Sandie Ellis takes a look at Resident Evil’s newest entry
Resident Evil: Village was one of the most anticipated games of 2021. From the very first cinematic trailer where we were introduced to the 9’6" tall Lady Dimitrescu, the internet went feral. Capcom combined elements from both the 7th and 4th games to create this campy, gothic, and ruthless first-person survival horror. As the newest installment to the Resident Evil series, the story and characters were so obscure that it left the player wondering what connection it had to the scheming Umbrella Corporation.
It's a direct sequel to the seventh game, following Ethan and Mia Winters years after the traumatic events of the Baker House in Louisiana. We see the Winters in their new home with their baby, Rose. It's not long until things take a turn for the worse, when our twisted nightmare begins. Once again you’re playing as Ethan, the bland protagonist with a flair for having the worst one-liners in history. He’s no Leon or Chris but we tolerate him because we love a good scare. The objective quickly becomes clear as we find out that Ethan must save Rose from the ominous Mother Miranda.
The anxiety-inducing castle will leave you breaking a sweat trying to get out alive
One of the game’s strongest features is its endearing family of misfit villains; the four lords. We’re introduced to the quartet very quickly and soon find out that they are a key piece in the puzzle to finding Rose. Ethan visits the Lords in a set order, Lady Dimitrescu being the first. This quickly becomes a double-edged sword as her chapter is perhaps one of the most exciting and terrifying. With Lady Dimitrescu acting as a stalker enemy like Mr. X, the game of hide and seek becomes more pressing along with her excitingly destructive daughters trying to eat you alive. The anxiety-inducing castle will leave you breaking a sweat trying to get out alive. Like the other four lords' territories, Ethan gets to explore and collect treasures along the way which he can later sell to the Duke for upgrades. As wonderful as Castle Dimitrescu is, it is but a fleeting moment in the grand scheme of things and leaves you craving more.
As the game goes on, it only becomes more disturbingly frantic with a scene or two leaving the player traumatized. The world of Resident Evil: Village is beautifully eerie and plays like a nightmarish Guillermo Del Toro-style bedtime story. Between its lore, hidden treasures, and endless amount of enemies, the game is bewitching. With only minor issues along the way, its downfall lies within the final boss battle which is underwhelming considering the build-up of momentum. It also lacks the fear factor that its predecessor induced in players. Yes, there are countless jump scares and House Beneviento will give you nightmares, but all in all, the horror elements and storyline come across as camp more than anything. Village’s twisted fairy-tale immerses the player in the unsettling gothic, it’s almost perfect and even the more faint-hearted gamers should give it a whirl. The Transylvanian fairytale makes for chilling gameplay especially in the cold, dark nights of Winter.