Resident Evil Village – new level of horrifying

Resident Evil Village is a first-person, single-player, and multiplayer survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom in 2021. This Resident Evil 7: Biohazard sequel is available for Microsoft Windows, Play Station 4, Play Station 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Stadia. The gameplay centers around Ethan Winters looking for his kidnapped daughter but ends in a village full of mutant creatures.

The long-awaited Resident Evil Village was in development for nearly four years, leaving the franchise fans guessing what to expect. Due to the overall impatience, the production started only half a year after the seventh entry was released.

The developers knew that the sequel would be a survival horror connected to Resident Evil 4, where the village was also the central point of the game. However, Resident Evil Village is also related to its predecessor that serves as the starting point.

Creators kept the protagonist from Biohazard, but the style and atmosphere also remained in the sequel. The difference is that Village allows more freedom due to letting players navigate the game as if it were a playable horror movie. It’s why there’s more flexibility concerning problem-solving.

Moreover, Resident Evil Village resembles open-world games, and it deviates from the typical linear progression players experienced in previous entries. Thanks to that, they can investigate various hidden areas but also choose not to do it. However, whenever players dare to explore, they will get rewards for their courage.

The village also differs with its contrast to claustrophobia that was characteristic of Biohazard. In this sequel, the fear comes from the opposite side, making players terrified of what could lurk in the vast sceneries and open environment.

Although it’s the eighth part of the series, creators wanted to place focus on the village. By incorporating it in the game’s title, they also gave it more importance, making it a character on its own. Developers also aimed for more unique enemies, refusing to go for something as generic as zombies.

Instead, they created various unique antagonists, finding inspiration in classic gothic stories. Thus, most villains had to represent the village but also be sinister and grotesque.

Capcom encountered a positive reception with generally favorable reviews that praised the game for being a stellar blend of creepy and modern. However, many criticized Village for changing the direction of its predecessor and being overwhelmed with action scenes.

Regardless of occasional negative comments, the entry became the third fastest-selling in the franchise, and by the end of June 2021, it sold more than 4.5 million copies globally. But is Resident Evil Village as good as the previous games in the series?

Here are our thoughts.

Intense, shocking, and aesthetically pleasing

Resident Evil Village takes off a few years after the story we encountered in Biohazard. It starts with Ethan Winters living a peaceful family life with his wife Mia and their newborn baby girl Rose.

Even though the game starts with blissful scenes and a loving atmosphere, things quickly change the course, leaving players shocked. Without revealing too much, we’ll only say that the setting becomes graphic before you’re even ready.

Soon after, Ethan is left without his wife and daughter, wandering through an isolated village, disoriented and terrified. The intro is sudden, gut-wrenching, and violent. Yet, undoubtedly, it makes its point. The hostile environment in the village and what to expect become a dreadful reality, but it gives a player a chance to prepare.

The gameplay takes place in Romania and its rugged mountains, creating a cold and harsh setting. The gothic sceneries, a castle, wet wood, fields, and brick houses contribute to the overall eeriness. You’ll realize quickly that the threat could be anywhere and that the village has an ancient history. However, the creators successfully create curiosity that drives you to explore every corner, despite the panicky inner voice telling you to stop.

On the other side, the protagonist is not as interesting as the environment. Ethan often appears to be baffled and without much to say. He’s an ordinary guy who makes a sharp contrast with the strange surroundings.

The principal goal for Ethan is to find his kidnapped daughter, and he’ll face all kinds of villains on the way, including an elegant vampire, fish-man hybrid, and growling creatures. But each enemy is unique and triggers distinctive terror.

Some appear in a horde, making your heart beat fast, while others resemble slow-burner horror movies. Whatever the scenario, the game keeps surprising with unique ideas and adrenaline-fueled twists and turns that stay imprinted in your memory.

Moreover, Village never gets dull, and it keeps you at the edge of the seat all the time. Sometimes it even feels inconsistent due to the never-ending variety of sections. It’s almost as if the creators had too many fascinating ideas they wanted to connect, but that attempt seems a tad rushed.

Ultimately, this entry might be the scariest of the franchise, especially if we take the Beneviento mansion as an example. It is full of dolls with black eyes, dust, and an eerie feeling. Thus, it ends with a terrifying encounter you probably won’t forget.

The village is detailed and brimming with atmospheric environments. The chase is always scary, and you’ll often find yourself having to run from a villain while simultaneously looking for various objects. All of that results in an aesthetically pleasing game, although grim and startling.

Beastly setting that brings excitement and fright together

Resident Evil Village comes close to perfection, but it drifts away each time you feel that the creators tried to pack too many horror elements in one game. It often tries to be everything at once, taking various directions and stories.

Yet, it’s utterly terrifying, and it portrays a mesmerizing world that intertwines with details and stunning visuals. It succeeds in instilling fear and triggering excitement that creates an unyielding interest to fight the villains and uncover how the village can surprise you.

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