Reviewed on Xbox Series X – Also available on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, PS4, PS5, and PC
The Resident Evil game series has been around now for twenty-five years. Most people associate it with shambling zombies, but in fact, developer Capcom more or less nixed the walking dead way back in 2005 with the release of Resident Evil 4. Ever since then, each new main-entry game has had some pretty interesting baddies to offer. That’s still the case with Resident Evil Village, which is a good thing, because without them, there might not be much there, there.
This newest RE game is actually Resident Evil 8, but you’d be forgiven for missing that fact based on the awkward way Capcom jammed roman numerals into the promotional artwork. After the genuinely frightening events of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, new series protagonist Ethan Winters is forced back into the fray when his wife and daughter are kidnapped right from under his nose. Traveling to a decrepit Romanian village (which, by the way, has a MASSIVE gothic castle sitting on its northern side), Ethan must battle everything from werewolves to amorphic super-monsters in order to save his family.
The story goes to some pretty gonzo places after that, but no point spoiling it for you. The great news is that in true Resident Evil fashion, all the main boss characters steal the show in a big way. The lynchpin is a frightening matriarchal figure by the name of Mother Miranda, but she’s just the tip of the iceberg. Psychotic machine maker Heisenberg, the freakish and pitiful Moreau, Donna Beneviento and her murderous living doll.
The new fan favorite, Lady Dimitrescu, is a ten-foot tall vampire lady dressed as elegantly as any starlet from the golden age of cinema. The internet has already modded and discussed her to the nth degree, and that’s the best sort of praise a game character can receive. She lumbers through the castle, screaming your name, your only recourse to evade her at all costs. Some gamers have commented on a certain strange sex appeal when it comes to the Lady. Her burning cigarette, elegant nature, and bountiful… you know… stature. I just wanted to get the hell away from her whenever she appeared. Enough time to gawk? I don’t think so. To each their own, I suppose. Phew.
The gameplay of Resident Evil Village is more or less identical to what Capcom created from scratch for RE 7. First person perspective, lots of shooting and evasion, slowly picking your way through this or that lush location, finding rare items, solving puzzles. Actually, Village borrows a few things from the past, most notably from RE 4. Fans of that game may be happy to learn this newest entry is much more action heavy. This series has been around so long, it’s got a multitude of different flavors, and Capcom certainly knows when and how to tug at our nostalgic heart strings.
Ultimately, Village’s story is short and just a tad confusing, but that doesn’t stop it from being fun. An average gamer should expect the campaign to last eight to ten hours, which is anemic compared to most other AAA video games release these days. A multiplayer portion has been included, but it’s not all that enjoyable. Nope, for better or worse, Village is the star of the show.
Played on one of the new game consoles released late last year (Xbox Series X, Series S, or PS5), the game is a wonder to behold. Almost photorealistic at times, pretty snazzy. It still looks good on older platforms, so don’t sweat it if you can’t run out and buy the latest and greatest. Where would you run to anyway? Online retailers have been in and out of stock since November.
Regardless, this game is surprising, beautiful, and very often thrilling. It’s clear horror is still alive in 2021, and Capcom once again proves they are king of the hill. Resident Evil Village is focused on giving players a pulse-pounding experience unlike any other. That it misses the mark every now and then is no big sin.
Jeff’s Game Reviews gives Resident Evil Village an EIGHT out of TEN
Jeff Bowles is a science fiction and horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. The best of his outrageous and imaginative work can be found in God’s Body: Book One – The Fall, Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like PodCastle, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars. Jeff’s new novel, Love/Madness/Demon, is available on Amazon now!
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