UPDATE: The reviewer discovered after the publication of this review there was a bug with New Game+. We have update the original review to reflect this.
Resident Evil is a franchise built for immersing you in it’s dark and dreary world of infected beings ravaging every place they encounter. Starting in 1996, Resident Evil from Capcom has always been a staple for the company; with various spin-offs like Operation Raccoon City, Revelations, and Gaiden outside of their numbered titles.
Resident Evil Village re-immerses you in a world of struggle, uncertainty, and hope. Fighting your way through monsters, vampires, and lycans; you try to find the truth behind your daughter’s abduction in place kept hidden from outsiders. Explore the dark depths and secrets of the village.
This is a review coupled with a supplemental video review. You can watch the video review or read the full review of the game below.
Resident Evil Village
Platforms: Windows PC (reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Release Date: May 6th, 2021
Price: $59.99 USD
You return to playing as Ethan Winters from Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, who now has the best ability of shooting off pretty lame one-liners. After moving to England, per Chris Redfield’s request to protect Mia, he has a newborn child Rose. Soon after, she is abducted by Chris after killing Mia.
After crashing in a convoy, Ethan stumbles into a mysterious village; and after being captured, you are introduced to the antagonists: The Four Lords. Each of them are assisting Mother Miranda, a deity-like figure that protects the village. Each of them have their gameplay elements to make you stay on your feet and keep your wits about you.
The story does feature some odd choices where some things can be explained first, but ultimately don’t until near the end. The scare factor in the game comes in waves due to each different segment. The uneasy feelings I had going into the dark and unknown kept me wanting to revisit it to see if I could overcome that fear.
Massive landscapes including mountains, waterfalls, and snow-covered broken homes fill the screen, and throw you into the landscape that you’ll be traversing. Seeing this game at max settings is a sight to behold when viewing the village or any other architecture you’ll come across.
Character models are highly detailed, and the art style is a step up from Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Skin, weapons, and even clothing have massive levels of detail that make it feel more realistic when you see them.
Sometimes however, you’ll see some repeating textures that will catch your eye. Minor clipping with some clothing on characters like the Duke are also occasionally noticeable, but only if you’re looking for it.
Shrubs and tree branches are also low poly, but they get a pass because of the heavy load already present in the game. On PC Resident Evil Village suffers from stuttering when shooting enemies, and sometimes dropping frames hard in certain situations or rooms. Sometimes these can inhibit gameplay but hopefully it can be resolved with a future patch.
Your main goal in Village is to uncover the mystery of your missing, infant daughter. Finding clues and lore scattered around each area will help tell you details about the village and characters that aren’t on screen. Keeping your mind open and eyes focused on details will help you progress.
Shooting is your main way to fight back against different sorts of monsters in the world. Some monsters can take anywhere from 5 to 6 headshots to kill, while lycans, can take longer depending on the variant.
Lei, the in-game currency, is spent at the Duke; a traveling merchant with items like crafting recipes, ammo, and weapon attachments. Each time you visit the Duke in new locations, he will expand his “services”, which include more weapon upgrades for cash or cooking food for stat increases.
While exploring the linear village, dungeons, and corridors, you’ll find scrap metal, herbs, gunpowder, and more to craft ammo when not near the merchant or he’s sold out. It is a horror survival game, which means it’s best to conserve your ammo as much as possible; taking your time to aim for headshots or using the knife on enemies.
Physics based, numbered, and labyrinth puzzles are stationed in each region of the map that you’ll explore, ranging in differing difficulty. The puzzles themselves are simple and not too difficult, but still provide the Aha! moment when solved.
You always learn something for multiple subsequent runs, further complimented by the game having the perfect length. Like the good old days, you feel rewarded for completing challenges, and want to be better the next time.
In New Game+ can be done through selecting Continue or loading a completed game save file, which will then allow you to carry over inventory, weapons, and crafting materials for food recipes.
While this is great fun for blazing through the game a second time, and making secrets a little easier to find, there are times when this option bugs out and no New Game+ is available. It may have been a bug under weird circumstances, but should work under normal conditions.
The music of Village is what you would expect from surviving and fighting for your life against the supernatural. It can be calm when you’re not engaging in combat, with the sound of drum beats, creeping suspense, and sometimes tribal themes. More intense tribal sounding, thriller style music puts you into the atmosphere of engaging in battle.
Sound in the game is somewhat quiet when you’re breaking crates, walking, or doing anything at all; where as the enemies and other NPCs have louder sounds that can be heard from rooms further away. Some sounds are of terrible quality in a few instances, like crows sounding like they have a compressed mp3, which can take you out of the experience for a bit.
Some small questionable story choices, compressed sounds, and PC stability keep Resident Evil Village from being a masterpiece, but not far from it. It’s definitely a must-play game that can kickstart your love for the franchise if this is your first step into the series. If you are a returning fan, it’s definitely not Umbrella Corps!
Resident Evil Village was reviewed on Windows PC using a review code provided by Capcom. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.