Review: Resident Evil Village (PS4)

I never really liked Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. I enjoyed some of the new gameplay elements and some of the new ideas it brought to the series but I wasn’t overly fond of the story or the setting and thought it was an OK game. For me, it lacked that Resident Evil charm and I think it took itself a little too seriously as well. However, given the fact I’ve played almost every game in this franchise at this point I wasn’t about to let Resident Evil Village slip past regardless of how I felt about the previous game in the series..

Set a few years after the end of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, the eighth entry in the main series sees protagonist Ethan Winters return and living reasonably normal life with his wife and daughter before a shocking turn of events sees him thrust head first into another nightmarish adventure that is sure to cause a few sleepless nights for more than a few gamers out there.

Village feels and plays like a hybrid of both Resident Evil 4 as well as the aforementioned Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. While the gameplay itself is a direct evolution of the previous entry, there’s a faster paced element to it that is sure to please those who appreciate more action centric games in the series. As a result though, those who thought that Biohazard was a step towards the franchise’s original horror roots may be somewhat disappointed with the blend of action and horror that’s on offer here.

Now, by no means am I saying that Resident Evil Village isn’t scary, far from it. I find Village to be responsible for some of the creepiest imagery and moments from the series thus far but the game itself does feel more like a spiritual successor to Resident Evil 4 rather than an outright sequel to Biohazard. From the village setting itself, to the creepy castle and lake monster as well as the reintroduction of a merchant character, there are more than a few pieces that of Village that are directly pulled from Resident Evil 4.

As for the village itself, the game utilises it as a hub world from which you set out from. As you attain more items by progressing through the story, more of the village becomes available to you allowing you to unlock new pathways and areas. The village itself also evolves over time much like the island in Batman: Arkham Asylum does and you’ll notice these changes as you return to the village time and time again.

More so than any other Resident Evil before though, Village doesn’t just require exploration to progress but requires it in order for you to survive. Again, much like Resident Evil 4 the merchant is there for you to purchase and upgrade your weapons and to sell off trinkets and items that you collect on your travels. A word of warning though – some of the items that the merchant has on offer can be a little pricey so be sure to keep your eye out for anything of value that can be sold.

Graphically Resident Evil Village looks spectacular even on a standard PS4 and I didn’t stumble across any bugs during my playthrough outside my controller giving up on me without warning. As for the sound in the game, it really does an amazing job and ramping up the fear factor with both the sound of the game world itself, but also from the sound of the creatures that inhabit it.

Truthfully I can’t actually find any fault with the game at all. There’s no aspect of it I’m not a fan of and I think anyone who has had even a passing interest in the franchise over the years will find something to enjoy here. Village takes the best elements of everything that has come before and produced something both incredibly original and amazingly fun. However, what I would say is that the standard difficulty mode may be a little too easy for franchise veterans who are seeking a bigger challenge.

Some may complain about the length of the campaign, but the series has never really been known for delivering epics but once you complete the main story, not only do you get access to New Game + and the fan favourite Mercenaries Mode makes a welcome return as well so there is enough to keep you busy for a while even after those credits roll. Now, I’m not usually a fan of DLC but I’d be more than happy to pick up any additional content for Resident Evil Village if it gives me an excuse to dive back into this world.

by Edward Laing