Resident Evil Village Xbox Series X Review

Resident Evil Village is an outstanding finale to Ethan Winters's story and it delivers a profound tale of a father and husband giving everything for his family.

By Grayshadow, Posted 08 May 2021

Resident Evil is one of the most recognized franchises of all time and when a new numbered mainline entry releases a lot of high expectations come with it. Resident Evil Village successfully delivers another outstanding survival-horror experience but whereas Resident Evil 7 was more traditional Resident Evil Village takes more inspiration from Resident Evil 4. Delivering a more tightly controlled third-person experience but still providing those tense moments of dread and fear.

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Resident Evil Village stars returning newcomer Ethan Winters. The survivor from the Baker incident now lives in Europe with his wife Mia and newly born child Rosemary. After being placed in witness protection by Chris Redfield the family lives a quiet life together until things come crashing down. Chris kills Mia and kidnaps both Ethan and Rose without any explanation. Ethan then wakes up in a strange village finding Chris's men are dead and his daughter is missing. Making things worse is that the village is dealing with an infection that has turned the resident into Lycans and other monsters. Ethan must battle his way through the horde and save his daughter.

Unlike Resident Evil 7 Ethan isn't an everyman placed in a nightmare. The survivor is more seasoned and has spent his time training due, as seen with study littered with self-defense books. Because of this Ethan is much more capable than before but will often act surprised when seeing a dead body or hesitating taking a gun in the opening sections of the game. Despite this Ethan is more than willing to charge into hell to save his daughter and take on life and death situations without hesitation. Similar to his desire to save Mia Ethan will do anything to save his daughter.

The collection of enemies are diverse and are ruled by 4 Lords who are led by a person named Mother Miranda. Each Lord has a specific theme that complements their ruling territory. For example, the first is Lady Dimitrescu who rules a giant castle with her 3 daughters that captures the look and feel of the Spencer Mansion. Ethan will find an entire cellar full of wine mixed with the blood from various victims and a large amount of information regarding how they ruled their castle. This same structure will repeat for each of the Lord's territories so the player can get an idea of how each Lord fits into Mother Miranda's family. Each ends with an epic boss fight against the Lords themselves and Capcom has outdone themselves with these legendary fights.

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The narrative is strong as it provides a steady pace of Ethan killing his way through Mother Miranda's family. Each member's death brings new information about the importance of Rose and why Chris killed Mia. Most significantly this narrative provides essential answers to Ethan himself. Questions fans asked back in Resident Evil 7 will be given answers here with the narrative leaving on a satisfying cliffhanger. It concludes Ethan's story but leaves room open for the next game while keeping Ethan's legacy alive.

The performances are outstanding. Each character is wonderfully crafted with lifelike animations and visuals. Resident Evil 7 was already eye-candy but somehow Capcom went beyond that game with this title. With intricate details everywhere and the voice acting is simply superb. This combined with an amazing soundtrack and you have a profound atmospheric adventure from start to finish.

A central hub area is provided in the way of the Village. Ethan will keep coming back to this location after beating each Lord and will unlock new options to uncover hidden items. This includes wells that house items of value and unlocking previously locked doors. With certain areas being entirely optional that house special treasure.

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Since Ethan is no longer a stranger when it comes to fighting BOWs Capcom has slightly deviated from the poor handling and mobility system of Resident Evil 7. In that title, Ethan was a novice so he moved slowly, and aiming took more time, here that's not true. To complement what Ethan learned from the Baker incident and home training Ethan is much easier to control. He's quicker, a better shot, and can guard even better. All of this does turn the game into a first-person shooter and leans more towards the action direction following Resident Evil 4's release. Especially guarding which required some practice to perform in the previous game but here is easier to pull off. If you parry you can even follow up with a physical attack.

To combat this and maintain tension Capcom included several situations where Ethan must avoid conflict. Enemies such as Dimitrescu will chase Ethan similar to Mr. X or Nemesis. Other times you'll be facing enemies who can take large amounts of damage and require specific weapons to take down or wait for opportunities to attack enemy weak points. With these powerful threats, Ethan must often think tactically as to avoid conflict and save supplies.

