Resident Evil Village is the latest entry in the mainline series despite ditching the numbering in its name even though the “VIII” roman numerals are highlighted in the title. More on how it connects to the franchise later. The question right now is if this continuation of REVII is moving in the right direction of first-person experiences.
…Capcom ensured you’re in for a diverse experience.
At first, you might be a lot like me and prefer your Resident Evil games as third-person games. But much like its predecessor, Resident Evil Village makes good use of its first-person perspective. You’ll go from defending yourself to exploring to solving simple puzzles to enjoying the ladies to even operating a janky redneck tank. In addition to exploring, you’ll also find yourself upgrading your weaponry, cooking up some permanent upgrades (word of advice: don’t make the mistake of selling your animal meat like I did!), and playing mini labyrinth games. And while I want to avoid any major spoilers, let’s just say there’s an elevator that leads down to easily the horror experience highlight of the game. It’s all there, and the game makes sure you’re in for one hell of a roller coaster. Though, fair warning: towards the end, it really does turn into Resident Duty: Biohazard Warfare. So while I still would have preferred a third-person game, Capcom ensured you’re in for a diverse experience. Having said that, when it does come to shooting, the added weight and strange aim scaling they used caused me some inaccuracies, and this started to become an issue when more precision was needed late in the game when combat becomes heavy. Nonetheless, I never got bored, and that takes some major diversity to accomplish.
…the bar was set much higher by RE4.
I’m a little disappointed that I watched the credits roll in less than 10 hours. Now, before you argue “quality over quantity”, RE4 (which is often regarded as the best in the series) clocked in at 16 hours for me, and this game was supposedly heavily influenced by it. I even stopped and smelled the roses when I could, watching Lady D chase me slowly but surely in all her glory. They also added Mercenaries mode back, but unless you really like the shooting, that’s all this mode is. And per above, since I felt the aiming and shooting had a bit of irregular weight to it, the Mercenaries mode will appeal to some and not others. I can’t deny I have to ding the game’s length of adventure and amount of content on show, here, mostly because the bar was set much higher by RE4.
…I recommend playing it with ray tracing…
First, if you’re on current gen, I recommend playing it with ray tracing on for higher image fidelity as it enhances lighting more so than reflections. It’s not a high-octane shooter, so the visual upgrades are welcome. Thus, when you’re not gawking at the ladies, you’ll find that this is definitely a beautiful current gen showing despite being a cross-gen game. Sure, this means it clearly has last gen underpinnings still present like some bland textures, some framerate stuttering (more so with ray tracing on, but present nonetheless), and some draw distance issues, but there’s no denying that RE Engine makes for some seriously excellent graphics. That includes some excellent facial animation and lighting, and one simply needs to watch Lady D strut by some candles to appreciate it. But then here comes the other important part of the Resident Evil series: the story. The characters are all given just enough presence and lines to make them each feel distinct, and while not trying to be overly spoiler-y, you should know that this DOES all connect with the known Umbrella Corporation storyline in a parallel manner. I don’t want to specifically show that document but know that the game clearly sets up the next entry in the series and is likely to return to having a female protagonist as well. Thus, the story might be short, but it’s definitely sweet.
…this is definitely a step forward…
I can’t reiterate enough that I would prefer a third-person perspective, but also can’t reiterate enough that I have no qualms with how Capcom has handled the first-person perspective. The gameplay is diverse in both what you do and what you experience, and the game is presented beautifully in all its presentational aspects including a simple but well-delivered story that connects to the Resident Evil virus outbreak story we all know and love. Thus, the game has minor dings and dents, namely it being too short for its own good, but this is definitely a step forward for the series and shouldn’t be missed by both action and horror fans alike.