Resident Evil Village review for PS5, Xbox Series X, PC

Platform: PS5
Also on: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: Disc/Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

It?s unusual for me to not be excited for a new entry in the Resident Evil but, there is a first time for everything. This is a series that is one of my favorites of all time and two games in the series are in my top 5 of all time as well. We also know that Resident Evil has had an enormous number of releases since 1995, both great and forgettable. One thing that Resident Evil has always had for it was a plethora of memorable characters and environments to explore.

Clearly, there are some more favorable than others, but hardcore fans tend to prefer games in the core series which focus on an existing protagonist. Enter Resident Evil 7. Not only was there a new original character, but the gameplay also had also been redesigned, and this was the introduction to an updated first person perspective.

First person was something that worked well with the overall atmosphere of RE7 including the PlayStation VR version of the game being fully playable in VR. It was creepy and had a lot of memorable moments, but also brought elements Resident Evil veterans would enjoy. I would dive more into RE7, but if you would like to see our review from fellow editor Paul R you can check it out here. I loved Resident Evil 7 for a lot of reasons, and it being a Resident Evil game was not of them.

We are here to discuss Resident Evil Village (or “Village: Resident Evil” as it has been promoted to be read), and at first glance, I was not excited for a couple reasons. One was some of early leaks of the direction the game was going with introducing witches, vampires and werewolves. Again, we are potentially getting a game that may be great but, not really a Resident Evil experience.

Fast forward to release time and I?ve read little to learn more about the game as I planned on going in mostly blind. What continued to ensue was initial skepticism, as the beginning portion of the game felt like a lot of what was seen in trailers, demos and commercials. Nothing was feeling fresh, and I was now getting concerned this was going to be a short underwhelming experience.

How wrong I was. Resident Evil Village starts with very story-focused elements and some slow pacing, but once you make your way into the castle things get interesting. Most of what I loved in Resident Evil 7 was back, including the smooth controls, quick weapon swapping, crafting and more. This time around, we are introduced to something new regarding inventory management.

The game treats us to a spiritual successor to the cache case inventory system from RE4, which works extremely well. On the flip side, we no longer have the save boxes through the game and this makes for being much more mindful to what you pick up and potentially sell. And with that also comes the new Merchant in town, also reminiscing to RE4, known as “The Duke”.

The Duke, is a large man that follows you throughout the story via his mobile shop. You can buy and sell items and upgrade weapons like previous games. We wont dive deep as I want to avoid spoilers, but you may not want to sell everything you find right away as his store expands as the story progresses. He?s a great addition to the game, because he is a part of the story and not just a Merchant that wants to know “What are you selling?”

Resident Evil Village overall has a lot of variety and does include a lot of elements from RE7 and much more. I believe the development team took what worked well in RE7 and expanded it in a world rich with characters and enemies alike. At the same time, there is a lot going on, and some fans may not love all the additions.

For one, the story is a departure from what we expect in Resident Evil games but continues the story from Resident Evil 7. It?s difficult to explain without going into spoilers, but I can say most of the components come together and it mostly all makes sense by the time the credits roll. Something that is important to note the trailers and what you may have seen up to this point doesn?t scratch the surface once you get a couple hours in. Something I was hearing negative impressions about early on was the combat was a big focus this time and that was a concern going in. I want to explain my POV of the combat issues in two words and a number — Resident Evil 6?

I would hope we never have to experience the dumpster fire that was most of that campaign again. The combat in Village is significantly more than let?s say RE7, but I feel it?s on par with RE4, which again, goes back to me feeling like this game is a spiritual successor to it in many ways. The visuals, some of the enemies, the overall atmosphere screams RE4 and that?s ok with me.

Overall, the story is well pieced together between cut scenes and documents found throughout. Going into the game with minimal expectations and knowledge of what comes later made the experience much more enjoyable as well. There is a good amount of replay ability as you can unlock a new difficulty, a Mercenaries mode, concept art, figures and infinite ammo for weapons like previous games.

At the time of this writing, I?ve completed the game twice on two difficulties and have attempted hardcore mode, which is as nuts as you would expect. I?m very happy that Resident Evil is continues to be a strong franchise and believe that what we have seen after RE6 shows that the creators still have solid ideas and are listening to their fans.

Resident Evil Village is not a game for everyone, and I feel Resident Evil 7 fans will enjoy it much more than the average player — but having fan favorite Chris Redfield back into the story was a welcome addition (including the retcon of his appearance in RE7). I hope you enjoy your time in the Village like I did! Ethen Winters, Welcome?

Capcom provided us with a Resident Evil Village PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: A-