Horror video games thrive on with the ability to shock the participant. AAA horror video games often consider they should artificially prolong their size in an effort to justify their price ticket, which may result in a extra repetitive expertise. By the tip of the sport, you’ve been doing the identical factor lengthy sufficient that you’re now not shocked, and thus now not scared. Resident Evil: Village managed to get round that by making a theme park of horror, continuously shifting between utterly completely different areas, with wildly completely different tones and gameplay, in an effort to preserve you from feeling secure.
After a story-focused intro, the sport drops you within the titular village, offering a basic RE-style compact house that slowly unlocks and loops again on itself as you progress. For followers of Resident Evil 4, the setting feels acquainted, as does the opening set-piece the place you need to survive an onslaught of enemies, supplying you with an opportunity to get used to the sport’s fight mechanics. The village space acts as your hub, and keys or gadgets you discover in different areas will unlock new locations to seek for secrets and techniques. Every time you come back, the village acts as a palette cleanser earlier than letting you pattern the following taste of horror it has to supply.
The following major areas are all given a singular tone, every reflecting one of many 4 lords that reside there. Whereas the sequence isn’t precisely recognized for its refined villains, the 4 lords appear much more over-the-top and cartoonish in comparison with the comparatively grounded Baker household from RE7. Very like Metallic Gear Stable antagonists, they every have a powerful visible language that communicates their character, with an identical powerset to additional differentiate them. It’s a daring technique that offers the remainder of the sport a segmented really feel, whereas nonetheless managing to behave as a cohesive entire.
The primary of those themed areas is Girl Dimitrescu’s citadel, which performs out like an opulent model of the RE2 police station. This space is supposed to enchantment to individuals who could have just lately performed the RE2 Remake, as it’s the just one that options an unkillable, Mr. X-like stalker character, the aforementioned Girl Dimitrescu. The gameplay suits completely within the new setting, with a number of miniboss fights sprinkled all through the usual key assortment and lightweight puzzle fixing. It’s an ideal strategy to ease you into the sport and lull you right into a false sense of familiarity earlier than pulling the rug out from beneath you.
After a short cease within the central village, you head to Home Beneviento, which is definitely my favourite part of the sport. Upon coming into, your weapons are taken away, instantly shattering the expectations from the earlier space, letting you recognize you’re in for an entire change of tempo. Right here, the sport switches from the usual RE-style exploration to a extra dream logic, puzzle-focused gameplay, echoing the discovered footage escape room sections of RE7. The surreal puzzles all have a surprisingly emotional give attention to Ethan’s household, giving the sport a much-needed emotional grounding whereas nonetheless managing to creep the hell out of you. I’m undecided RE: Village may survive utterly on such a gameplay, but it surely’s an ideal diversion after the extra normal opening stage.
On the finish of every of the primary two areas, you discover one among 4 plot-important flasks, however within the third space, the Reservoir, you discover it instantly and spend the remainder of your time attempting to flee. Moderately than continuously looking for keys and doubling again to unlock new rooms, this part focuses extra on determining how you can navigate the world and unlock it in a extra linear style. Whereas it’s not as massive of a departure as Home Beneviento, it’s one other welcome change of tempo, and as soon as once more brings to thoughts RE4 with its selection of set dressing. The linearity of it’s appreciated, particularly with regards to the chase with the enormous fish monsters in a flooded portion of the map.
The ultimate few areas change issues as much as a extra action-heavy focus, with a change of surroundings every time. First, you may have a large-scale battle in a Stronghold, combating off wave after wave of werewolves. It’s a tense train in ammo administration that leads properly into Heisenberg’s Manufacturing unit. Right here, you face off towards unusual mechanized experiments, a wholly completely different kind of enemy than something you’ve seen within the sport. Though it’s very action-heavy just like the Stronghold, the enemy sorts change the way you play, asking the participant to focus on particular, usually difficult to achieve, weak factors. This all climaxes in a guns-blazing showdown within the central village, the place you’re tearing by means of monsters as a well-armed Chris Redfield. After all of the extra measured gameplay of the primary half, it’s a bit disappointing that the tip turns into so action-oriented, but it surely seems like an applicable escalation of the story.
If RE7 proved something, it’s that the sequence may very well be malleable with its content material whereas nonetheless feeling prefer it belonged with the opposite video games. Moderately than the normal zombies we bought unstoppable cannibals and unusual mould creatures. With VIllage, the RE group stretched the premise even additional, incorporating vampires, werewolves, creepy dolls, and mechanized monstrosities, all with out shattering the world they’ve created over the past 25 years. Whereas RE7 succeeded as a result of they scaled it down and targeted on the fundamentals, Village succeeded as a result of they took the revamped gameplay of seven and blew it up with a kitchen sink method to worldbuilding. The sheer number of horror tropes which are thrown at you with out feeling overwhelming makes for one of the vital thrilling experiences of 2021.