Resident Evil Village Review Roundup
It's been a whopping 25 years since we first explored the Spencer Mansion and Albert Wesker cemented himself as one of the greatest video game villains of all time. With Capcom's Resident Evil celebrating its Silver Anniversary, what better way to honour the legacy of the original than releasing a new game? More than just another REvamp of the first game, 2021 ushers in a truly next-gen Resident Evil with Resident Evil Village.
The embargoes have officially lifted, and much like the blood in Lady Dimitrescu's basement, the reviews are flowing in. Across the board, there seems to be almost universal love for the eighth main game in the franchise. Off the back of 2017's Resident Evil 7 being heralded as a return to form, Village takes the stealth-based horror of its predecessor and gives it a splash of Resident Evil 4's gut-toting action.
Speaking of which, fans were on the money that there's a distinctly RE4 vibe to Village. Thankfully, the game's namesake wasn't just to awkwardly shoehorn in the Roman numerals for eight into the title. Without further ado, here's the Resident Evil Village review roundup.
- Related: What Is Resident Evil Village About?
Resident Evil Village review roundup: What's everyone saying?
Andy Kelly - PC Gamer: "Castle Dimitrescu is perhaps the best showcase of Resident Evil's impressive visuals—but the entire game is just obscenely pretty. The environments are richly detailed and stunningly lit, with a tangible layer of grime and texture to every object and surface. It runs smoothly, even at high resolutions, and raytracing makes for some gorgeous lighting and reflections. The character models are also spectacular, with expressive, convincing animation bringing the cast horribly to life".
Keith Stuart - The Guardian: "Resident Evil 7 reminded us why we loved this series in the first place, and now Village has taken tentative steps towards embracing the changes in pace and direction that Resident Evil 4 introduced. It does so with guile and relish, and without ever losing sight of the uncanny dread and pulsating body horror that made Resident Evil 1 and 2 so wonderful. This is a game that does nothing really new, that looks constantly backwards, that doesn’t really make any sense – but does it all incredibly well. It’s a sublime puzzle box dripping in blood, gore and truly abysmal dialogue. I wouldn’t have it any other way".
Vic Hood - TechRadar: "Resident Evil Village’s story is probably its biggest boon, seamlessly following on from Resident Evil 7 while simultaneously turning everything you thought you knew on its head. While you could theoretically zoom through the story in three hours, it’s not recommended for the first playthrough as you’ll want to inhale every piece of lore you can to get a true sense of the threads that tie the narrative together. Capcom has done a brilliant job of blending the overarching Resident Evil lore with Ethan’s story, and hinting at what we can expect next".
Kevin Webb - Insider: "Simply put, "Resident Evil Village" is one of the best looking games ever made, creating a haunting atmosphere that will stick with you long after you're done playing. Players can look forward to a game that blends cinematic presentation with tense gunplay and puzzle-solving as "Village" explores a series of maze-like destinations hidden in a remote European town".
Resident Evil Village review roundup: Are there any negatives?
Although all reviews agreed Resident Evil Village is a truly stunning-looking game that makes the most of its next-gen potential, there were criticisms and the odd niggle. Namely, there are critiques that the latter half of the game strays into that dangerous Resident Evil 6 territory, where the tense horror is swapped out for cinematics and action. In fact, one review compared it to a Call of Duty game. There are also complaints that boss battles feel a little underwhelming, meaning you might expect more from the four houses of Dimitrescu, Beneviento, Moreau and Heisenberg.
Tristan Ogilvie - IGN: "Boss fights are a bit of a letdown but the great variety of enemies throughout keeps things tense, especially on Hardcore mode. The fact that it's very much a throwback to the fast-paced action of Resident Evil 4 also means it largely takes a step back from the slow-burn scares of Resident Evil 7's excellent opening hours, which may well disappoint those who prefer more psychological dread to blowing off heads. But if you have an itch for action-heavy survival-horror, then Resident Evil Village will scratch it like a fistfull of Lady Dimitrescu’s freakish fingernails".
Ed Thorn - Rock Paper Shotgun: "Just when I thought Resident Evil Village couldn't become any more chaotic, it proved me wrong. It went berserk, with sequences plucked straight out of Call Of Duty. I fended off hordes of enemies like a supersoldier; at one point I fully expected Covenant dropships from Halo to warp in. I never thought I'd need to while playing a survival horror, but I had to pinch myself - was I still playing the same game? I just couldn't understand why Resident Evil Village was leaning on shoot-outs with enemies, when it clearly knew it wasn't really a shooter. What was once a thrill had flatlined. But then Resident Evil 7 unravelled in the same way, so maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised after all".
Vikki Blake - Eurogamer: "The further into the story you progress, though, the weaker it becomes, as though the beginning and end were designed by two entirely different teams. I know there's always an element of this in all Resident Evil games - RE7's sudden pivot to the tanker section was so unexpected it gave me whiplash - but this disconnect impacts both momentum and atmosphere. Yes, there's plenty of diversity in its environments - you'll not just visit the village and Castle Dimitrescu but also a sunken town and a killing factory and an abandoned mine, amongst other places - but all four Lords are not created equally, which means your time with them won't feel equally validating, either".
Ian Walker - Kotaku: "While the game’s care to reference the enemy sieges and gunplay of Resident Evil 4 makes it a consistently tense experience, Resident Evil Village just plain isn’t scary most of the time, perhaps intentionally. Making progress early on is often a matter of entering dark, creaky buildings while monsters scuffle and growl just out of sight, but my arsenal of weaponry soon became so powerful that, on standard difficulty, serious threats were few and far between. Village’s boss battles felt similarly underwhelming, mostly acting as chapter-ending bullet sponges with very little in the way of scares or strategy".
Another of the few complaints seems to be that the towering temptress that is Lady Dimitrescu might not be around too long. Despite Capcom making her the poster girl of the game, it sounds like the team didn't expect her to be as popular as she has become. No spoilers here, but we're guessing you'd better make the most of what little time you have with her.
Elsewhere, there's plenty of praise for the return of Mercenaries Mode - which unlocks after you've polished off the main game. Players are loving the tacked on minigame where you slay your way through waves on enemies in a variety of different backdrops.
Either way, Resident Evil Village is being billed as one of the best to grace the series. While we're not quite on a par with the lauded Resident Evil 4, the general consensus is that Village is a worthy follow-up to the GameCube classic. It seems that we might never return to the heady highs of 2005's franchise favourite, but with Resident Evil 9 set to round off the Winters trilogy, Village has set the bar high for what could be an epic swansong.
Images via Capcom