Resident Evil Village Review – Castle Intrigue

Resident Evil Village, or RE8 for those keeping track, is the latest in the series where boulder punching, clones, and a virus outbreak could be in one conversation and it will still make sense within the context of the game.

Capcom has been hitting the right strides with the last game back in 2017, so have they improved upon the first-person formula to make RE8 the best horror FPS in the market once again? I believe they have.

Presentation

From the moment your player-character, Ethan, gets dropped onto the Village, the atmosphere is already quite thick with the barren emptiness of the houses and swarms of Lycans attacking you as you get to grips with the game.

Like RE 7, it thrust you into the action quickly and you’ll appreciate how the RE dev team builds the intensity and intrigue of this discreet mountain-side village.

The winter outlook of the abandoned houses, the beautiful but empty Castle Dimitrescu are some of the places you’ll visit throughout the game, and boy does it look pretty on Current Gen consoles.

I have to admit, I was dismissive of the game when it was first revealed during the PS5 reveal stream, its shoddy frame rate was to blame really but looking at it in action gives it a better impression and shows how good the RE Engine really is.

It looks quite good with Ray-Tracing on but that 45fps on Xbox Series S is a bit of a turn off though. It feels unbalanced at times RT-off 60fps is the way to go with the game and it still looks amazing. The animations are smooth and the textures look crisp, a good-looking game for this early into the generation.

Sound design is as sublime as you would expect from Resident Evil devs. It’s spooky when it needs to. It’s atmospheric when you get towards the many downtimes within the game.

It builds upon the last three releases and keeps what makes their audience hear in fear within the game. So if you have that 3D Audio or Dolby Audio headsets, strap in for a chilling experience within.

Gameplay

Resident Evil 8 is, as you might expect, a continuation of RE 7 and with it, brought in some nice Quality of Life changes from it. The weapons now have some weight to them, which makes eliminating the Lycans more satisfying, the puzzle elements now feel more natural within their new surroundings

Speaking of QOL changes, everyone’s favorite attache case is back. The new game really brought back our old friend last seen in Resident Evil 4 and now you too can play case Tetris.

It’s snappy and quick to use so there aren’t any issues with speed when menu-ing and space isn’t an issue either now since you can upgrade thanks to our new friend the Duke.

The Duke is our friendly merchant throughout the game that will either help you sell items that will aid you in the game, upgrade your arsenal to be more efficient and powerful, and weirdly enough, cook collected items such as meat, fish, and poultry that can help boost Ethan’s stat during a playthrough. 

Its cooking mechanics look out of place and clunky within RE itself, but any sort of help to survive the Village is good enough.

The Bosses

Every Resident Evil isn’t complete without its iconic bosses and its memorable battles. And besides the highs of the Dimitrescu Castle (which was shown in parts during the demo), it felt underwhelming during the final release. 

The Daughters didn’t get any sort of intro to their battles and felt like they were normal enemies instead of being a step closer to defeating the Lady herself. Which considering how the marketing went, kinda feels like a letdown.

But not wanting to spoil anything besides that, there is one boss area in which I feel the switch to the first person makes AMAZING sense. You’ll have to play it to know. But other than these two boss battles, the rest feel too open spaced and very set-piecey, not as fun to play as outliers really.

Quite of a weird complaint, I know, but knowing the RE dev team, this might be ratified in the next game. 

Content

As expected, the game in its first run is going to net you around 6 – 10 hours of gameplay. And judging how replayable most of the RE games are, it’s a good amount of content within it. Along with New Game+, RE 8 follows its predecessors in making a fun game that can be replayed easily.

But if you don’t feel like replaying Ethan’s journey to the depths of the Vampire Lady’s village, then you also have the Mercenaries mode returning. It’s basically the arcade light gun-style version of the game where you have a set amount of enemies to kill with a set timer.

It’s an arcade mode with some depth included, in the form of power-ups that you can buy from The Duke or get within the battle zone. Effects like better damage or sprinting speed can make or break a Mercenaries mode. 

But my gripe with this mode is that we couldn’t play as Chris Redfield or any other character besides Ethan. Which when compared to the RE6 version, is quite a shame. 

All in all, quite a solid package for the new Resident Evil game. This isn’t even including the upcoming REverse game, the Multiplayer component which might fare better than that RE3 Remake’s Dead By Daylight clone. 

Personal Enjoyment

Resident Evil has been the staple of the horror genre for the third year running now, so perhaps some players are already feeling the fatigue of playing the series continuously but for me, this game has reinvigorated my love for the horror genre in general. It’s just that good in conveying all of the horror elements into one neat game.

It’s a short game, sure. But it isn’t a Resident Evil game without replayability and this follows the same feeling like 7 or the two earlier remakes, fairly easy to jump back and play. It does help players who have finished the game right now and can jump back in playing it once more later on. 

Capcom did an amazing job with making this game engaging, and I kinda hope they’ll slow it down for the next remake that’s in their back catalog. Resi fans can wait a year or two more for more games.

Final Thoughts

Resident Evil: Village is the testament to the work Capcom has made to make the series more popular than ever. It’s familiar but intriguing. It’s scary and action-packed all within this one game that even non-fans could enjoy playing together. 

And I can’t wait to see how this series evolves after this.

Played on Xbox Series S. Review copy provided by Capcom Asia

9

Resident Evil 8

Resident Evil: Village is the testament to the work Capcom has made to make the series more popular than ever. It’s familiar but intriguing. It's scary and action-packed all within this one game that even non-fans could enjoy playing together.

  • Presentation 9.5
  • Gameplay 8.5
  • Content 8.5
  • Personal Enjoyment 9.5

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