Resident Evil fans are long-suffering. Not only the games alone strain the nerves, but also Capcom’s information policy. Since Resident Evil Village was announced almost a year ago, the publisher has only scattered small information. Here a few minutes of gameplay, then another trailer that drives the fans crazy with cliffhangers. Even the first demo only gave a limited preview of the finished game and is also limited to the few players who have already been able to get hold of a Playstation 5. Less than a month before the release, it will be the highest railroad for a detailed look at Capcom’s new edition of its horror shocker series.
In the course of an approximately one hour demo, Capcom showed us a large part of the beginning of Resident Evil. We were able to take a detailed look at the combat system, game world and gameplay and thus also recognize the mood and direction that Capcom had on May 7th, 2021 with Resident Evil Village (buy now ) want to achieve.
Our demo throws us into nowhere in Eastern Europe without comment after an accident. We know from the trailers that we are playing Ethan Winters again – protagonist from Resident Evil 7 – who has built a family with his child with his wife Mia. One night the family idyll is badly hit. Woman switched off, baby gone and everything depends on the famous serial hero Chris Redfield together. (We already mentioned the cliffhanger, didn’t we?) So Ethan is on his way to find his daughter.
Some fans weren’t that happy that the protagonist was taken over from Part 7, as Ethan’s character was pretty pale in the predecessor. Capcom seems to have heard these calls and working on ethane. In our demo he conveys a lot more profile. So he likes to chat with himself to convey his state of mind. But the game world also knows the name Ethan Winters. In Village, especially at the beginning, we always meet more or less normal people with whom Ethan interacts and who interact as little quest givers. This tells us that Ethan is known as the “outsider” who comes to the aid of the village. For example, if you make the acquaintance of the chubby dealer “The Duke”, he has already wondered when you are going to open up at his place.
But the opponents also learn your name quickly. First of all the procession under Mother Miranda. She is actually the patron saint of the villagers, but apparently now has other things to do and is gathering an entourage of evil around her. The hammer-wielding werewolf Heisenberg and the giant lady Dimitrescou are already known. In our preview, however, we were able to make out two other members of the circle in addition to Mother Miranda, with whom the game will probably also confront you in the later course. It looks like every major villain controls a part of the game world. While Heisenberg and his werewolves make the village unsafe, Lady Dimtrescou and her daughters are out and about in the castle. At the moment we cannot say whether there will be more game areas, but Resident Evil 7 also surprised later with unforeseen game areas.
The game sections differ noticeably from each other. When you arrive in the village at the beginning of the game, you are fully in survival mode. Ethan just arrives with his fluff in his pocket and you have to equip yourself as best you can. Again and again the werewolf-like monsters come on your skin, and they even bring their own enemy AI with them. The hairy fiends hunt in packs and like to position themselves around you on the roofs of houses or in the bushes and lurk. Once the attack breaks out, the fight in Resident Evil Village can get hectic. If you are used to the predecessor, there are comparatively many opponents at once and the action part predominates.
The opposite is the lock in our demo. There the pace and the hectic pace of the attacks decrease significantly and you usually come into direct confrontation with one of the vampire ladies. Here Resident Evil Village spreads the fear of persecution of its predecessor again. The castle is nicely nested and around every corner one of the lovely ladies with their bloody sickles could lurk again. In addition, the game in the castle turns up the amount of typical puzzles that are known from Resident Evil. An example: At one point we see four faceless statues and a door behind them. So we have to stroll through the castle, track down the faces and then arrange them correctly so that the door opens. We are always followed by the vampire ladies in the best Mister X manner.
You can tell that Capcom strives for a lot more variety and wants to bring action and horror fans together. Whether that works remains to be seen, as this game design increases the variety, but can also be boring or even frustrating. If, for example, friends of subtle horror are thrown into long action sections, this is very annoying in the long run.
On a technical level, Resident Evil Village seems to have a solid foundation. The RE engine is now very well established and impresses with its technical gadgets. In the castle in particular, the interiors are furnished in detail, the architecture is ornate and surfaces reflect realistically and cast atmospheric shadows using ray tracing on the new consoles. If one of the vampire ladies laughs right in our face, you’d want the VR version right away. In contrast to Resident Evil 7, this time no VR version is planned – at least not for the time being. Because some scenes look very much as if they were designed for virtual reality.
Well-known paths are also used for weapon handling and interface. The guns sound good, but we think they could use a little more bang. That can change in the course of the game, because you can upgrade your weapons at the dealer – but the gameplay demo didn’t give us enough insight for that.
If you run through the game world, you will meet the typical yellow markings again, which signal that you can do something here. You can break a yellow box, you push a yellow cabinet in front of the door to keep attacking opponents away. The inventory is again limited in the classic way, but has a new crafting menu. In contrast to its predecessor, you no longer screw ammunition and medi bottles together in a confusing way in the inventory, but see all materials at a glance in the new tab and can craft quickly. Speaking of crafting: That has been expanded. You can now even hunt animals and cook dishes from the meat. They then give you different buffs at times. So it is obviously very worthwhile to roam the game world for goodies again.
So that you can get an impression of the game for yourself, Capcom gives you the opportunity to do so. As part of a demo event on May 2nd, you can download a trial version and explore certain areas in the village and in the castle. The demo is limited to 60 minutes, but is available for all release platforms. Resident Evil Village will be released a week later on May 7th, 2021 for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Google Stadia.
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