Similar to recent installments each room is color coated to indicate if items are still present. This is a helpful tool in ensuring the player has located everything and Capcom is a bit more straightforward with item placement. Unlike Resident Evil 7 where you were rewarded to searching aggressively in every corner, items are easier to spot here, with icons appearing where you're in arms reach. However, sometimes the icon to pick up items doesn't always appear especially in tight areas. 

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Ethan won't be alone in this adventure, a merchant named the Duke will aid Ethan in exchange for a price. Similar to the merchant from Resident Evil 4 the Duke will provide new weapons, upgrades, and supplies for money. Money is earned by killing enemies, found in random supply caches, and unique treasures can be sold. The Duke will even cook meals for Ethan if he brings the right ingredients that offer a permanent boost with exotic meats being harder to find. Unlike the Resident Evil 4 merchant, the Duke plays an active role in the story and serves as a living safe area for Ethan. Providing emotional confront as not only a source of information about the events that are transpiring but emotional support for this adventure as he continues to provide morale along with his supplies. And yes, the game supports New Game Plus with everything carrying over after completing the game.

The weapon variety is healthy with handguns, shotguns, rifles, and much more. Each weapon has specific unlocks available through custom parts or upgrades through the Duke. Some weapons are exclusive to bonus unlocks gained by completing challenges and unlocking through the bonus option. Shooting is much easier than Resident Evil 7 due to great handling. It's a basic system and it works. Best of all you no longer need to keep taking out your knife to break boxes since Ethan will do it automatically when you're close to one.

The inventory system has been replaced with the Resident Evil 4 system. Ethan is given a large case with cels and each item takes up a certain about of cels. Your job is to manage the items to encourage more space. Key items are kept in a different menu so you don't need to worry about those. In reality, I rarely worried about carrying too many items. With crafting you can create ammo and healing items on the fly by collecting raw material. Its the same system from Resident Evil 7 but easier since you just select the item you want and if you have the materials Ethan will make it.

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The game will provide occasional puzzles but these are simple affairs. None of them are taxing and usually just require searching a general area or locating a specific item. More diehard Resident Evil fans may find this direction annoying but personally, this direction reduces paranoia and frustration. The solution is always present in the room you're in so there's no need to wonder if you're missing something important elsewhere. With key items needed for the main puzzle being provided.

Once you complete the game you can take on Mercenaries mode. This returning mode allows Ethan to take on increasingly more difficult enemies in a series of sections. It plays less like the more notorious Resident Evil 4 variant and more like Resident Evil Revelations 2's Raid mode. Each clears each area and depending on his performance and how many of the fixed number of enemies he killed will determine his rating. Ethan can then use those points to upgrade himself in an array of options with other performance boosts available in the stages. 

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This is not to say Resident Evil Village is without issue. During my time on the Xbox Series X and Xbox One X, the game would occasionally stutter at random times. These were rare but when they happened it was hard to ignore. There's also a noticeable pop-in during the hub areas when traveling through the village.

The enemy AI can be exploited due to pathing. When in the area the enemies are supposed to be they can be formidable, flanking Ethan, and avoiding damage but they are limited in where they can walk. On several occasions I was able to exploit these weaknesses by leaving the general area, forcing the enemy to return to its pathing while keeping the damage I caused. I used this tactic to defeat some very powerful enemies without taking damage. 

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Resident Evil Village is a more action-focused direction to complement Ethan's driven desire to save Rose and his experience from past horrors. Capcom successfully balances the action with tense chase sequences against well-designed antagonists so you never feel safe. No matter how many your current arsenal is often there's a new enemy, a new limitation that kicks you back down, or you find out the limits the enemy can follow you. Resident Evil Village is an outstanding finale to Ethan Winters's story and it delivers a profound tale of a father and husband giving everything for his family.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Capcom
Developer(s): Capcom
Genres: Survival Horror
Themes: Horror, Action
Release Date: 2021-05-07

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