Let's talk about Resident Evil Village, shall we?
It's been well over a month since the sequel to Resident Evil Biohazard arrived and now that I have finally finished the game, I'm going to drop a few highlights, spoilers, the pros and cons from Resident Evil Village.
The game's summary is obviously a continuation of the events from RE7's tragic Dunlay incident in Louisiana, where we are introduced to the main protagonist, Ethan Winters your basic Everyman archetype who manages to single-handedly defeats the mold infected Baker family.
Fast forward three years and here we see Ethan, his wife Mia and their baby daughter Rosemary, Rose for short, enjoy a quiet evening until RE Stalwart Chris Redfield(??) shoots Mia like around 7 or 8 times, (I lost count.) then takes Rose and an unconscious Ethan, who wakes up from his nightmare only to find a real one where once again, he's faced against insurmountable odds in order to rescue his daughter from being sacrificed by the mysterious Mother Miranda and the four Lords!
If there is one thing RE Village has going for it, is the incredible gothic setting and macabre atmosphere that reeks of Castlevania sans Vampires, Werewolves and other monstrosities...oh, wait it does have these things but, BUT they’re not created by supernatural means, after all this is Resident Evil y'know.
The emphasis of RE8's gameplay, is heavily focused on action to offset the complaints of RE Biohazard being too scary. In Village, you as the player is equipped with a nice chunk of arsenal throughout the game. This may explain why so many gamers deem Village as the venerable Resident Evil 4's spiritual successor. The settings are similar, the action gets intense and just like Resi 4, you can purchase or modify your weapons when you encounter the merchant who refers to himself as "Duke." This and the on the go crafting system, adds more balance to the gameplay especially when you're up against the odds.
While Resident Evil 7 was limited to a few mold creatures, its sequel offers a nice variety of antagonists from Vampire Maidens, Hammer welding Werewolves to Zombie cyborgs. The latter was lifted straight from an indie Horror film, Frankenstein's Army. Hopefully, Capcom has good lawyers.
While not as scary as RE7, there were a few terrifying moments that you might have reservations when playing this game in the dark. House of Benadetto is a primary example when Ethan is left without weapons while being pursued by a giant fetus! The puzzles are somewhat rudimentary yet engaging enough to keep the game's momentum and pacing going. Although plenty of the gameplay is set within the village, the design levels from Dimitrescu's Castle to Karl Heisenberg's industrial factory is a less contained environment like Resident Evil 7's Baker Plantation or the abandoned Tanker stage.
The combat is frantic at times, especially when you have fast Werewolves that can dodge bullets and during the third act you are going to need as much ammunition as possible.
It seems like the developers at Capcom were having too much fun at Ethan's expense, where once again he loses his hand and prior to that, his fingers are chewed off! Is this in keeping with the spirit of the previous game? At least there is an explanation of why his hand regenerates after pouring "first aid" liquid on his wounds. And damn, its a shocker! *See SPOILER TALK below*
I was surprised how Capcom managed to squeeze in a modicum of humor during one boss battle, in which a self-referential comment was thrown in. Its fourth wall breaking at its finest!
If there is one major gripe, I have with RE8, was the brief appearance of Lady Dimistrescu, who was featured as this tall, beautiful Vampiress, only to get killed off during the Castle stage like some afterthought. Had the developers played their cards right, Alcina would have filled Albert Wesker's shoes. Okay, two gripes. The game is barebones compared to Resident Evil 7 and although there are plans for dlc, it's going to be awhile before new story related content to drop. As of this writing, Reverse game was not accessible nor was Mercenaries and even so, it doesn't look as interesting as RE7’s “Not a Hero” or “End of Zoe” for that matter. Mercenaries only feature Ethan running and gunning sans Chris or his Wolfhound squadron. No thanks!
I was taken aback during the third act where Ethan was presumed dead after Miranda rips his heart out yet, it is revealed that he was dead all along after his first encounter with Jack Baker from Resident Evil 7 however, Ethan’s body was reconstituted from the molded with his essence and persona intact. At first this shocking revelation was comparable to The Sixth Sense, but it complements the narrative and its inevitable conclusion. The other twist, was that Mia who was also presumed dead, was Mother Miranda who somehow located the Winters’ secluded residence, kidnapped Mia and had taken her guise to take Rose until Chris Redfield showed up and plugged so many slugs into her.
I was a bit disappointed with this fake out scenario because Mia was a researcher for criminal organization The Connections, the same organization responsible for creating Eveline, who attributed to the Bakers’ tragedy. Sure, it absolves Chris from being seen as a cold-blooded murderer which is slightly out of character, but Mia deserves whatever karma that may come her way. Now, this further explains why Rose was intended as this grand sacrifice as she contained the properties of the molded passed on by Ethan. The ending itself, was amusing on various levels, here we have Ethan making his own sacrifice to destroy Miranda’s Metacyte after rescuing his daughter and as he was dying after one too many regeneration occurrences, (“First Aid bottles”, anyone?)
Resident Evil Village dared to branch out further from its lore by introducing new scenarios and bosses reminiscent to the Metal Gear Solid games of old. The conclusion is cathartic regarding the main protagonist Ethan. Despite my previous skepticism, I have come away realizing how there is that narrative connective tissue between the recent RE games and the previous titles. It's not what you may come to expect from the mainstream RE games, yet one of the very best!