Released to critical acclaim in May, Capcom’s Resident Evil Village immediately became the fastest-selling video game of the franchise.
It’s a great game, with interesting villains, a much better story than its predecessor and fun bonus content to keep you playing long after you’ve completed the story.
But what about the not-so-great aspects of Resident Evil Village? Did anyone else feel a little let down by Lady Dimitrescu? And how about that first five minutes?
Resident Evil Village incorporates some of the best parts of other games in the franchise, but also misses the mark on several occasions.
Here’s our top seven things Resident Evil Village got wrong:
Warning! This article contains spoilers (duh).
1. A needlessly different and frustrating UI system
Why why why would you put the map in a different area to your inventory? We’re used to accessing the map from the normal inventory screen. Suddenly having the locations of inventory and map split in two threw me through a loop. I spent a good half the game pressing the wrong button to access each separate function.
This is a small gripe and one most probably got over quickly, but it caused a great deal of annoyance for me every time I tried to check where I was. It seems like a completely unnecessary update to what was already a totally fine UI system.
2. Good luck to the newbies
My first reaction to the game was literally ‘Thank God I’ve played Resident Evil before’.
The die-hard Resident Evil fans will jump straight into Village without a second thought, as the formatting and objectives remain largely the same as other Resident Evil games. And they’ll love it, it’s all the good parts of the old Resident Evil’s with smoother mechanics and gameplay.
But newbies? Not so much.
Say you’ve heard for years about how good and popular Resident Evil is, and with a new game released, you decide now is a perfect time to check out the franchise. Well, good luck figuring out how any of it works.
There is no tutorial or even hints for someone who has never played Resident Evil before. If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise, you might spend the first few hours running around the village, not understanding the purpose, point or direction (especially considering the start throws you in with one of the hardest moments of the game) and screaming in frustration as you die repeatedly.
I can already hear the scoffing and claiming everyone should research before they start the game etc. but if you’re like me and like to dive straight in and let a few little tips get you going, then you’ll spend quite some time wondering what on Earth is going on.
3. The Beneviento House: Less puzzle, more scavenger hunt
We know Resident Evil for its puzzle-based challenges. It adds another layer to gameplay and was one of people’s favourite aspects of Resident Evil 7.
Resident Evil Village promised to be more puzzle-based than the more recent past Resident Evil games (4… I’m looking at you), harkening back to the earliest games in the series. Trailers teased an entire section dedicated to puzzles; exciting fans of the original Resident Evil.
Well, it was extremely anti-climactic.
On the surface, the Beneviento house is creepy as hell, with a good dose of old-fashioned Resident Evil over-the-top monster horror. The screaming, giant monster baby will no doubt stick in people’s minds for quite some time. Plus, the creepy dolls and puppet master tick all the boxes for a scary horror house and made the area interesting. This is great, because if you were solely relying on the puzzles, you would be pretty disappointed.
A puzzle or riddle in old Resident Evil would involve some mental gymnastics and rely on critical thinking skills to solve. The “puzzles” in the Beneviento house, however, are more like an elaborate game of fetch. Find the item, stick the item in the hole, grab this, fetch that, carry this, done. I’m not great at puzzles, but even I could figure out how to find and carry something back to the doll autopsy room.
Don’t promise me a puzzle box and deliver a scavenger hunt.
4. To fight or not to fight?
That is certainly the question in Resident Evil Village. Again, I refer to my first point of needing to have played previous Resident Evils.
Players of the older games in the franchise, like 2 and 3, will know that you can’t always fight the big bad when they appear, and sometimes you simply need to run. Like the heart-pounding moments where Nemesis or Mr X bursts through a wall in front of you and your only option is to leg it. This mechanic continues in Resident Evil Village, particularly in Lady Dimitrescu’s mansion with her 3 daughters.
The first time one of the daughters ran in front of me, I frantically began shooting, to which my partner screamed “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU CAN’T KILL THEM HERE!” to which I yelled back “How am I supposed to know that?!” whilst diving for (in-game) cover.
And so, how on Earth are new players supposed to know this? Do they simply try over and over again, dying with each attempt until they finally figure it out and just run? Is that part of the fun of a new game? Some would argue yes. For me however, some sort of subtle indication of what you’re supposed to do would make me appreciate the gameplay ten times more.
5. Survive the attack – why the Lycans are the hardest part of the game
Disclaimer: This is regarding playing on hard mode on PS4 only.
I enjoy a challenge; I do. But within 5 minutes of starting Resident Evil Village on PS4 it threw me into an extremely hard werewolf battle in the mean streets of…. somewhere in Eastern Europe.
Others may point out it’s only 5 minutes you have to survive, but from my experience, those 5 minutes are the hardest in the entire game. After trying and failing repeatedly due to lack of ammo, understanding, or just plain panicking, I frustratedly handed over the controller to my partner… who did it in one go.
Here’s where it gets infuriating… something on his go triggered the end of the attack within about 2 minutes. I was repeatedly playing for close to 5, facing the bigger monsters that barely even showed up on his turn and nothing would trigger the end of the attack early for me.
We don’t know why on his turn the game ended earlier—maybe it was just fed up of the failures and cut us a break? Either way, it’s a deeply frustrating 5 minutes even if you usually enjoy this sort of gameplay.
It’s made even worse as that’s the most challenging moment of the entire game. The one thing I appreciated about it was that it was a sign of things to come… or so I thought. After that initial attack it all gets a lot easier, with even the big bad bosses barely throwing up a comparable fight.
Speaking of which…
6. Heisenberg? More like HeisenBLAH. The disappointing final boss battle.
Now I know I’m not alone in thinking this was one of the worst, most disappointing moments of the game.
The game sets Heisenberg up to be pretty damn cool. He’s the closest to human out of the 4 main villains, is sarcastic and funny and has some insane metal bending abilities. One would think that when you came to this last but one boss battle, you’d be in for a difficult, but enjoyable challenge.
Instead, you find yourself in a grassy arena fighting Optimus Prime’s shittier cousin. Not only that, but you’re forced into a pimped-out go-kart where you run in circles and shoot unlimited ammo at him.
Overall super rubbish final mini boss.
7. Ethan… Ethan… Ethan…
Within the first five minutes of Resident Evil Village, Ethan has more personality than the entirety of Resident Evil 7—and more lines. Unfortunately, this goes no way towards making you give a damn about him.
After having already spent a game wandering around with Mr. Bland, I was no more drawn to the character in Resident Evil Village. Sure, he talks a bit more and you see some of his home life with Mia, which is great; but he is still an extremely dull character. Given no defining drive, motivation, likes, dislikes or even a sarcastic quip or two, Ethan is relegated to a very basic vessel for you to play the game.
I’ve heard the argument here is that you’re meant to “feel like you’re Ethan”, but I didn’t feel like Ethan, I just felt like Ethan was a whole lot of “nothing” as a character. For the ten minutes Mia is probably in the game, I got more insight into her personality than the whole 12 hours spent with Ethan.
All this being said, Resident Evil Village was a great addition to the Resident Evil franchise, it had a compelling story, and marginally interesting villains.
It was way better than 7 at any rate…