Resident Evil: Village shines in terror, but little explores its potential

In a year in which practically everything has been postponed, creating a huge vacuum to be filled from any major launch, Resident Evil: Village it is a tip of hope for fans of the franchise and players eager for a big title to compose the library. But is Capcom’s eighth game in the horror franchise able to “put on those shoes” and fill that void?

After just over 9 hours of gambling, Village managed to entertain, frighten and amuse us for the short time of the campaign, bringing many unexpected positive points, but also some poorly used elements.

A quick warning before starting: the review meets all Capcom embargo requirements, but there are unpublished scenes that may be considered spoilers by some. Check out the full review!

Terror and action mixed in the right dose the way we want

Since the announcement, Resident Evil: Village does not hide his inspirations: a mixture of resident Evil 4, with the theme of an outsider in a village hidden in the back of Europe, and Resident Evil 7, with absolute first-person terror filled with claustrophobic panic.

The Gothic theme, à la Bloodborne, in a daytime terror are very strong positives of the game, which manages to frighten and create tension in any environment that is presented to the player. Lycans and ghouls haunt the village and its surroundings, which can generate a good deal of fright and continuous tension.

Entering a dark hut and terrifying yourself with the yellow eyes of a monster lurking in the darkness is horrifying. If the village is frightened by the unfriendly air and full of danger in every plantation and roof in the countryside, the Dimitrescu Castle and other enclosed spaces have a familiar atmosphere, with an exquisite, dark and claustrophobic countenance – classic of a resident Evil.

If you really like the action parts of resident Evil, relax that there are times to sit the bullet in everything you see ahead. However, if you are a fan of a good old terror, I have something to tell you: you can wait for excerpts that will disgrace your head and make you stop in fear.

Speaking of terror …

It is in these moments that Capcom really shows a creative and technical excellence shown in the creation of memorable scenes that will be marked in the series’ history. If you like a la carte experiences Dead Space and even P.T., get ready for worse moments of tension.

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Keep that name in your head: Beneviento. I will stop here to avoid spoilers, because this stretch deserves to be played without knowing what events will be found. What the player can expect is possibly the best stretch of terror in the past decade or even beyond. It’s really, really, tense.

However, it is not as if we are stuck in a sarcophagus that is tight in the mold of the 7th game and defenseless all the time. You have how to protect yourself and there are large enough areas to turn around, something that is a good dose of injection of the dynamism of the 4th game. It’s a perfect mix, something that can be a relief to those who think that resident Evil 4 it lacks terror, but it does not like the dark proposal of the seventh.

That way, in what Village sets out to do, he gets it right. Most of the points expected here are mostly well represented. This is probably the resident Evil most eclectic of the entire franchise: there are qualities for all tastes and it is a very comprehensive game that embraces a well-diversified fan base. But don’t be fooled: the player can be scared of fear from time to time.

Engaging gameplay acts as main pillar

Genres aside, Resident Evil: Village it is more than just “terror” or “action”, after all, we are talking about an electronic game that has its own mechanics. Fortunately, the title is very successful here too. Regarding gameplay, the game follows the line of the seventh and brings many similarities in the combat that we have already seen, but there is room for the spices themselves.

The gameplay of weapons is very good, with the satisfying feeling of feeling the impact of each shot, whether with a pistol or a shotgun. It’s nice to shoot and explore every bit of the adventure in search of ammunition and loot. And, for being so openly inspired by resident Evil 4, certainly the different weapons and upgrades are back, in addition to the arcade-style loot that the franchise has to offer.

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The Duke acts as the new Merchant (and also as an important character in the plot), offering a range of new weapons, ammunition and upgrades for his equipment. To close with a flourish, the nostalgic combo, the briefcase, is back and you can organize your items with the strategic tetris of the inventory, also combining and selling treasures in order to raise money to toast upgrades. The only caveat is that this time the tool is not so tactical, since we rarely need to reorganize the space.

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Another novelty this time is in the item creation system, responsible for managing a new range of resources to guarantee healing items or ammunition. Don’t expect anything fancy, but it’s nice to have the option of deciding what to spend your inventory on. Next to him, there is the Duke’s kitchen, replacing the yellow herbs for permanent improvements in Ethan’s health and defense.

Yes, you didn’t get it wrong: Ethan can now defend himself and counterattack enemies by pushing them, guaranteeing a very short breath. Replacing hand-to-hand combat in other games in the series with defensive mechanics is perfect for not creating, even unintentionally, something remotely close to the exacerbated action style of the past. In other words, nothing to hit the enemy in the head and deliver a powerful blow.

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That said, there is an optimum balance between being the hunter and the hunter, combining stretches of paced gameplays and other more electrifying ones. Enemies are smart and resilient, but not extremely agile; they can be defeated, but also take the player by surprise in an ambush. “Shoot, run and get rewards”, this is a cycle that works.

