Resident Evil Village is more schlocky B-movie than Tall Vampire Lady thirst trap – British GQ

Ever since Resident Evil made a comeback, marking the start of several years of on-the-money consistency, theres been a potential for an MCU-style saturation. In the four years since the overly gnarly Resident Evil 7, weve had an additional two full remakes of classic games Resident Evil 2 and 3. Each game has been different the primary distinction being 7s first-person perspective versus the remakes third but ultimately the familiar formulas of Resident Evils mix of puzzle solving and zombie killing run through every new release.

And so we reach Village, the eighth mainline instalment depending on how youre counting: a game that has more variety than its 2017 predecessor and which prioritises pulpy fun and ridiculousness over plain old disturbing domestic horror at the risk of feeling less standout than its forebear. While its Monster Of The Week structure offers surprises, the result is a Resi that feels almost workmanlike in its delivery paint-by-numbers despite encounters that rank among the best in the series history.

Review embargo restrictions mean many of these most memorable moments are, sadly, to be kept under wraps. But rest assured that Village delivers a lot of mad spectacle both in and out of gameplay and you should experience it all first hand and unspoiled. Being a total horror wuss, I had the games most unpleasant and scary moment explained to me, deliberately, ahead of time, so I could prepare myself for whats coming. But seeing the games darkest moments fresh, unspoiled, will be a treat for anyone whos into self-defecation. Its terrifying.

Much of Villages marketing has been focused on Tall Vampire Lady and Twitters kink mistress, Lady Dimitrescu. Along with her castle and cabal of vampire witch daughters, Dimitrescu makes for a fantastic first major step into Villages campaign. The eponymous castle is a lush, ornate place to explore, fitting perfectly into Resident Evil canon for beautiful buildings youd definitely visit if it wasnt for the murderous inhabitants within. Its also a brilliant contrast to the dilapidated village itself, which sprawls out at the foot of the castle with crumbled buildings, dead inhabitants and some werewolves to complicate matters. Where you go from here, youll have to find out for yourself.

Once again you play as returning protagonist and eternal whiner Ethan Winters, whom we last saw in Resident Evil 7. You have to feel sorry for the guy, despite his whinging. What are the chances of coming across not just one, but two such extended traumatic moments in your lifetime? Why cant he just get a break? How does he not recognise a bad, haunted place when he sees one? Can someone help him? Perhaps all this is what makes Winters second outing a little less impactful in its delivery. Hes not just a weak protagonist you dont care all that much about, but you also dont necessarily buy into the authenticity of his plight this time around. He feels almost accustomed to the horror, which translates to you, the player. It means you feel a bit less bothered by it too.

Unlike 7, Villages world is a more open sprawl and more ambitious to boot. This, combined with Winters nonchalance, makes a game that is absolutely less scary. You spend more time in daylight, for one, and you dont have an almost constant presence following you. What this means for you as a player depends entirely on your taste. But I personally prefer the step away from constant, claustrophobic dread. Even if 7s latter stages dialled down the scares in favour of a monster-blasting shotgun shooting range, I never felt like I could escape the mental infliction of the grime and gore of the Baker house. It meant I never had any inclination to replay.

Village handles its schlock and gore with a lighter touch and in most cases except one chapter that dials up the pure dread the game feels more fun and enjoyable for it, despite being more throwaway. This is a game thats got B-movie cells running through its veins and I love that. Think Alien versus Aliens theres no denying the former is the better movie, but youll always have a blast watching the latter.

That shlock does often translate to its combat, though, which feels clunky when it most needs to feel great. Boss fights are the main gripe, which just dont feel all that satisfying to play. They are spectacularly, stupidly enjoyable to watch when the game wrenches control away from you to deliver on-rails moments, but the overall sense of movement and gunplay doesnt quite live up to 2021s standards. Thats true even if you give Villages designers the benefit of the doubt, assuming that its cumbersome handling is a deliberate pace-setter manufactured to ratchet up the fear as you fumble with a shotgun before a werewolf tears your throat out.

There is no doubt that Village is a great Resi entry, with more variety and sheer bombast than its predecessor ever delivered. In prizing its many made-for-Twitch-and-YouTube moments over tone and consistency, it falls short as an evolution of the franchise. Village is still a bold, silly and beautiful thing, but theres no avoiding a murkier focus and a less compelling story resulting is a slightly mish-mashed Best Of. One thats easy to love when youre caught between its vicious gothic claws and a little forgettable once theyve relinquished themselves.

59.99. At Game.

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Resident Evil Village is more schlocky B-movie than Tall Vampire Lady thirst trap - British GQ

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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