RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on May 11, 2020
What started as a claustrophobic trip through a creepy, zombie-infested mansion 25 years ago, has now culminated in the eighth main installment in the Resident Evil game series: Resident Evil Village. In this game, we catch up with Ethan Winters, the protagonist of Resident Evil VII who, against all odds, finds himself in quite the life-threatening and hair-raising predicament once again...
In my 25 years of playing Resident Evil games, none of them had such a nice and soothing intro as Resident Evil Village has. Mia, Ethan's girlfriend, is telling her baby a nice little story to get her to sleep. And yes, I have to admit it is a bit of a disturbing story about monsters and witches, but the graphics (which are slightly reminiscent of style used for the Harry Potter story of the Tale of the Three Brothers) are totally amazing and Mia has a nice storytelling voice. As soon as little baby Rose is asleep, Ethan can put her to her bed. Is this really a Resident Evil game? Where are all the zombies? Where is the gore and violence?!
It has been 3 years since the events of Resident Evil Biohazard (a.k.a. Resident Evil 7), and Ethan and Mia are seemingly living happily ever after. They got married, moved to Europe and they have a little daughter they named Rose. But things are not as quiet and lovely as they seem, because soon you'll find out that the things that happened three years ago in Louisiana, is something that Mia has either forgotten or simply pretends didn't happen. Ethan simply mentioning those things is enough for Mia to blow up in his face. After Ethan puts little Rose in her crib, Mia and Ethan are going to sit down for a nice dinner together. Within a couple of minutes, however, the proverbial shit hits the fan and Ethan's nice and quiet life is turned upside down... again.
Without spoiling too much about the things that happen leading up to this point, I can tell you that Ethan wakes up next to a crashed van and a dead member of a nameless military squad. That's not how a nice quiet evening at home should go, now is it? Nevertheless, Ethan soon finds out that, for some reason, he and his daughter Rose had to be secured. Obviously, something went wrong during that process, so he has to find out what happened, why he and his are daughter so important and, more importantly, to whom. Plus, there's the most important question of all; where is his daughter now? You start walking away from the car, making your way through a snowy environment. Soon you find a little shed and things are getting creepier by the minute. It's dark, it's filthy and your flashlight offers you very limited sight. In short, yes this first part of the game is very scary!
Soon you will run into your first enemy and that cutscene.. oh dear lord... I can only say: "Well done, Capcom, well done!" This is also the point where you get the tutorial about how to defend yourself and how the new inventory works. In Resident Evil Village, you have can call up an inventory overview and by using the corresponding buttons you can scroll left and right through its pages. First page to the right is the crafting menu which is excellent. You can see the items that you can craft and if you have enough resources to do so. This means we have to say goodbye to the well-known combine option in your inventory menu, but to be honest, this new way of combining/crafting items works like a treat! The next two pages in your inventory will show key items you'll need during the game, and treasures you've collected. While making your way through the village, you can enter a couple of the somewhat dilapidated houses you'll come across. Some of them can be a bit dark and it surprised me that I had no longer had a flashlight to equip. I had it before, so why is it no longer available? But on the other hand, it certainly contributes to that eerie feeling that I have already. Later on I discover that Ethan, and not me, is in charge of the Flashlight. At some points during the game, he will turn it on automatically. Apparently, Ethan is braver or has a better sight than me, because I would have liked to use the flashlight earlier and much, much, MUCH more often!
In the village, there is a lot of talk about a certain Mother Miranda and how she would never abandon her villagers. But the fact remains that the villagers are suffering from monsters who are attacking the town and its inhabitants, up to the point where almost no one has survived this ordeal. So just how committed to taking care of her villagers and protecting them from harm this Mother Miranda really is, remains to be seen. Of course, I have the honor to meet the matriarch herself, plus a couple of her most true followers. Is this a fun group to be with? Well, let's just say that I would prefer to cut off my own hands then spend one more minute with this merry group of villains. After barely making it out alive of this dangerous but exciting get-together, it's time to meet another character in the weird but wonderful cast of Resident Evil characters: The Duke.
The Duke is a seemingly well-fed merchant and the first friendly and happy face that you meet in the entire village. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this Resident Evil game has a merchant! Now, those of you that have played Resident Evil 4 may remember a similar shop mechanic where, at certain points in the game, you'll come across a merchant who has a plethora of useful items for you... for a price, of course. While playing the game, I found numerous items while I was exploring the town and searching its houses. I collected, among other things, some kind of coins. I did wonder about them. Where they pieces in an intricate puzzle, or the key to unlocking some sort of mystery. Well, as it turns out, these coins are called Lei and you can spend them at the merchant. You can buy supplies, upgrade your weapons and you can even sell some of your own items and collected treasures. Later on in the game, the Duke even offers you things of the culinary persuasion. I personally think that the Duke is a very welcome addition to Resident Evil Village.
There is so much more to tell, but from this point on, it would be all about how great the story is and I think that would only spoil your fun. What I will tell you is that the story is as mysterious and crazy as you'd expect of a Resident Evil game. Ethan's story continues and if you liked the style of Resident Evil Biohazard, I know you're going to enjoy this part as well. Now, I know that not everyone embraced the new style, including the first person perspective the game is presented in and to be honest, I was also a bit apprehensive, seeing as how I usually prefer a third person over a first person view. But Resident Evil Biohazard was amazing and it became the resident Evil game I replayed the most. But now there's a contender to that specific throne, because Resident Evil Village truly managed to exceed even my wildest expectations. For example, the first boss fight is already so very over the top, that you're really anxious to see what's coming next...
...and maybe, just maybe, also a little scared.
RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE
May 7, 2021