there when I needed him the most. Of course, it comes at a price, but the risk is worth the reward. As for Chris, he’s a familiar character in the series. He’s a bit of a mystery as well, but I’ll leave it at that.
One of the more impressive aspects of the game was the design of all these monsters. Video games have truly come a long way, especially when you see the high detail and the distinctions between all of these ferocious beasts. In my opinion, this game has the best monster design in the entire series and I don’t think it’s relatively close. Of course, this may just be recency bias and I can’t speak for every other game in the series since, well, I haven’t played all of them extensively. But, I find it pretty hard for those to match up with these when it comes down to it.
In between all of the main tasks, I also found myself accomplishing many other things in the village itself. At first, there are many areas you can’t access since you’ll need certain keys and supplies to do so. However, as you accomplish the main objectives and head to the next one, you’ll see how other areas become more accessible, and these areas include more beings to fight, treasure to collect and aid you on your journey, and new discoveries. You definitely feel a sense of satisfaction being able to complete all of this. One critique I do have is how there isn’t more to do. The game sort of gives off the illusion that it’s an open world game, but it kind of isn’t. It’s very linear in its approach to certain things. At first, it does seem massive, but once you do most what’s available, you come to realize it isn’t all that big. It’s also disappointing how you can’t backtrack to certain areas to try and retrieve other items you weren’t able to get to your first time there. I hope future entries fix this, making areas more accessible and introducing more to do without taking away from the overall experience.
The combat also left a bit to be desired. It was great acquiring new weapons, but that’s really it. Yes, you can upgrade each individual weapon to improve its reload speed, fire rate, power, and so on. You can also craft bullets and explosives, such as mines and pipe bombs. But, that’s really as far as it went. There were no special abilities and close-quarter combat wasn’t very viable at times since it doesn’t do much damage and you leave yourself vulnerable to get hurt badly. I guess in most Resident Evil games, the main source of combat solely relied on the use of guns, but there’s already plenty of fantasy and mystical elements in this series, especially Village. I would love to see future games expand the combat a bit more in order to keep things fresh and give players a different way to take out enemies. For what it’s worth, using all the weapons is very entertaining and switching back and forth between each adds some variety to it.
What I enjoyed the most is the story. I won’t dig into heavy details, but it really does come full circle, that is, the story that was established in Biohazard and continues in this one. You don’t really put all the pieces together until near the end, but the story you’re playing through before you figure out all the big twists and connections is good enough on its own to keep you engaged. The lore behind all of these characters and what they’re inspired by is impressively done and I hope the same kind of creative story-telling becomes a big focus in the games to come. The voice acting really does elevate it with all the impressive cinematic cutscenes as well. Kudos to everyone involved for becoming these characters and stealing every scene.
As for the horror, I can’t say it was as scary as Biohazard. I feel there were many more tense moments in the previous installment simply because of where the game takes place for the majority of the time. You’re constantly cutting corners in a house you’re unfamiliar with, which includes a very strange and savage family. Saying there are similar moments like this in Village would be a blatant lie though, since there are plenty of moments that’ll cater to die-hard horror fans. There are some sequences where you’re literally on the edge of your seat and your heart is racing rapidly. But, I think this entry is also more action-oriented, which sometimes takes away from certain scenes that are made to scare you.
Resident Evil Village is already a contender for one of my favorite games of the year. Of course, it’s almost halfway through the year and there are still plenty of other games to look forward to, but I had so much fun playing this in its entirety. I do wish the world was a bit more fleshed out in terms of its exploration, and I wish the game was a bit longer since I sort of breezed through it at times. It took me a little over 9 hours to finish it. However, I think it’s more of a testament to how much I enjoyed the game and how everything flows smoothly, transitioning to the next part of the game. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy what the game has to offer in its current state. Ultimately, you stay for the lore behind these characters and seeing Ethan Winters’ story continue and how he perseveres through all the horrific moments is something to admire in a protagonist. I highly recommend playing this new entry in the iconic Resident Evil series.