RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE: 5 REASONS TO TAKE THE DESCENT
By Ian Freeman
May 12, 2021
If the Umbrella logo making the rounds at the beginning of last year didn’t freak you out enough, Capcom’s Resident Evil Village, the latest release in the storied horror-survival franchise, has come at the perfect time to turn your panic into paranoia.
Celebrating 25 years of defining the survival-horror genre, Resident Evil Village looks to the future while honoring the past in an attempt to find the perfect balance of action and horror. Ethan Winter, the protagonist of Resident Evil 7: Bio-Hazard, descends into a world of new horrors in search of his daughter, taken by a quartet of crazies that make the clan of cannibals from 7 seems almost normal. He must survive new terrors and some familiar to fans of the series, including a village reminiscent of Resident Evil 4 and the village’s version of Mr. X, the internet’s new scream queen Lady Dimitrescu. The gameplay is more action-focused which made RE: 4 so successful and solves the lack of enemy types that plagued RE:7 with a menagerie of monsters that will keep you on your toes. We won’t get too deep, so we don’t spoil the game for you, but here are 5 reasons you should explore the Village for yourself.
Resident Evil Village might have come the closest since the inception of the franchise to reach that true middle ground of horror and action. The early games used expertly timed jump scares to keep player’s pulses nearing redline, but that trick began to wane with veterans of the series. To keep fans engaged amidst stiff competition from juggernauts like Call of Duty, developers started leaning towards improving action, which was the hallmark of Resident Evil 4 and the following games. Resident Evil: 7 Biohazard went in the opposite direction where it leaned heavily into horror, where the action seemed to suffer. Resident Evil Village has struck the right chord to bring back the action by introducing more enemies, more gun mechanics, and more game aspects while trying not to sacrifice the horror.
Ethan Got A Brain
There was a surprise enemy that made Resident Evil 7 such a challenging game to survive. And while you might think of your favorite member of the Baker bunch, I’m going to make it easy for you; it was Ethan himself. Ethan, the protagonist of the game, had all the personality of a wet sponge. Besides my need to finish the game, I had no interest in his survival. Not so in Resident Evil Village. Thankfully, this time around, they gave Ethan a bit of personality. Yes, sometimes it’s a bit mopey for a guy that’s a hat and trenchcoat shy of Van Helsing, but anything’s better than the last one. This Ethan, you have a vested interest in seeing him survive. Or even when he does face oblivion, he at least has something to say.
Menagerie of Monsters
If there was anything that players held against the Resident Evil series, it was that some of the games had a limited variety of villains. While some had variety, for others, it was the same enemy, just different sizes. This was very evident in 7, where the variety was pretty much non-existent. But, RE: Village unleashes a menagerie of monsters and mutants that will keep players on their toes from beginning to end. There are vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein monsters, harpies, and variations of each scattered around the maps all out to get you and most taking various tactics to defeat.
Resident Evil: The Village marks the 25th anniversary of the historic franchise and easter eggs are littered throughout the game. The game’s main map, gameplay and a lot of the storyline are inspired by the most popular of the series RE: 4. The opening scenes in the village, the Dacou, which could literally be Las Plagas, and enemies that you face that the Dacou created are eerily familiar to the Illuminados. Even the Duke, your merchant that lets you upgrade firearms, is a throwback to RE:4. The home of Lady Dimitrescu resembles the Spencer mansion of the original Resident Evil. Lady Dimitrescu’s stalking the corridors is a throwback to Nemesis in RE: 2, as well as the puzzle aspects that have been reintroduced. There are also references to Oswell Spencer, the founder of Umbrella and his trip to Africa, where he discovered the T-cells that he based the original virus on. This was a major plotline of RE 5. Even Chris Redfield decided to make an appearance further tying the series together.
All Hail to Horror
If you are a horror buff, Resident Evil Village is a love letter to the genre. First, the game’s premise with Ethan, who saved his wife, is now looking for his daughter who has been taken to some village smells like the series Fratello in fear, Silent Hill. If that doesn’t have the air raid horns going off, the hallway in the dollmaker Beneviento’s house is almost a carbon copy of the infamous demo of the Silent Hill game that never was PT. If you’re sharp-eyed, you might have noticed a large black goat that resembled the one from the horror flic, The Witch. Some frozen scarecrows eerily resemble Jack’s face frozen at the end of The Shining. Even the four main bosses are a nod to the golden era of horror movies. Lady Dimitrescu, the vampire that launched a thousand cosplays when she made her debut in the trailer, is a nod to Dracula; Donna Beneviento, who carried around a doll that looked like Bride of Chucky; Salvatore Moreau, the human fish hybrid, conjures up Creature from the Black Lagoon and Karl Heisenberg an updated version of Dr. Frankenstein. Let us not forget the werewolves running around as well.
Resident Evil Village is a terrifyingly good game and hits all the notes you expect of a Resident Evil. Enough action to keep you happy and enough scary to keep you on the edge of your seat. Resident Evil Village is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Steam and Stadia.