Release Date: 05/07/2021
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I will come right out and admit that I never finished Resident Evil 7. The game was just scary for me, but I plan and go through it now that I have finished the game. Resident Evil Village is the direct sequel of RE7 where you play Ethan Winters trying to save his daughter Rose that was taken by Mother Miranda. You end up in a strange village full of new evil villains and a bunch of places to explore.
The entire game is played in the first person again, and the game’s settings and scare factor is set right off the bat. You end up in a seemingly abandoned village and eventually you end up running away from Lycans. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but giving away details about each area, but I will describe them. You spend a good bit inside the village acquiring your first couple of weapons and learning the layout and controls. As you meet villagers and try and escape the Lycans you end up in Lady Dimitriscu’s castle, one of the only areas that have been shown in great lengths for months leading up to the game’s release. This is where you learn to explore, solve a few puzzles, and understand that the entire game revolves around exploring an area and acquiring a key or item that unlocks the next part. This may involve a mini-boss or onslaughts of enemies.
Lady D’s castle has her three daughters chasing you and they end up becoming mini-bosses. Lady D stalks you through the castle eventually like Mr. X or Nemesis in previous games. If you spend too much time in one room she will come through the door in her 9′ glorious beauty. She’s a fantastic character, as all of them in this game are, but sadly there are only two cut-scenes with her and you don’t get to know her well enough before you finish her off and move on to the next area. There are three more areas that end up being the boss’s lairs. A marsh, a machine factory, and an old mansion. Each area is unique and a blast to explore, but the scare factor in this game is kind of weak. The game gets scary only in certain areas and the good majority of the game is just an eerie atmosphere, but not so much creepy. Sadly, a lot of the environment is static and enemies don’t respawn so the game feels tenser in areas, especially with a lot of enemies around.
There’s a lot of action in this game and it ramps up as the game moves on. Just like Resident Evil 4, you can expand your cache storage and buy weapons from The Duke. He sets up shop in each area you explore and has a central hub that you eventually get to. There are many weapons to buy with some that are upgraded over others. You buy things with Lei which the majority is acquired by selling crystals and gems and various rare treasures. Large enemies, bosses, and mini-bosses all drop these crystals. You can buy upgrades for weapons as well as parts just like in RE4. Duke has some limited ammo and explosives you can buy, but you can also craft items by finding parts laying around everywhere. This includes crafting ammo, explosives, and health. At some points, you must make every shot count, but I never ran out of ammo completely and got myself into a bad situation.
One issue I did have with the game is the confusing level design. You have to backtrack a lot and in some areas, I ran around for 20 or more minutes trying to remember my way back to a particular area because I found the key to move on from there. It got frustrating and the machine factory is an absolute chore to navigate. Nothing but endless hallways and dead-end rooms. Once you do find the key or door you need it’s rather satisfying and there’s a constant sense of progression through the whole game. Bosses aren’t very hard, but they just require you to stay on your toes and learn their patterns and you must aim carefully.
The visuals in RE8 are pretty damn good and they look great on PC. Sadly, the ray-tracing effects are minimal and not worth the halved frame rate even on my RTX 2080 in 1440p. I noticed no difference with it on or off. The lighting looks great and the textures are well detailed and it runs well on any system. However, as I mentioned earlier, the environment is very static and there’s not much interaction or dynamic things to look at. The game is also very linear despite the areas being quite large to explore. It’s just a bunch of twisting hallways and the village isn’t all that big. There are some extra things you can do like shoot all the bobblehead goats, find all the treasures, and defeat optional mini-bosses for treasures, but most people will probably look past all of this. The sound design is amazing with some really creepy sounds both loud and quaint. Being in the large mansion and anticipating something coming around in dead silence was great and Lady D’s castle is haunting. You expect something to come around every corner.
Resident Evil Village is an evolution of the series mixing RE4‘s gameplay and RE7‘s first-person shooter goodness. I do have to say that Ethan Winters sucks as a character and I hate him. He’s horribly written and I wanted to spend more time with the main villains, but alas, here we are. It’s sad we don’t get to see more of Lady D or anyone else for that matter except when you have short encounters with them in their respective areas. RE8 is a lot more accessible than RE7, and many people will probably finish this game. The difficulty is just right, it looks and sounds good, and it’s just a blast to play through. The scare factor is all over the place, the main areas can be labyrinthine in design, and the extra modes after you finish have varied mileage.