The idea of the perfect rollercoaster has eluded most theme park engineers for centuries. The design philosophy behind crafting an exhilarating rollercoaster isn't as simple as speed or precision. Most ideal coasters have inversions, unexpected turns, loops, and corkscrews - but balancing these elements out is what gives riders an unforgettable experience. Perhaps you have a second or two to catch your breath, but a great coaster will suddenly throw you into a steep incline, escalating your heartrate with dizzying momentum. You step off the ride, you're fulfilled, and your first natural instinct is to ride it again. I say this because Resident Evil Village is the video game equivalent of that perfect rollercoaster.
Note: This review is spoiler-free.
Resident Evil Village picks up after the events of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Some time has passed since the horrific night at the Baker estate. Ethan and Mia Winters are now living a secluded life with their baby daughter, Rose. Just when it seems life has returned to normal, Ethan's world is flipped again when Chris Redfield assassinates Mia and kidnaps Rose. Finding himself in an isolated Romanian village, Ethan must venture out to rescue his daughter while dealing with a mysterious, malevolent figure known as Mother Miranda and her children, the Four Lords.
Capcom put a lot of emphasis on Ethan Winters as a character this time, and it mostly works. While he was a bit of a blank slate for players to project themselves onto in Resident Evil 7, here Ethan is a well-rounded, fleshed out character - who once again fills the role of a blank slate, but this time with layers. Ethan isn't suddenly a deep protagonist, but his motivations are emotionally driven, easy to sympathize with, and propelled by a fatherly instinct to save his remaining family. Chris Redfield plays a pivotal role in the events to come as well, but his involvement is a surprise best saved for the full experience.
Every great story needs a great antagonist, and luckily for Resident Evil Village, it has a handful of them. Lady Alcina Dimitrescu, the imposingly tall mistress of Castle Dimitrescu, certainly captured the attention of the community. Like Mr. X and Nemesis, though, her presence is commanding and formidable, playing to the strengths of the franchise's most iconic pursuers. Capcom does not downplay the weird sexual occultism of these vampiric foes either, fitting into the insatiable bloodlust lore of the creatures. These creative liberties extend to every one of the other Four Lords too, drawing inspiration from gothic horror to The Conjuring, oddly enough.
Donna Beneviento's house of paranormal oddities draws several parallels to P.T./Silent Hills...
Capcom's level design for Resident Evil Village is absolutely world-class.
Creatively, Resident Evil Village is a game that's constantly firing on all cylinders from beginning to end.
While not as long as Resident Evil 4, Village boasts a length of around 8-10 hours...
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
7 May 2021
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