Village (Resident Evil 8) Review (PS4, 2021)

It hardly matters now that I missed writing my review for Resident Evil 7. Because my conclusion to Village is very similar to the one I had for its prequel from 2017.

Structurally Resident Evil 8 is surprisingly similar to The Evil Within. It mixes various kinds of horror gameplay mechanics and setpieces. One chapter the protagonist fights guns blazing through hordes of monsters, in another he is unarmed and has to hide himself in furniture. Another part of the game features very trial-and-error heavy mechanics as Ethan has to evade getting eaten by a giant fish. The village section of the game is primarily focused on exploration and reminded me a lot of playing Resident Evil 4. There is something for everyone in this package.

To be honest I had almost dropped this game an hour in like I did with The Callisto Protocol. I was not very fond of the opening sequence with Ethan getting ganged up on by a horde of werewolfs, that he was unable to properly defend himself against, in broad daylight, followed by a trial-and-errory haunted house ride section along a linear tunnel. But the game quickly got its act together right after the introduction. The village turned out to have good atmosphere. Exploring it felt unsettling and tense for the most parts. The dungeon that follows provides an even better survival-horror experience with its creepy basement areas. The subsequent area then I found to be disturbing in ways it was rivaling the Silent Hill series in its best moments. About halfway through the game I was almost sure I would eventually rate it 10/10.
However Resident Evil 8 does what has almost become a staple for the series and devolves into an action shooter in its latter half. Not a bad thing in itself as the action gameplay is still fun, but for me it is not what I am looking for in a survival-horror game. The factory started off well with some strong atmosphere, but throws so many enemies at the player that one is bound to become jaded. Something about the difficulty balance late in the game felt very off to me. I was never at risk of dying, no matter how clumsily I played and kept missing my targets.

Almost like Resident Evil 7 starts off as a strong survival-horror title and falls off into a mediocre action game, Village does similar but retains a higher level of quality all throughout. All things said it feels like a lite version of The Evil Within with infinitely more forgiving gameplay that ends up hurting the experience because the factory would have been a better horror experience had it been a harder dungeon.

The story I am not sure what to make of. The writing throughout the campaign hits very close to the series' roots with its overall silliness and dumb B-movie lines, while the opening and closing animations appear to be taking themselves rather serious. Feels like there was a dichotomy between the development and marketing teams for the game.

All in all Resident Evil Village is a very good game. At least I had good fun with it from just past the introduction to the end. The game features very strong heights, and its lows are not as low as the series has seen in the past. And the first half was definitely a great survial-horror experience. Makes me look forward to the next installment of the series.


Here is a complaint I forgot to mention: the puzzles in this game are insultingly easy and usually require no thought processes from the player. I feel like no puzzles are better than pretend-puzzles that simply ask the player to read the solution from a hint somewhere.