I recently completed a playthrough of the Resident Evil series. So it felt like the natural next step to take when this dropped on Steam. I’m not normally a fan of horror, it often leaves me thoroughly spooked – but this game nailed it.
Despite the numerous memes out there currently, there was more to the game than Lady Dimitrescu, and it was all a thrill to experience. Ethan is forced yet again to fight through a gruesome, but beautifully designed hell, solving intricately designed puzzles, and struggling for resources. The story is full of twists and turns that left my jaw hanging (including the origins of Umbrella) and stayed on my mind long after completing the game.
The first thing that hit me, was the look of the game. The world is beautifully designed – grotesque and revolting, but well designed- and it was a genuine blast to experience. There are 5 main locations, the main one being the village which is sort of the central hub the game repeatedly takes you back to, then there are the 4 domains of the game’s bosses, the “lords” of the village. Each one is completely unique, and has it’s own themes. It was a nice change of pace from Resident Evil 7 which is just constant horror. Village does have areas designed to creep you out -and trust me, it works- but there’s also areas more focused around puzzles, action and one that is an amalgamation of all 3 themes. When I played the Resident Evil games, I streamed them to my friends over Discord, and there were times through Village that literally had the 3 of us yelling in fright, stupid window puzzle…
Lady Dimitrescu’s castle stands out in particular. The trailers I had seen made it seem like the majority of the game would be spent in the castle, when in reality it’s one of the first areas you go to. Filled with numerous brain-bending puzzles, and a constant feeling of suspense, it was maybe the most interesting area in the game. Separated into 4 main sections, then the 5th where you finally face off the internet’s favourite vampire, it gives you a lot to discover. Lady D and her 3 daughters are constantly roaming the castle too, leading to some Mr X style encounters. One moment specifically stands out where I was walking down a corridor, and a daughter appeared, so I turned round and sprinted away, but Lady D swooped in through the door in front of me, which gave me one hell of a fright. After that, everytime I walked into a room in the castle I felt like Tormund Giantsbane after his return to Winterfell…
I put 15 hours into the game, and that was enough to complete the main story, the additional puzzles, and fully explore each area too (helpfully acknowledged by the area turning blue on your map rather the original red). I only did one playthrough, but have plans to return for multiple. There is an extra difficulty and game mode to try out once you have completed your first playthrough too. Completing the extra game mode even lets you unlock new items (like a lightsaber) and perks to help you achieve the harder challenges the game sets out for after your first playthrough. To me, 15 hours is around the perfect game length – long enough to fill with good content, but not too long that the suspense runs dry and it becomes a grind.
There is a definite decline in difficulty with the combat – boss fights not included. When you first arrive in the Village, you’re greeted by a horde of ‘Lycans’, failed experiment subjects which are this game’s basic enemy, like a standard zombie in the earlier games. For the first few hours, combat is a real challenge, ammo is scarce, and the pistol feels like a pea shooter in the situations you can find yourself in. Eventually though, you unlock bigger guns and can easily rack up over a hundred rounds of ammo for each. By the end of the game, you’re practically swatting away the Lycans like flies, and the only real challenge comes from the bosses. I could talk forever about how good the boss fights are, but I’ll keep it brief by saying they’re all unique, fun, and unbelievably well designed. One of them actually takes away all your guns and puts you through a hide-and-seek/tag scenario to beat the boss.
After playing through the rest of the series, Resident Evil Village was the perfect way to top it all off. Quite possibly my new favourite game in the series, an award which previously was strongly held by the remake of 2. I can’t recommend this enough, whether you’re a Resi fan or not, this games brain-bending puzzles and creepy air will chill you to the core, then stick with you long after you’re done.