Exorbitant graphics that build a unique atmosphere

As good as the gameplay is, it wouldn’t be half the experience if it weren’t for the exquisite ambience created by Capcom. It sets the tone, as well as builds the tension and playground necessary for everything else to fit.

All of this, of course, is graphically stunning, building what may be the visual peak of RE Engine to date. Yes, even on PS5 there are lower quality textures here and there, but nothing that breaks the immersion of a wonderful setting and extremely well-animated and convincing characters. Visual presentation is essential for the whole proposal to work – so there is nothing to complain about here.

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If you are playing on a stout PC or the new generation, activating Ray Tracing guarantees that extra crispness with more realistic lighting that only adds to the already excellent presentation of the title. The best of all is that on PS5 (and also on Series X), the game runs in rebuilt 4K and practically at 60 fps with the feature active.

There is the option to turn off Ray Tracing and ensure perfect stability, it is up to each individual to choose. In our performance tool, it is evident that the PS5 is capable of dropping below 50 fps in times of stress with Ray Tracing and even slightly below that (45 to 49 fps) on rare and brief occasions, but it is up to the player to decide which is the best option.

Being the icing on the cake, the game’s sound work is capable of leaving anyone trapped in the chair only by the quality sound resources. After all, what is a horror game without preparing a good headset?

Misused: a synthesis of almost all elements of Resident Evil Village

Undoubtedly the game is very well done and there is a whim in every corner: technically, there are very few aspects to complain about the (almost perfect) execution. However, there are greater nuances and problems that fans of the franchise and the more rigorous players will notice at the end of the campaign.

Resident Evil: Village it was seen as the longest game in the franchise made on RE Engine. It may even be the case, but he is a long way from running an extensive campaign. Even exploring the whole scene, hunting collectibles all over the place and even spending a lot of time cleaning up each area of ​​the map, our playing time amounted to 9 hours and 12 minutes.

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For those who have been following the franchise for some time, they know that the longevity of the titles is not exactly the strong point of the series. And, honestly, in many cases this is not really a problem, as long as the journey is cohesive and makes good use of its very well-built qualities. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Village, at least partially.

The rhythm of the game is great, without a doubt, and always presents new elements so as not to tire or bore the player. However, it also works against a really well-done campaign, causing a taste of wanting more at many points in history, which are too short and shallow at various times.

As a great example, there is the Dimitrescu Castle and the Vampirona: even though she became the poster girl for the game and even had exaggerated marketing, the villain’s section lasts just over 1 hour. All the tension and the expectation of great persecution from her and her daughters is so short that, in the end, it seems that she didn’t even have it. You know that intimidating feeling of Mr. X at the police station Resident Evil 2? Dimitrescu was nowhere near that.

Enemies are repeated tirelessly and there was plenty of room to introduce fresh, themed ideas in each area of ​​the campaign. There are several similar cases throughout the journey: bosses are introduced and as soon as they are defeated, with no room for development or more intriguing second encounters. resident Evil is made of comings and goings, but Village it is at its core a sequence of disguised corridors.

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This is not all bad. The pace, something that we cherish very much today, is good! The gamer feels compelled to advance further and further to see the unfolding of the adventure. And that is precisely why these shortcomings become evident: it is so cool that, in the end, the player just wants to taste more of it. When the scene finally opens, again the experience is quick. For being so inspired by resident Evil 4, which is extensive, without a doubt there are voids that have not been filled.

I cannot give too many details to avoid spoilers, but after playing it is possible to understand what we are talking about: certain parts of the campaign could and should be bigger, even to highlight everything that is so good about the game. Among all the eclecticism of the game, perhaps the driest source is the formula itself resident Evil: there is a lack of introspection to use striking elements, such as more significant backtracking and better use of their areas and their villains.

Puzzles are a good example to explain. Because it is very linear, there are almost no challenges to think about, there is no incentive to make big explorations and face the unexpected. Most puzzles are mere trials and errors, without worrying about inventory space or how to work out how to solve obstacles.

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Leaving the standard language aside, we go to colloquial Portuguese: if Village it is a food, the flavor is delicious and the combination of spices is bold, but there is no substance to thicken the broth. The eighth game could be longer and more cohesive, and does not use strong elements to create a more memorable experience.

Simple story that doesn’t answer many questions (and still leaves loose ends)

The plot of resident Evil it’s not exactly a work of art, but the fervent fans who have been following the franchise for years know that there are very nice substances and nuances to get involved with every game released. However, more than that, each work manages to stand on its own feet without the presence of another set of foundations to work.

To shorten the plot and give a straw of what to expect, Ethan, protagonist of the seventh game, once again finds himself in a whirlwind of events that put him in the eye of the hurricane, with a macabre cult behind his daughter and his wife, Mia , shot by Chris Redfield at the start of the game, creating curiosity from the start. Was Chris the villain of the plot? We will not give spoilers, but we can comment a little on the quality.

