The greatest adventures of Resident Evil begin with a sense of hopelessness. Absolutely terrifying enemy encounters, incredibly limited resources, and a feeling you won’t live to see the next step – survival horror at its most visceral. Resident Evil Village beautifully captures that feeling in its early hours, squeezing you in its ominous grip.
The game hit, and Friday.
After surviving the terrible events of 2017, Mia and Ethan Winters live in apparent domestic bliss. It’s quickly shattered by the arrival of longtime show protagonist and anti-bioterrorism agent Chris Redfield, an event that sends Ethan to a spooky European village as he tries to save his daughter Rose.
When you arrive in this snowy hamlet, all hell quickly breaks loose as you are attacked by a horde of werewolves, and that video game fight-or-flight response sets in. Fans will notice that this looks a lot like the iconic opening of 2005. Resident Evil 4, in the first of many tributes to the 25-year history of the Capcom series.
Once you survive the opening salvo, the mystery of the village begins to unfold and you are tasked with defeating the four lords who rule its inhabitants with apparent supernatural powers. The village itself acts as a hub, and you collect items to enter each of the Lords’ territories.
Each area is visually distinctive and imbued with its master’s personality, with compelling imagery and iconography giving each environment character. The first territory is the Gothic castle of Internet phenomenon Lady Dimitrescu. Wandering its hallways, finding safe routes, and solving fun puzzles brings about the same sense of satisfaction that comes with getting to know the original game’s Spencer Mansion or the police station in– it captures many of the best elements of the series.
The following regions take different aesthetic turns, but each gives off an atmosphere and asks you to explore. Sadly, the last great territory is the least interesting to watch, but it’s tough enough that you stay engaged until the end.
Despite the vibe, it’s not a particularly scary game. Only one area leans heavily on psychological horror – it’ll scare you alive daylights (I had to stop playing on headphones, turn on all the lights, and take a little break to calm you down) but you will wish that there is one. a few others like it for taking advantage of the immediacy and intensity of the first person perspective.
Nods to past games are sprinkled to delight longtime fans, but they’re subtle enough that they don’t interrupt the flow and alienate newcomers to the series. The plot is sparsely delivered, with the mystery around the village unfolding slowly and satisfactorily in Resident Evil 7 – the tale won’t be as engaging if you skip Game 7.
Chris doesn’t show up often, but his shadowy role is refreshingly different from the simple hero he’s generally described as since 1996. It’s by far the most compelling he’s ever been. Despite its presence, Resident Evil Village’s ties to the series’ overall plot seem pretty tenuous, so longtime fans might be disappointed in that regard.
Fight the hordes
The intense arrival in the village will fill you with fear for any combat situation, as resources are very limited in the first hours. It gets easier as you collect more weapons and meet the in-game merchant, which allows you to buy and upgrade weapons, so the fear fades a bit over time.
Play on PS5, smart use ofadds another layer of tension to contend with. If you’re using a handgun, you’ll be able to fire shots with just the push of a button, but you’ll have to pull the trigger hard enough to fire your shotgun or rifle.
The management of articles is also very satisfactory. The inventory system pulls away from Resident Evil 4’s attached suitcase, meaning you can organize everything beautifully or leave it in a chaotic mess (if you’re some sort of savage).
Each of the Four Lords has their own group of minions, so enemy types rarely outshine their welcome and the challenge always feels fresh. You also never know when you’ll be overrun or encounter a stronger enemy, so you’ll never be able to fully relax or step into a comfortable groove. It is well paced and injects a unique tension into each zone.
Variety also permeates boss battles; most are memorable, cinematic, and feel demanding enough. However, a late-game fight seemingly draws inspiration from the infinite ammo shooting scenes in Resident Evil 5 and 6 – it’s pretty insane and forgettable, and one element the series should just leave behind.
Despite these challenges, I didn’t die for the first seven hours of my 12-hour game on standard difficulty, leaving me feeling like Resident Evil Village’s bark was worse than its bite. I’m definitely a conservative gamer, but I usually see the “You’re Dead” screen regularly when I first walk through these games. If you’re looking for a hard time that’s closer to previous games, consider starting with the hardcore difficulty.
Once the story is over, you unlock the excellent mercenaries. This wonderful mode of temporal attack (a staple of the series that was sadly absent in the) sees you taking down a number of enemies through different stages and is extremely fun. Unfortunately, unlike some past iterations, this mode does not have a multiplayer option.
Evil at 25
Resident Evil Village is a sleek and atmospheric addition to the franchise, and it beautifully ends the story started in Resident Evil 7. Each zone is teeming with dark personality and packed with memorable characters, while fun battles and a leveling system. satisfying keep things fresh throughout your adventure.
Higher difficulties, Mercenaries Mode, and other fun unlockables will keep hardcore gamers coming back after beating the story, so there’s a lot of value and challenges beyond the main game.
It could certainly be a little scarier and more difficult, and the last major area isn’t as visually striking or fun to explore as the previous ones, but it’s a good start for the series on next-gen consoles and a delicious tribute to the series on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.