With Resident Evil 7, Capcom took its long-running survival-horror franchise in bold new directions while simultaneously taking it back to its horror roots. Despite Resident Evil 7 using a first-person perspective, the game was still very much a classic Resident Evil title, seemingly taking inspiration from the original Resident Evil with its setting and puzzles. Resident Evil Village continues what Resident Evil 7 started by retaining the first-person view, but this time takes inspiration from Resident Evil 4 and the more action-oriented games in the series.
Set a few years after the events of Resident Evil 7, protagonist Ethan Winters and his wife Mia have settled down in a rural European town, where they have tried to live a normal life with their baby daughter Rose. Unfortunately, their peace doesn't last too long, and after a shocking confrontation with series veteran Chris Redfield, Ethan finds himself stranded in a mountain village with his daughter in the clutches of the villainous Mother Miranda and her four Lords.
Resident Evil Village's rural European setting immediately calls to mind Resident Evil 4, and the similarities between the two games don't stop there. Everything from Resident Evil Village's inventory system to its greater focus on action callback to Leon S. Kennedy's groundbreaking adventure. But since Ethan wasn't all that combat savvy in Resident Evil 7, some fans may be wondering why he's all of a sudden mowing down hordes of enemies in the new game.
It's implied that Ethan has been getting intensive training from Chris Redfield in the years since Resident Evil 7's conclusion to prepare him in case he ever found himself in another life-threatening situation. Ethan puts those skills to good use in Resident Evil Village, utilizing a deeper arsenal of weapons as he fights against crazed villagers, wolf-like creatures called Lycans, and some other monsters that he bumps into in his search for his daughter. Anyone that felt Resident Evil 7 didn't have enough action will likely be much happier with Resident Evil Village in that regard, as there's a lot more shooting and many more enemy types for Ethan to contend with.
Unfortunately, there is something lost with this renewed focus on action over scares. Capcom itself has admitted that Resident Evil Village isn't as scary as Resident Evil 7, and that will be readily apparent to anyone that plays through it. There are a couple of startling moments, but the game doesn't seem concerned with making players truly afraid of anything. None of the monsters pose that significant of a threat to Ethan, and even the bosses are dispatched rather easily.
The biggest letdown in this regard is easily Lady Dimitrescu. Heavily featured in the game's promotional materials, Resident Evil Village's Lady Dimitrescu has become the face of the new game, even though her role is overall not that significant in the grand scheme of things. Much has been said about how Lady Dimitrescu stalks Ethan around her castle like Mr. X from Resident Evil 2, but once it becomes clear that Ethan can easily outrun and outmaneuver her, she becomes infinitely less intimidating.
Gameplay-wise, Resident Evil Village's villains are a step down from Resident Evil 7's Baker family, but in terms of lore, they are more interesting. Each of Mother Miranda's Lords also has a unique look to them and special powers that come into play in their section of the game world. This results in varied environments and engaging cutscenes, even if players may come away feeling like these supposedly ultra-powerful beings are pushovers. They may not be all that compelling to fight, but it is fun learning more about Lady Dimitrescu and the game's other Lords.
While players are out slaughtering Resident Evil Village's villains and monsters, they will also be doing a great deal of exploration. The village in the game's title serves as a sort of hub area that branches off into each major section of the game. As players progress through the story, they will get new keys and other items that will allow them to explore the village further, turning up treasures and special weapons that will give them an even greater edge over their enemies.
Treasures and other points of interest are marked on the map at a certain point in the game, making it easy for Resident Evil Village players to check out all the side content. When compared to most other games in the series, there's quite a bit of side content in Resident Evil Village, which, combined with New Game+ and multiple difficulty levels, boosts the game's replay value significantly.
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