Resident Evil Village Demo Impressions – Getting Back to the Nightmare

Resident Evil has been a love of mine since the original launch in 1996. From the weird, stilted dialog to the tank controls, something about it captivated me, and I’ve stuck with the series ever since.

So when Capcom announced the Resident Evil Village demo and its release structure, I was both excited and scared at the same time. Most of this fear came from not knowing if I’d be around while the demo was available. Luckily, I was because this is something I couldn’t wait for.

Resident Evil Village plays similar to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. You assume the role of Ethan Winters and play in the first-person, allowing you to explore an area and find items used to open doors and solve puzzles. This is all while you are hunted by these lycanthrope enemies.

In fact, most of this demo is just exploring the enclosed space looking for the correct items to put into the slots of a gate. This may not be the most engaging of puzzles, but from what I have played, this retains the uniqueness of what original Resident Evil is to me. The items can be found just by exploring everything available where the key items don’t seem to be hidden or out of the way. Instead, they may be locked behind another door, teasing you behind bars.

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The combat of Resident Evil Village comes off as an evolved version of what we played in RE7, with the inventory management lifted straight from RE4, blending the features seamlessly. Further, the haptic feedback from the Dualsence controller added weight to each shot that actually made me panic when encountering the first enemies.

Speaking of the enemies compared to the previous game, these are much more active as they are constantly on the move and dodging your shots. They can add a layer of fear as they are borderline bullet sponges that force you to make every shot count, especially when facing off against more than one. Running became a viable option as I found myself needing to make space between the enemies and me.

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Resident Evil Village provides additional options outside of shooting down everything that comes your way. While Exploring, I noticed that you could shoot flour to create a smoke field and barricade doors with shelves. This hints that avoiding enemies will be the best course of action, at least for the beginning of the game, as you find your bearings and understand your enemy.

The story scenes give off a supernatural horror vibe that is much different from the biological origins at the heart of the series. The change feels fresh and not out of place for what the series has had in the past. This fresh take has me already invested in where this adventure is heading and how much can change now that these new elements are introduced into this universe.

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The cutscenes in the demo show that the writers are still in tune with the over-the-top nature of the narrative. The line delivery calls to mind many tropes of the horror genre. More specifically, what I would associate with B-Movies that Resident Evil so perfectly encapsulates. While the refined mechanics for this entry and well implemented, I feel more engaged with these characters. I’m excited to get back into the Village and revel in the horrors Lady Demistcru, and her family has in store for me when Resident Evil Village launches on May 7 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.

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