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Short and thick, Resident Evil: Village even uses certain loose ends of script Resident Evil 7, but it could easily be a spin-off, except for very rare chapters in history. Other questions raised by the last game pass by here and, to make matters worse, new (and daring) questions arise that are, again, without answers.

The plot is not bad, it is just misused, just like many other pillars of the game. Yes, there are very remarkable moments and unexpected connections, but it is equally negative to have to question several key points in the story that are not explained. It is not an intentional mystery, it is just a scoop.

The good part of all this is that for the first time in history, a title in the franchise was dubbed in PT-BR and the quality is very good. Several characters are play by play with the original version and others are even better, like Lady Dimitrescu. Big names in the dubbing, such as Raphael Rossato and Luiz Carlos de Moraes, make up the great cast and live up to the gringo performance. However, there are characters here and there who are out of touch with the original acting and voice, like Chris Redfield himself.

Mercenaries mode and replay factor shine too

If there are flaws in the story and some items that were misused in the formula, the opposite happens with a certain arcade factor that, during the game, can be subtle. As usual, Resident Evil: Village it has a very high replay factor that encourages players to revisit the campaign to complete possible collectibles and other things that are left behind. And, of course, to have fun too.

This fun because the title has a New Game + that continues its progress, even in other difficulties. How about trying a bigger challenge, but with your previous equipment from the beginning this time? You can also complete challenges to earn points and purchase new weapons or infinite ammunition at the end of the campaign. The replayability in the series is high, but in Village this seems to be a step further, especially when combined with the Mercenaries bonus mode.

For those who do not know the mode, which has not shown up since 2012 in resident Evil 6, it is quite simple: finish a level by killing the greatest number of enemies and in the shortest time possible. Easy, right? It may even be on paper, but if you want to fight for high scores, it is good to come up with a perfect strategy.

The advantage of Mercenaries in the eighth game is that there are some new elements, such as the possibility of building your arsenal with the Duke instead of taking pre-assembled characters and collecting random power ups in the middle of each map to increase your power. The coolest part is that getting high ranks guarantees rewards, like unlocking new skills.

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For comparison, we zeroed in on Resident Evil: Village in 9 hours, but we spent 13 hours on Mercenaries and we are already in the middle of the second zeratin. It’s really fun, and the rewards are cool, like unlocking new difficulties.

Bonus: PS5 features are pretty cool to try

As mentioned, the version we played was that of PS5, which was the marketing partner console for the promotion of the game. As you might imagine, some features of Sony’s new video game are used to create more immersion and further terrify the experience. They are DualSense and 3D Audio.

I confess that DualSense has not had the best use to date: adaptive triggers are very cool and vary from one weapon to another, and haptic feedback vibrates in subtle ways that increases with the approach of danger. However, the combination of both factors greatly amplifies the tension during exploration and the moments of combat, causing that extra sweat on the hand.

What really shines is the 3D Audio when combined with the headset: the surround ambience of the sound effects terrifies even the most prepared for the scare. The rustling of the branches, the creaking of the wind at the doors and the small movements in the distance. If you have a PS5, here’s the advice: play the phone (and preferably in the dark to enhance your experience).

Worth it?

No doubt, Resident Evil: Village collects very strong points during the journey, even if brief. It is by no means a bad or weak game, as we have seen in some cases in the series over the past decade. Perhaps the title is the resident Evil more eclectic to this day, going through different gameplay prisms, going from the apex of terror to a style of action that John Wick would be jealous of, perfectly blending everything he proposes. All of this added to the replay factor, the “sensational bonus” mode and the incredible graphics that create a very fun piece.

But that does not eliminate the little explored history and elements that do not always connect. Among all these spectra addressed, the main shortcoming is the roots, creating a campaign that, at times, is not cohesive with what is expected. The strong inspirations in resident Evil 4 and resident Evil 7 are great, but the feeling is that there was a lack of potential to be explored.

Yes, the shadow of Resident Evil 3 Remake is far away, but the brilliance of Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 2 Remake stay a little bit away too. In the end, we have a great game, but it is good to moderate the expectations that were created by the developer itself.

Voxel score: 85

Village masterfully plays his fluid gameplay and exquisite ambience, but sins when using great elements in a shallow way

Strengths:

  • Action and horror have never been better combined in a game in the series.
  • Fantastic gameplay and a lot of fun to play.
  • The new additions are cool and very welcome.
  • The Duke is a cool character along with the diversity of weapons and upgrades.
  • Very well-built atmosphere gives the terrifying tone that the game needs.
  • First-rate sound aid helps to characterize the setting.
  • Very good performance and with small drops, even with Ray Tracing on.
  • High replay factor and Mercenaries mode make the short experience survive.

Negative points:

  • Several points of the game were very poorly used.
  • Short campaign that could prolong the most memorable moments.
  • Bosses are brief and, as cool as they are, they end too quickly.
  • Simple story that does not tie the loose ends of the previous game.

Resident Evil: Village was kindly provided by Capcom to carry out this analysis.

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