Title: Resident Evil Village
Platforms: PS4, PS5 (reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Google Stadia
Release Date: May 07, 2021
Resident Evil Village is easily the game that I was the most excited for in all of 2021. My love and admiration for the franchise are no secret and Capcom did a hell of a job with their advertising and marketing of this game. With strategically released demos and the heavy lean into our lust for Lady Dimitrescu, there were a lot of people hyped for its release.
A big concern is if the game would live up to the bar that our little tastes had raised. I will be honest and say that I am a huge fan but I am not afraid to criticize the issues I see. On the opposite side of the coin, I’m not a purist for the series and welcome the recent changes that Capcom has introduced to the franchise. That being said, let’s talk about Resident Evil Village.
There will be mild spoilers ahead but not enough to ruin the experience. Resident Evil Village takes place three years after the events in Dulvey, Louisiana. Mia, Ethan and their six-month-old daughter, Rosemary, have been relocated to a mountain town in Eastern Europe. While Ethan still seems to be affected mentally by what happened to the couple in the swamps of the Baker home, Mia just wants to forget it. After Ethan puts the baby to sleep, soldiers shoot Mia through the windows and then our boy Chris Redfield comes in to plug a few into Mia’s head and finish the job. Rose and Ethan are taken away to a location unknown. During transport, Ethan wakes up and finds himself splayed out in the snow, the soldiers in the truck are dead. He walks his way to a small town, only to find it under attack by hairy, wolf-like creatures.
It turns out this pious little village is normally protected by someone named Mother Miranda, but now most of the villagers are dead, killed by various monsters. The village is circled and run by four families: Dimitrescu, Beneviento, Moreau and Heisenburg. They are all considered to be Mother Miranda’s children. You get to meet all four heads at the very beginning of your journey where Mother Miranda instructs Heisenberg to get rid of you. Fortunately, Ethan isn’t going down without a fight. In this game, you must collect a special item from each of the four houses in order to save your daughter and find out why Chris killed Mia in cold blood.
First and foremost, this game is beautiful. From the moment that Ethan sees the village and Castle Dimitrescu from afar, I was hooked. There are small environmental details that are difficult to notice individually but come together to create sections of the game that never really feel the same. The village is snowy and cold with decrepit buildings and destruction from being attacked. Castle Dimitrescu is filled with golden walls, antiques and tall pinnacles. The Beneviento Estate is sweet and homey…until it becomes terrifying and one of the most “horror” moments of the game. The Moreau section feels like something from a Lovecraftian story with its waterlogged buildings and aqueous creatures. Finally, Heisenberg’s factory feels the most “Resident Evil” with smoke billowing down dimly lit, metal halls and an industrial and experimental feel.
One of my favorite things about the different environments in Resident Evil Village was the lighting. Great care was taken to make the lighting almost a character in itself. I remember a moment where Ethan was standing in a corner in the factory. It was dark and steam was billowing from split pipes. Looking around, the lighting changed from one side of the room to the other using different colors; green to red to orange. It was Giallo quality lighting and I couldn’t help but feel impressed. Moments where the sun comes out in the village and you see warm rays through the trees onto the snow, it almost feels hopeful…and then you get shanked by a ghoul.
Resident Evil Village isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it is also a feast for the ears. The sound mixing is incredible. Whether it is a kick-up in music when an enemy is near or the silent moments listening to the ambient sounds of dropping tools and machinery, dripping water, cawing birds or howling winds, this game sounds really, really good. I screamed out loud on more than one occasion because of the incredible sounds and the scares they created.
There was a pretty good variety of monsters throughout the experience. You have your garden variety ghoul that comes in several different styles. Depending on where you are on the map, the ghouls will change their looks and something small like that can make a big world-building difference. You have Lycans and I hated these guys. They can dodge a shot like nobody’s business. They are fast and ALWAYS attack in packs meaning you can easily get overwhelmed if you aren’t paying enough attention. Lycans come in different shapes and sizes, so always have an eye for the big baddies when tangoing with a group of them.
Sprinkled among the ghouls and Lycans are your specialty monsters like big guys with axes and more big guys with armor and heavy machinery attached to their appendages. There are also some gargoyle-esque beasties that get super annoying at times. For the most part, you will be dealing with your run of the mill ghouls and Lycans with your occasional mini boss and boss fight.
There are more weapons in the first playthrough than I expected like 2 different pistols, 2 different shotguns, a magnum and a grenade launcher (and all of them sound incredible when you use them). Each weapon utilizes the dualshock controller in a different way. Depending on your gun or your upgraded equipment, the trigger may take more force to pull, indicating a bigger and stronger weapon. You can then upgrade those weapons to your little heart’s content with the Duke. As you play, you collect and find treasures by exploring, inspecting your surroundings and killing enemies. You sell said treasures to the Duke for Lei to upgrade weapons, buy recipes for creating ammo and bombs or just buy ammo itself. You can expand your inventory as the game progresses but it’s going to cost you a pretty penny.
Speaking of the Duke, he is a favorite character of mine in Resident Evil Village. While I expected him to be intriguing and mysterious like the merchant in Resident Evil 4, he is a really fleshed-out character for someone that is just there to upgrade your inventory. I quite enjoyed seeing him pop up in my adventures. The Duke also cooks for you if you bring him meat. You have the ability to hunt for meat, poultry and fish for his recipes. If you find everything for the recipe, you will receive a permanent boost that will remain through the rest of the game. Trust me, these are things you want to do. Hunt and fish every time you can.
Ethan has had military training so he seems a little more at ease with weapons but that doesn’t mean the combat is done well. The gunplay in Resident Evil Village kind of sucks. The aiming system always feels like you’re kind of drunk (not to mention it feels like Ethan is running through pudding most of the time), even after you adjust the settings. Ammo and crafting components seem readily available in the beginning but as you continue your adventure, your ammo cache gets more and more scarce. Add in the wasted ammo on enemies and wonky aiming and I probably wasted a third of my ammo reserves on that alone. That’s why god made unlockable unlimited ammo.
Does Resident Evil Village feel like a Resident Evil game? It 100% does. While the story and environments delved into some corners that you would never expect, it offers a ton of fan service for longtime lovers of the franchise. A couple of my favorite Easter eggs are some books in the Winters’ home in the very beginning. One book is written by Joseph Kendo and another is written by George Spencer. Those names will tug on the tingly bits in every RE fan’s mind and that is just the tip of the iceberg. This story focuses hard on a father doing everything in his power to save his family but there are some mind-blowing revelations regarding some deep lore. Trust me, it is taking everything in my power not to blurt out secrets that I so badly want to share. While some might not appreciate the storyline, I thought Capcom did a great job at balancing Ethan’s story with that of a more classically Resident Evil feeling game.
Capcom leans into the Resident Evil 4 feels and I think that was the right choice. With the gameplay and horror improvements of Resident Evil 7 added to the gunplay and action of RE4, it creates a good balance between the two, making a game that is accessible for old and new fans, alike. If you haven’t played RE7, fear not for there is a recap at the beginning to catch you up to the story. If you love RE games, play this game.
If you’ve never played a RE game, play this game. Capcom has created a beautiful experience to take up a solid 9-12 hours of your time at least and it is worth every moment. This has easily wriggled its way into my top five RE games of all time and I am already on my second playthrough. You can easily replay Resident Evil Village three times and not get sick of it. This is a big recommendation from me. Come for the Dimitrescu and stay for the Heisenberg.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.