Yesterday was headlined by Resident Evil Village, as the second demo for the title released exclusively for PlayStation consoles for the brief period of eight hours, alongside us being given an hour-long gameplay video from Capcom that also detailed what we can expect in the Castle demo, as well as some places in between. With all of this content to chew through, I've condensed my thoughts of the 60 minutes with the horror title that I have been privy to, and aside from being truly haunting, this instalment into the beloved series seems to be going above and beyond.
Based in a settlement of Eastern European origin, Village sees Ethan Winters (the protagonist from Resident Evil 7: Biohazard) pulled back into the world of monsters and men. Following a pretty nasty encounter with Resident Evil alumni Chris Redfield, where Winters' daughter Rosa is kidnapped, leaving Winters no option but to head into the Village in the hopes of finding and retrieving her. Upon making it to this forsaken land, Winters discovers that all is not as it seems, as terrible beasts threaten the lives of the residents, who are now barely managing to survive.
Resident Evil Village seems to have a pretty expansive map that is set over plenty of impressive locations; such as the village itself or the foreboding Castle Dimitrescu, populated by a very tall and renowned woman and her daughters. Whilst not inherently open world, Village seems to offer more explorative options to other Resident Evil games, and even though the path Winters will follow is quite linear, you will be able to head off on a few alternative journeys here and there. As you work to find Rosa and unravel what has caused the surrounding area to become so hostile recently, Winters will have to travel through a lot of these locations evading all manners of savage monsters that are out to kill him. But, he is not entirely unequipped for the scenario, and through looting and exploration, Winters will be able to acquire new weapons and tools to be able to protect himself.
From shotguns and sniper rifles, to knives and pistols, Winters can fight back against the many vicious foes that call the village its home. There are a few enemy types that can be killed, the Lycans (sort of humanoid zombie werewolf things) will fill the bulk of this, but there are also a few other enemies that will prove to be more of a challenge, for example, Dimitrescu's daughters (creepy women who can transform into a swarm of insects). Then in typical Resident Evil fashion, there are the stalkers of which there seems to be a few to be concerned about. Lady Dimitrescu, the aforementioned woman, is probably the one you are most aware about, and yes, she will follow Winters around Castle Dimitrescu with the intention of cutting you into tiny pieces with her elongated claws. But, to make matters worse, there seems to be a few other notable foes, including a giant Lycan with a hammer and Dimitrescu's brother Heisenberg, who do seem to be perfect candidates for stalkers, especially since Dimitrescu herself doesn't seem to leave the castle.
The combat looks to be typical survival horror in the aspect that Winters can defend himself, but the best option is of course to run away. To encourage this, the option to move certain objects to block entryways has been added, although that doesn't mean that enemies won't look for alternative paths to get to Winters. Essentially, as usual, the best plan of action is to keep on your toes and to only fight when absolutely necessary, as ammunition isn't really plentiful.
To add some variation to the gameplay, Village also features a range of puzzles to solve to be able to open up new locations. This could be acquiring seals to be able to open a door (as is the case in the Village demo), or alternatively finding a bunch of masks and fitting them to the right statues. The point is, evading and fighting enemies is only part of what to expect in this survival horror title.
Resident Evil Village does also have crafting and a new inventory system (with inspiration taken from former Resident Evil games) that will allow you to manage what you can carry around on your journey. Crafting is as simple as acquiring the necessary materials from destroying lootable containers or finding things lying around the world, and mashing them together using a recipe. The revamped inventory system allows you to shift and tweak the placement of items in a Tetris-puzzle format, where space management is the key to be able to carry as many pieces of gear and loot as possible. Then there is the Duke's store. Throughout the game, you'll earn currency by looting and killing Lycans, which can then be spent at the Duke's store found at several different locations such as safe rooms. Here, you can buy medicine, ammo, and weapon upgrades, among other things, all of which will make it easier to survive the harsh world of Village.
From what I have seen and played, Resident Evil Village seems to not only feature an incredibly gripping and mysterious narrative, but it also looks fantastic and plays really well. My experiences with the title so far have all been with the PlayStation 5, but as it stands, the title feels tight and has some of the best visuals we've ever seen in a Resident Evil game - as is expected with the first one to be released on new-gen consoles. After watching this footage and playing the first demo, Resident Evil Village is still living up to the hype of one of the year's biggest games, and whether you are a fan of the survival horror genre or not, this is looking to be a game you shouldn't miss.