large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Resident Evil Village Review

Verdict

rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star
Trusted Reviews Recommended

Resident Evil Village is a great followup to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard that will delight any horror fan looking for a new game to scare the [censored] out of them. The only downside is that its increased focus on combat can feel a little jarring, especially when playing at lower difficulties.

Pros

  • Creepy setting that oozes atmosphere
  • Fun new survival mechanics
  • Mercenaries mode is a nice addition for fans

Cons

  • Not as scary as Resi 7
  • Campaign is a little short

Availability

  • UKRRP: £49.99
  • USARRP: $59.99
  • EuropeRRP: €59.99

Key Features

  • Platforms:PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Google Stadia
  • Genre:Survival Horror
  • Developer:Capcom

Introduction

Resident Evil Village is a new entry in Capcom’s survival horror franchise, taking place a few years following the events of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.

For newcomers to the series, this means it’s a first-person horror game that tasks you to sneak, shoot and occasionally sprint in fear through a creepy village full of monsters that look like they jumped straight out of Van Helsing’s bestiary. For fans of the series, it’s best described as what would happen if Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Resident Evil 4 had a baby.

In my mind, Village is one of the best entries into the Resident Evil franchise in quite some time. It’s also a great showcase for detailing how much better next-generation HDR (High Dynamic Range) gaming can look on the PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.

But, despite all its positives – and it definitely earning a place in our best PS5 games, best Xbox Series X games and best PC games guides – I can’t help but feel it could have been a little better, for one key reason. Here’s why.

Story – If Biohazard and Resident Evil 4 had a baby

  • The story takes place a few years after Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  • It sees you take control of Biohazard’s protagonist Ethan Winters

Village takes place a few years after the events of Resident Evil: Biohazard, placing you in the shoes of family man Ethan Winters once again. This makes it a very different beast to the main Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 remakes we’ve reviewed over the past few years.

The entire game takes place in a first-person view, intentionally pushing the horror aspects of the Resident Evil universe more than the main entries.

This also makes the game’s story much more personal than other Resident Evil titles. The focus is Ethan’s family, rather than a bunch of heroes and their global crusade against Umbrella Corp – although the game does do a great job of bringing Ethan and his family into the main universe via the appearance of a few familiar faces from other games in the franchise.

Its tone is closest to Resident Evil 4, with Village having a very similar premise. The game opens to see hero Ethan haphazardly stranded in a deserted village that’s been taken over by mysterious cult leader Mother Miranda and her “lords”, after a tragedy befalls his family.

The village setting is one of the game’s strongest selling points, looking like the designers have carbon-copied it from the mind of Bram Stoker. There are gothic towers, skulking werewolves and even vampires on show.

The setting is particularly effective due to the next-generation graphics on display. I played the game on a top-end gaming PC with an RTX 3080 GPU, which let me crank it to its max graphical settings.

The added sharpness and post 60fps gameplay makes the game really come to life, with the lycans snappy, sharp movements looking all the more threatening, and lingering thralls lurching out of the shadows inspiring genuine dread.

I’d also thoroughly recommend turning on the HDR mode, which intensifies the darkness to make the game feel oh so much more immersive and ups the horror level from Goosebumps to Stephen King instantly.

If you’re interested in enjoying HDR gaming, you should check out our best gaming monitor and best TV guides, which detail the top-scoring products we’ve tested recently.

Gameplay – Ethan Van Helsing

  • The game is played from a first-person perspective
  • Combat has seen a massive overhaul

While Village feels a lot like Resident Evil 7 at first, Capcom has made a few key changes that result in a noticeably bigger focus on combat, rather than sneaking.

At a basic level, it’s the same. The game takes place in a first-person perspective and tasks you to explore the village, which is split into various small territories owned by one of Miranda’s four lords.

The challenge is surviving the hordes of hostile monsters in each area, while simultaneously finding ways to unlock doors or obstacles blocking your path using weapons, tools and keys you find along the way.

Like all Resident Evil games, the weapons range from basic handguns and shotguns to more powerful magnum hand cannons and grenade launchers, each of which come with findable attachments to improve their core stats.

As before, healing is handled by herbs and medkits, and there’s a robust crafting system that lets you create key items such as ammunition. The big difference is that Ethan now has a much more diverse and effective selection of attacks, weapons and upgrades from which to choose.

For starters, Ethan now has a block that can be used to reduce the damage of incoming attacks. He also has a kick option that lets you push smaller enemies back before they have a chance to mangle you. These changes sound small, but coupled with the game’s resident Evil 4-style weapon upgrade system, they make Ethan feel far more formidable than he was in the previous game.

The weapon upgrade system is handled by an in-game merchant, who appears at various locations across the map. As well as letting you buy supplies, the vendor also offers a gun-smithing service that lets you upgrade the stats of your weapons.

This made Village feel a little too easy for my liking when playing the game on its normal difficulty setting. I was able to dispatch swathes of enemies without much hassle once I moderately specced up my first handgun and shotgun.

