Resident Evil Village Review – Lycan the Change
Developed and Published by Capcom
Available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
It’s Resident Evil.
Okay, that’s not fair. Resident Evil Village is probably the biggest entry to the series since 2017’s Resident Evil 7, and it’s clear Capcom has put a ton of work into making it a huge turning point for the series. The addition of vampire, werewolf, and other gothic-inspired horrors really does add a lot to the formula. However, is it enough to make this village worth exploring?
Continuing a few years after Resident Evil 7, Ethan and Mia have settled down in a remote European village and now have a daughter named Rose. Unfortunately, their ideal life is cut short after OG Resident Evil protagonist Chris Redfield bursts into their house, kills Mia, and abducts Rose. Ethan follows them with the goal of getting Rose back, and finds her in the hands of the mysterious Mother Miranda, who’s cult of “children” all seem to have mysterious powers. Now Ethan needs to fight his way through them, save his daughter, and figure out why Chris chose to gun his wife down.
The plot is goofy Resident Evil nonsense at its best. It’s weird, B-movie, but feels vaguely heartfelt. Like, yeah, this is a series where Chris punches a boulder to death but hearing someone call him a “boulder-punching meathead” is probably one of those moments when I’ll audibly go “oooo, it’s about to go down” and get excited about the fight. Yeah, the villains are bizarre and unbelievable, such as the giant absurd vampire lady that you’ve seen in every trailer, but I’d be damned if I didn’t also find them a great cast that I’d love to spend more time with.
Playing as Ethan, you start out with little more than a knife and the titular village. It’s clear right from the start that things are wrong around here, with all the people who used to live here having vanished. After some introductory events, you’ll get a few guns and the ability to explore. The village basically serves as a rather large hub world, connecting the various zones that each of the game’s lords occupy. Furthermore, there’s tons of houses to explore and things to find.
In fact, that’s probably what surprised me the most about Resident Evil Village. A lot of the content of the game is totally optional. If you want you can easily breeze through the story in about five to six hours, but by the time I was done with the game I had put a solid ten into it. Just by exploring I had fought optional bosses, cooked fabulous meals, solved hidden puzzles, and uncovered secret treasures. There aren’t any side quests, but there’s plenty to do if you just look around a little bit.
Of course, all your looking around is going to be scrutinized by the many enemies that populate the world. As many of the trailers have shown, the primary antagonists this time around are beastly men that seem to be vaguely based on the myth of werewolves. One of the biggest complaints about 7 was the lack of enemy variety. Thankfully, Village has plenty of this. Before the first part of the game is done, lycan will be coming at you with various weapons and armor. In addition, there’s a slow moving ghoul-like enemy, flying enemies, mechanical monstrosities, and more.
I’m sure many people noticed Lady Dimitrescu, or the “Tall Vampire Lady” as many know her, in the trailers, and yes she’s in this game. Filling the role of a Mr. X or Nemesis-type character, she’ll stalk around the castle and be an invincible threat you need to run away from to survive. The design behind her is eye catching, and while she may not be any more difficult to avoid than Resident Evil 2 Remake‘s Mr. X, she’s still a good addition to the game.
While Lady Dimitrescu may be the star of the marketing, every villain in Village is memorable and fantastic. For example, Heisenberg wanders around with cool sunglasses (that he wears at night, naturally) and a giant hammer, setting up a host of traps and controlling metal with mysterious Magneto-esque powers. On the other side of the spectrum, Moreau is an awkward and kind of pathetic hunchback that randomly turns into a giant fish man, begging his mother to notice him while he lunges at you and attempts to pull you under the water.
I have to give a special shout-out to the Doll Maker’s Mansion section of the game as well. Not really mentioned in the previews or trailers in any way, and I certainly won’t be spoiling any details here, this segment looks and plays closer to P.T. than anything Resident Evil. It’s simply terrifying, and it does a wonderful job building up tension and then giving it an absolutely disturbing and wonderful payoff. It works best exactly how it is, a break from all the shooting to remind you that Resident Evil is still capable of some genuine horror.
Before the campaign was done, I think I grinned ear-to-ear more than any other single Resident Evil game that comes to mind, maybe with the exception of 7.
Of course, that’s not to say it’s all perfect. Like many other games in the series, the best stuff is pretty clearly front loaded. While there’s certainly some good stuff in the last section of the game, a few areas drag on a little longer than really necessary. Its never as bad as some of the other games could get, but there was at least one instance where I commented that I didn’t understand how this segment was still going. Thankfully, it’s not nearly enough to really ruin the game.
After you finish the game, you can unlock The Mercenaries as a bonus mode. It works pretty similar to how it has in past entries, albeit with just one character instead of multiple. Instead you can find and collect power ups that will give you upgrades like stronger shotguns, more deadly melee attacks, earn back more time from kills, and more. Each kill you make is worth points, and you need to get a certain number of kills and reach a goal before the time runs out. It’s all very fun arcadey run-and-gun action, and if you’ve been waiting for the return of this mode then it’s going to make you very happy.
While The Mercernaries serves as a bonus mode, there’s plenty of other rad stuff in the campaign. You’ll get bonus objectives that, upon completion, allows you to get some special items. This ranges from character models and concept art, to things to actually bring into the game itself. You want an unlimited ammo grenade launch? Need the chance to get an assault rifle? Want a “rocket pistol”? Completing these challenges will get you this and more. It adds a ton of replay value to the game.
There’s also Resident Evil Re:Verse, a competitive shooter that anyone who buys Village will get for free. It’s not out yet, but it looks interesting. From what I’ve played in the beta it’s not going to light the world on fire, but it may at least be a solid distraction for a few days. I guess only time can tell on that one.
But what you don’t need to wait to find out is just how rad Resident Evil Village is. The game is easily up there as one of the best games in the series, taking some of the best parts of 4 and 7 and mashing them together into something that still manages to feel unique. Fans of the series will find a lot to love here, and it’s likely going to go down as one of the best. Now if you’ll excuse me, I want to hang out with the tall vampire lady some more.