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‘Resident Evil Village’ game review: Survival horror at its finest — and most blood-chilling

Screenshot from ‘Resident Evil Village’ game   | Photo Credit: Capcom

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After years of a third-person player perspective, the Resident Evil series’switch to first-person perspective for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017) was a breath of fresh air that the much-loved iconic series needed. Then-new protagonist Ethan Winters and his horrifying encounter with the Baker family will stay in my nightmares forever, especially that gory dinner table scene complete with rotting food.

Resident Evil Village
  • Developer & Publisher: Capcom
  • Price: ₹3,999 on Playstation 5, Xbox Series X, PC

Resident Evil 8, stylised as ‘VIIIage’ for Village, upgrades that same formula with familiar tropes from the series creating a horror masterpiece that will add on to those nightmares.

At the start, we see things going great for Winters, who has been living with his wife Mia and baby Rosemary in rural Louisiana, USA. An unfortunate turn of events involving a familiar face has Ethan finding himself in a foreboding European village in search of his kidnapped daughter. This time, he has to out-smart four evil mutated lords that rule this place like gods — one of them a current Internet sensation, the elegant nine-foot-tall blood-sucker Lady Dimitrescu who is, frankly, the MVP of this game.

While Biohazard felt intimate in its backwoods swampy setting, Village raises the stakes (pun intended) with more moving parts in its setting. The story is intriguing but the game at some points takes its sweet time to throw answers at you or it gives you crucial answers in a random piece of text that you can easily miss. These are all minor quibbles, but they leave you scratching your head.

Screenshot from ‘Resident Evil Village’ game

Screenshot from ‘Resident Evil Village’ game   | Photo Credit: Capcom

Read More | Review of ‘Resident Evil 7: Biohazard’ video game

Village has a lot of great moments, and some of them are from the cut-scenes, but many of my best moments with the game was in the survival gun-play.

Scream-worthy gaming

A true survival-horror video game, Village leaves you strapped for life-saving resources: from bullets to medicine, you must leave no stone unturned. You can craft ammo which the game metes out everything in a miserly fashion. Crafting is streamlined here, and those annoying plant combinations of past editions are gone.

The first-person gun-play feels snappy, loud and violent, when you have ammo. Given the scarcity, the melee weapon should have been a bit more useful; it feels like stabbing zombies with butter knife. Whether or not that is Capcom’s way of inciting hopelessness in the player, it still does not quite feel like it is connecting. That said, encounters with monsters are intense and scrappy messes. They are some of the best parts of the game, serving up some vividly special gaming memories, though the nerve-shredding boss fights come a close second.

Screenshot from ‘Resident Evil Village’ game

Screenshot from ‘Resident Evil Village’ game   | Photo Credit: Capcom

Rather than using the traditional and overdone jump scares which most horror games rely on, Village creates atmosphere with one of the best uses of sound design in a game thus far, particularly when one of the boss monsters who constantly actively hunt or chase you —a hallmark of Resident Evil games. The positional audio of Lady Dimitrescu’s heels as she, bends through doorways and roams the hallways calling out for you as she laughs is hair-raising. The architecture of Castle Dimitrescu is also quite ornate with its stretching hallways, intricate mouldings and sculptures, rich tapestries and sweeping staircases.

The Resident Evil games love their devious puzzles. Like the past games, there are many locked doors for which you have to find all sorts of keys. Village has some strong puzzles, from deviously-hidden door codes to fun ones involving unsightly oil paintings. Examine everything, and explore every nook and cranny for any scrap of a clue which will be of use later.

Screenshot from ‘Resident Evil Village’ game

Screenshot from ‘Resident Evil Village’ game   | Photo Credit: Capcom

Capcom’s proprietary RE Engine is capable of producing some gory visuals — from glistening blood-covered surfaces to glistening and pulsating creatures that have a hundred too many eyeballs. You could find yourself very close to losing your lunch, so be mindful of when you play.

Resident Evil Village is one of the best games in the series so far, with an edge-of-the-seat story, tight gun-play and memorable puzzles. While it does have its flaws, they are easily overlooked as the immersive world design keeps you going. Finally, do not forget to breathe.

The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 12:56:14 PM |

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