On the day that Resident Evil Village released, I began downloading it shortly after midnight and left my PC on to let it work. By the morning, very little progress had been made, and the estimate for the full download would be twenty-four hours. Since I didn’t want to wait that long, I shut down my computer and hauled the tower and monitor up from the basement to speed things up. When I turned it on upstairs, the time was reduced to about two to three hours.
The download finished around noon; following an appointment I had and grabbing a bite to eat, I started up Resident Evil Village at approximately 2 PM. Even then, I postponed starting a new game in favor of reading through documentation of what occurred between the previous entry in the series and Village.
I found it interesting to learn that the events of the seventh game were covered up and the survivors of the incident (Ethan, Mia, Zoe, and presumably Zoe’s Uncle Joe) were declared dead by the media\military. In addition, it is revealed that Ethan and Mia were placed in witness protection in Europe; according to a memo from Chris’ anti-bioterrorism organization (the BSAA), his recent behavior is being questioned by his superiors. Though I hoped that Zoe would make an appearance in Village since it is indicated that she wishes to see her fellow survivors again, she is absent for this particular game.
For those who might be worried about spoilers for Village, I will carefully word this article to avoid giving away anything major for those who might not have played through to the end. Bear in mind, I will assume that any fans of the Resident Evil franchise who are reading this have already experienced the opening of this game for themselves.
I was entranced from the moment I started playing Village for the first time. As I’d learned from trailers, the game opens with a visually-depicted folklore tale being read by Mia to her infant daughter, Rose. After a brief glimpse into the family’s domestic life, their home is invaded by a rogue military team (though I hesitate to call them that now that I know the full story) led by Chris Redfield; the latter flat-out assassinates Mia in front of her husband by shooting her multiple times. In the aftermath, Ethan and Rose are taken from their home to be driven to an unknown location.
The nightmare worsens when Ethan awakens during the night in the middle of nowhere, the vehicle transporting him wrecked, the other occupants dead, and his daughter missing. It doesn’t take long to get to the title locale and encounter the first villager. I was a bit surprised at how quickly the game transitions from night to day while you’re exploring the inside of a lodging. I feel that the resulting siege by a horde of werewolf-like creatures would have been more suspenseful in the dark, but it was still nerve-wracking. I even questioned aloud, “Did I live?” after I was thrown a good distance downstream.
Not long after the siege, Ethan is captured and brought to a summit meeting amongst the five primary villains. It was intriguing to see the full interaction between the boss characters to get a sense of their personalities and that there is a certain degree of discord among them. Though the mysterious Mother Miranda is the de facto leader of the group, not all of her generals are unquestionably loyal; only one of the four is confirmed to be wholly devoted to their leader.
Much of what follows revolves around Ethan’s search for his daughter, which takes him through the various headquarters of Mother Miranda’s subordinates. Each locale has its own unique atmosphere and provides, for the most part, a look into what makes that particular boss tick.
I stated in my previous blog that one of the things that had me most excited about Resident Evil Village was Alcina Dimitrescu, a nine-foot-tall vampire lady with retractable claws. While she is an intimidating boss, especially once she morphs into her true form to battle Ethan, it’s difficult for me to call her the scariest monster in the game now that I’ve seen everything. During my first playthrough, I encountered an impactfully nightmarish creature that made me not want to turn out the lights at bedtime. (Those of you who have played Village up to a certain point will likely know what I’m talking about. Those who haven’t are in for a treat when you see and hear it.)
As far as the gameplay goes, I do have a few minor complaints. One thing that irked me on my first playthrough was the amount of searching I had to do to find every scrap of ammo, quest items, or treasures to be sold. The map indicates which rooms still contain an inventory item you can pick up, but not what it is or where to look for it. I believe that’s part of the reason why my first playthrough took twelve and a half hours. I have since played through at least five times, but have not yet been able to recover everything from the castle courtyard; I have no idea what I’m overlooking there.
Another minor issue is that I have some trouble getting the camera to turn, which really becomes a problem when I’m in a combat situation. I believe this glitch only occurs when I’m carrying the grenade launcher and have a wall to my immediate right or left. But experience will tell me for sure.
Also, unlike previous games in the series, you’re unable to return to certain locations (such as the castle) once you defeat the respective boss and escape. Many Resident Evil games allow you to re-explore areas you’ve previously been to and pick up any items you might have missed. On the other hand, this does add to the replayability factor; you can discover things you overlooked on a previous playthrough.
I’m glad that I remained largely spoiler-free until I experienced the full game for myself. It was thrilling to watch the story unfold with no inkling on what lurked around the corner. It made the shocking plot twists and introduction to the various monsters out to kill you all the more exciting or nerve-wracking. I can’t even count the number of jaw-dropping moments or instants where I stated something along the lines of “OMG!”
I found the ending both amazing and deeply emotional for a Resident Evil game, especially since the main character was someone I cared nothing about in the prior installment\his intro story. Suffice to say, I feel that the story woven in Village has taken the place of my previous favorite, Code Veronica, and produced dozens of threads to pursue in future titles of the franchise. And I look forward to what’s next on the horizon.
Just so long as I learn from my mistakes (which aren’t limited to Village) and, rather than stand there like an idiot, run away from the giant monsters who can swallow me whole.