Welcome to KitGuru Games, a new weekly column going over the latest in gaming, from what we’ve been playing and impressions on the latest releases, to shining a light on interesting hidden gems. This week, I’ll be sharing my fresh thoughts on Resident Evil Village after finishing the game.
Do be warned that there are major story spoilers throughout. For spoiler free impressions and PC performance benchmarks, check out our previous coverage, HERE.
Resident Evil Village is a genre-bending rollercoaster. The game starts out with all the tension and awe in the world, as Ethan’s daughter is kidnapped and you wake up in a mysterious village full of Lycans. Not before long, we’re confronted with this game’s group of bad guys, an adopted family spearheaded by Mother Miranda, a goddess-like figure in this village. Miranda has kidnapped Ethan’s daughter, Rose, and distributed her body in four flasks amongst her four lords, the first of which is Lady Dimitrescu, the extremely tall vampire we all remember from Village’s pre-launch marketing.
As much as I love Resident Evil Village as a whole, these first few hours of the game are what really stuck with me after finishing it. The tension when you escape capture and can begin exploring Dimitrescu Castle is palpable. Exploring the rooms, cellars, and dungeon areas with the looming threat of Lady Dimitrescu and her three vampire daughters is an experience unmatched in the rest of the game.
After leaving the castle, we are back in the Village, tasked with going to each of the other lords one by one to collect pieces of Rose. This Metroidvania loop of going to a level, taking down the boss and collecting the key to move on is satisfying but it also feels a bit like filler at times as there are few major plot reveals during this section. This swiftly changes by the time we get to Heisenberg’s factory, and it is from this point on that the game really starts to make a turn.
Heisenberg is immediately less of a threat compared to Dimitrescu, as we learn that he wants to bring Mother Miranda down himself and is not interested in killing Ethan. However, for reasons unknown, he does need Ethan’s daughter, Rose, in order to defeat her. This provides great reasons for the character of Ethan to be tense, but as a player, at this point I’m a Resident Evil Village veteran with a pretty good arsenal of upgraded weapons. Clearing enemies from a room is no longer the scary affair that it was a few hours earlier, which is a shame as this was the last ‘major’ boss level before heading on to Mother Miranda.
This is where Resident Evil Village transitions from a survival horror game into an action game. The last couple of hours, starting with the Heisenberg boss fight, is filled with set piece action and story twists. The deliberate pacing of the early game is truly gone and we are heading full speed to the end of the story. This is truly encapsulated in a sequence where you play as Chris Redfield, complete with a Call of Duty style tactical loadout that makes quick work of enemy hordes. Better yet, there is a scene where you get to call in an air strike on a castle.
In the end, we learn that Ethan has been dead since Resident Evil 7, after being murdered by Jack Baker, and has only been able to carry on due to being infected by the E-Virus. Mother Miranda was using Ethan and his daughter to obtain a substance called Mold, which can be used to essentially reanimate a human being. Miranda was hoping to revive her lost daughter, Eva, by doing all of this. Ethan blows the place up, stops Miranda and ends his journey, leaving us to pick things back up in Resident Evil 9.
Resident Evil Village suffers a little bit from the sophomore slump in my opinion. It wasn't able to keep up the suspense and tension for as long as Resident Evil 7 did. There are two reasons for this, the first being gameplay related. In Resident Evil Village, we have an in-game vendor buying your collectibles and selling weapon upgrades and bullets, making it much easier to overpower yourself for future parts of the game on standard difficulty.
The second reason is simply pacing, as there were too many plot-bending reveals in close proximity in the final parts of the game, making the ending as a whole come off as whacky. Perhaps the levels between Castle Dimitrescu and Heisenberg's Factory could have tied into the overarching plot a bit more to make the game seem less bottom-heavy.
Overall though, Resident Evil Village was a fantastic time and while the ending was a bit of a mindbender, it sets things up nicely for Resident Evil 9, which should act as a grand finale for the Winters trilogy.
KitGuru Says: If you're reading this, then hopefully you have also played and finished Resident Evil Village. Now that you've all heard from me, I'd love to know what you all thought of Resident Evil Village. Where does it rank in the series for you?