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Review – Resident Evil Village

by James DiMartino

*This review of resident evil village was played on Hardcore mode after Gamespot said the normal difficulty was too easy… Well hardcore was hard as F***

The 8th entry in the long running Resident evil series is a true innovator and step forward for horror games on the PS5. Building off resident evil 4s atmosphere, Village adds a lot of nuances to its world, creating a horrific landscape full of zombies, Lycans, werewolves and the supernatural. Picking up from were Resident evil 7 left off, Ethan winters is thrust back into his fight against the undead with a very personal vendetta set up from the get-go. Ethan will fight his way against five lords of demon/zombies while series regular Chris Redfield pops up from time to time to give exposition here and there. I found the story surprising but nothing ground-breaking or deep. Like most resident evil games it’s all about the journal rather than the destination. And what a journey it is!

Players are instantly thrown into a nightmare world were the first part of the game really apps up what it means to survive with little ammo. In fact, on hardcore the opening shooting segments where some of the hardest most frustrating aspects of the game. Put simply, this mode is for people that want to be punished again and again- with game over screens for any kind of screw up. However, once the game picks up and we get to the first castle, things do get progressively easier. The games merchant (“what are you buying or selling”) the duke offers a heap of upgrades that you can trade gems and crystals for in exchange for weapons or potions. I found this quite similar to resident evil 4 and there is a number of ways to progress. This makes every playthrough different and I feel many players will enjoy the number of ways to upgrade your gear. 

The aesthetics of the game must be discussed. The village alone is a truly memorable design that makes exploration a pure joy, there are secrets around most corners with the intention to go back at key points with specific items. The game rewards players that explore, in fact I missed many of the guns on my playthrough which was surprising and shows how many items are well hidden within the world. 

The transition to first person has really made the game escalate in terms of horror. The doll house segment will have people running, jumping, and gasping with a terror that will keep you awake at night. Its moments like these that break from the typical gameplay loop of killing zombies and finding ammo that make this game a must play for series fans. Another segment had a werewolf hunt Ethan, and it seems to come in at random intervals creating a frighting experience that got the adrenaline pumping. 

The headset helps to really bring home the music and sound design. I was overly impressed with the layers of 3D sound that went into making the experience unique. Sound is an especially important aspect of all games and its great to see that the horror is only strengthened by clever sound design and strange noices. 

While I generally had an incredibly positive experience with the game, the difficulty was very frustrating when it came to the boss fights. Many times, I ran out of ammo and wondered how I could progress. Friends that played on the standard difficulty did not seem to have this issue but on hardcore every shot needs to land or register (sometimes the shot would hit but not register? This was very annoying on boss fights!).  Scarcity of ammo works well in survival horror where its possible to run away from enemies but in situations where you need stacks of it, it creates a lot of game overs and frustration. 

Towards the end of the game, it gets very action centric which is a bit hit and miss. I enjoyed the early portions of defeating the first three demon lords (or zombies whatever, it seems now supernatural enemies are a better term here). The survival horror elements within these sections where adrenaline filled and harken backed to the early games in terms of game design. The later portions started to give me PTSD of resident evil 6 (the worst in the series). Luckily, it never gets bad. 

Fans of resident evil 4 will be in for a treat, the world and design are at the level many have craved for years. The PS5 brings some amazing features, such as the controller haptics which add to the immersive feel and makes the experience much more interesting than just another horror game. Fans of horror just got an amazing simulation to experience!

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