In Resident Evil: Biohazard, taking out a single bio-mutant was a tense encounter; in Village, I was taking out packs of lycan with little effort, not having to worry about sneaking or leveraging the game’s environment.

The game partially explains this by revealing Ethan has had some military training between Biohazard and Village, but it’s also at odds with some of the game’s cut-scenes, which portray Ethan as being very much at the mercy of his enemies.

This is a shame, since the narrative is otherwise very compelling. Each adversary is wonderfully creepy and Ethan’s reason for having to push forward does a great job at tugging your heart strings. There are also enough lore drops and unexpected twists to keep you on your toes as the narrative unfolds to keep things interesting, even if the combat can become a little too easy for more seasoned gamers.

Thankfully, pushing up the level to hard helped to restore my feelings of dread with each encounter, making enemies more plentiful and ammo more scarce. In one particularly horrible situation, I found myself and my girlfriend screaming in unison as I attempted to sprint past a terrifying horde of monsters into the safety of a nearby gated house after running out of ammo.

It’s these moments that make me want to play a horror game, not the ability to go Van Helsing on a team of monsters. And as a result, it’s the game’s scripted sequences that really shine. Each lord’s domain ticks a different classic trope in the genre and comes with its own wonderfully grotesque array of monsters and terrorising encounters.

One great moment in particular leaves Ethan completely unarmed in what is essentially a giant escape room. Here, the game’s sound does a stellar job, with the environment being full of distant bumps and a variety of haunting sounds I can’t even begin to describe, constantly putting me on edge and leaving me dreading what may be lurking around each corner.

Again, it’s these moments that really shine in the game, not the combat – which is why I can’t help but feel Capcom would have been better to take a page out of Outlast 2’s playbook and make Ethan more helpless, not more badass.

The increased difficulty and need to pick your battles also makes you take your time exploring Resident Evil Village’s settings. There’s a wealth of hidden collectables and prizes littered around the map, ranging from treasure caches with valuable items to be sold to the merchant, to higher power weapons that are particularly useful when dealing with the game’s bosses.

Each boss is unique: some require puzzle solving ingenuity to take down enemies, and others more skilful aiming. They’re particularly troublesome at higher difficulties, as they can take and dish out a lot of damage, giving you a real incentive to explore the game’s map and stockpile supplies before engaging. Without this, I found it all too easy to blitz through the game’s campaign in less than 10 hours.

Thankfully, the post game includes Resident Evil’s time challenge Mercenaries mode for any gamer who wants to stick around after the credits have rolled.

This is a time-based challenge mode that tasks you to rack up as many points as possible, killing enemies in a set amount of time. I’ve never been a huge fan of the mode, but it has a huge cult following on older Resident Evil games, so I can see a lot of fans being grateful for its return in Village.

During testing, the only difference I noticed is that the mode in Village lets you upgrade your guns and characters’ stats using the same merchant mechanics as the main game, which does add a bit more strategy to the otherwise repetitive mode.

Conclusion

Resident Evil Village is a great horror game that is sure to delight newcomers and old fans of the series. The horror setting has moments that are genuinely terrifying and the game’s narrative feels suitably satisfying, and grotesque, to entice fans of the genre.

The only downside is that its increased focus on combat can make it feel a little too easy, even when played on the normal difficulty setting. If you’re looking to experience the true horrors on offer here, I suggest you crank up the difficulty.

Latest offers

Should you buy it?

You should buy Resident Evil Village if you’re a horror fan:
Resident Evil Village is a great entry into the iconic franchise that will entertain, and scare, any horror fan. A wonderfully immersive setting, solid use of sound and enticing plot earn Resident Evil Village a place as one of the best horror games to arrive this year.

You shouldn’t buy Resident Evil Village if you scare easily:
Despite its bigger focus on combat, Resident Evil Village is still a pretty scary game and one best avoided by the faint-hearted.

FAQs

How long is Resident Evil Village?

The game’s main story can be completed in around 10 hours. But it can be played for much longer, if you choose to explore the map and try to find all the hidden treasures.

Who is the tall lady in Resident Evil Village?

The tall lady is one of the main monsters Capcom uses to promote Resident Evil Village. The character’s actual name is Lady Dimitrescu. She inhabits her own titular castle in the game, alongside the Daughters of Dimitrescu.

Does Resident Evil Village support ray tracing?

Resident Evil Village features ray tracing support on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. At launch, it will also support ray tracing on PCs running current generation AMD graphics cards. Nvidia support will roll out to PC gamers at an unspecified point post-launch.

Verdict

Resident Evil Village is a great followup to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard that will delight any horror fan looking for a new game to scare the [censored] out of them. The only downside is that its increased focus on combat can feel a little jarring, especially when playing at lower difficulties.

Trusted Score
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Sign up for the Trusted Reviews Newsletter

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.