[REVIEW] Resident Evil Village: 0 stars on Tripadvisor

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Ever since its first launch in 1996, Resident Evil has introduced us to some sick and repugnant shit. Zombies, for starters, in all of its fucked up variants. Let’s also not forget mutated pets like cute Dobermanns and big fluffy tarantulas. Add a giant dude with a personal grudge to the equation, and you’ve pretty much covered Resident Evil up until part 7. That seventh installment did something different and refreshing to the franchise, going for a first-person perspective. Resident Evil Village trots along the same alley. Ethan Winters looks like he hasn’t had enough shit to deal with after his quarrel with the hospitable Baker family and Chris “Mr. Savior” Redfield decides to chuck him right back into this steaming pile of zombie shit. Yeah, Resident Evil pulls all the stops to make this 25th anniversary a doozy, but more isn’t always better.

So check it, Resident Evil Village continues right where Resident Evil 7 left off. Ethan Winters and his girl Mia have barely made it out of the Barker’s moldy shack. Still, three years later, all seems just fine. Happy Winters’ all around, as long as Ethan shuts the hell up about “the Louisiana incident”. That happiness is sealed by a baby daughter, Rosemary. Unfortunately, their glee is short-lived, thanks to Chris Redfield, the guy who made them move so they could stay out of the spotlight. Reintroducing himself – in what I call the rudest house visit ever – Chris makes sure that Ethan will be tagging along for a bumpy ride again.

That ride begins after arriving at the outskirts of a dilapidated village. A tourist office seems to be absent and a crazy old lady with a skull fetish mumbles nonsense about one Mother Miranda. Oh right, and your daughter Rose also seems to be a celeb there. Mother Miranda has her own reasons for taking a closer look at her, so you know Rose is there. Ethan wouldn’t be a proud daddy if he didn’t leave a stone unturned in his search for baby Rose. Unfortunately, the town is on high alert, as “monsters” are ransacking the joint like rioters during a BLM protest.

Where this takes us is no longer a secret. Everyone has already seen the trailers and some demos have been released. Nevertheless, Capcom has drawn the wool over our eyes here. The village square and Castle Dimitrescu are only a fraction of Resident Evil Village’s playing field. The whole thing is four times bigger than expected, given Lady Dimitrescu and her three daughters make up only a quarter of the story. Village houses three more “family members” who each play a vital role in the entire plot. Too bad that this plot is enormously predictable.

This predictability kinda ruined Resident Evil Village for me, despite trying to generate some clever twists at the end. After merely one-and-a-half hours of playing Village, I already knew how this was going to play out. Even the twists are sort of spoiled early in the game. Nevertheless, the biggest twist still works out at the end. Still, I would have preferred Resident Evil Village to really provide me with a mind-blowing revelation.

Anyway, so be it. Fortunately, the ride to the end is a pleasant one, with some exceptions. During Resident Evil 7, Capcom already showed what it wants to do with the series, namely, be cinematic, atmospheric, and as realistic as possible. I would be lying if I said that this is not the case in Village. The narrative is pretty much spot on. There are plenty of interesting characters and all have been fleshed out to perfection, partially thanks to the superb voice cast. The environment also looks like a charm. Castle Dimitrescu in particular shines like a mofo thanks to the utilized ray tracing. The village – no matter how rotten it is – is also bursting with detail. The excellent use of ambient sound often adds some desired creepy factor. So yeah, there’s plenty of atmosphere.

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Even though Village absolutely looks the part – being drop-dead gorgeous – I did have a problem with it. It isn’t scary whatsoever. And I personally find that a shame. In Resident Evil 7, I spent much of the game on the edge of my seat. With the fucked up Bakers hunting me down, I really got the feeling that danger could lurk around every corner. Village rarely gave me this feeling. The only ones who sorta try to hunt you down are Lady Dimitrescu and her blood-sucking daughters, but that won’t last forever either. As soon as you close the castle doors behind your bony ass, that feeling of being hunted doesn’t really return. A mere scene in a house full of cliché – but extremely effective – porcelain dolls really triggered my horror senses.

It doesn’t help that the last quarter of the game is just too absurd, even for Resident Evil standards. Lycans, zombies, and vampires, I can live with that, even though none of them instill the kind of fear that Resident Evil 7’s Molded did. But Village’s fourth act comes up with something that has got nothing to do with Resident Evil anymore. I don’t want to give too much away, but biomechanically engineered bullet sponges in an underground mass production facility… I don’t know. In my opinion, the accompanying boss fight had more to do with Transformers than with Resident Evil.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed myself with Resident Evil Village for about eight hours, despite its shortcomings. Part two in a trilogy is often regarded as a filler. A low-key connection between a suspenseful first part and the ultimate denouement. In that respect, Resident Evil Village can also be categorized as such. In terms of scariness, Village barely touches the level of its predecessor. What RE9 will bring, I can only guess after seeing the post-credits cut scene. I just hope that the closing piece in the Winters trilogy will give me that eery feeling again.

Resident Evil Village felt more like a visual showcase to me, in which a large lady with big honkers claims your attention. Unfortunately, she has to share the stage with some others, not all of whom are as “interesting”. Again, Resident Evil Village is definitely not a bad game, provided you can adjust your level of expectation a bit. Is it blood-curdling scary? Apart from some freaky moments, not really. It is beautiful? No doubt. Should you have played Village as an old-school Resident Evil fan? Only if you could live with the direction that Part 7 was going and want to see the trilogy end. If you’re looking for the authentic Resident Evil experience with countless infected and a self-destruct countdown, be warned. Village will likely not be the game worth writing home about.

To conclude, whether you will enjoy Resident Evil Village to the fullest strongly depends on your own expectations. This eighth part trades some of its suspense for visual splendor and action, which is fine if you want to be carried away by the story and shoot a lot. luckily, Ethan is no longer the anonymous dude and is starting to take on some character, but unfortunately, Resident Evil Village has lost some eeriness. The last part of the game in particular lost my interest due to Capcom’s dubious choices. Still, I don’t regret my eight-hour adventure. I just hope that Capcom will be able to bring back the oppressed feeling in the final piece of the Winters trilogy. The lack of the real horror feeling prevents me from giving Resident Evil Village a higher score, as much as I would like to.

*This review was originally posted on Gamersnet, who provided me with a review copy of Resident Evil Village

Gorgeous, intriguing, but hardly scary
The Scary
Everything looks absolutely gorgeous
The story is decent, even though it's mostly predictable
Runs like a charm on PlayStation 5
Lady Dimitrescu (BONK! no horny!)
The Dull
Lacks scariness
Predictable storyline and early on spoilers
That fourth area though...
No countdown, no self-destruct... How is this a Resident Evil game? (just kidding)