This post is part of a ten day series on my top ten games of 2021. You can find previous entries here.
6. Resident Evil Village
Capcom’s comeback in the late 2010’s has been the highlight of games for me as of late. From Monster Hunter finally blowing up outside of Japan; Devil May Cry 5 being one of the best games I’ve played in years, and Resident Evil’s amazing remakes and new entries. It’s been a good time to be a Capcom die hard – especially considering how dire the early 2010’s were for them. They’ve successfully taken Resident Evil from a series I was less keen on to being one of my all-time favourites.
Resident Evil Village follows on from Resident Evil 7; the game that saw the series return to form after the messy – and perhaps unfairly maligned – Resident Evil 6. After Resident Evil 5 and 6 both went all-in on the action game format following the success of Resident Evil 4; RE7 took the series back to its roots – survival horror in a big spooky house. RE7 maybe did it’s job a little too well, as it was undoubtedly the scariest game in the series; so much so that Capcom intentionally made Village less scary due to how terrifying 7 was.
If RE7 was a love letter and reinvention of the original, Village does the same thing for RE4. It may sound like a negative to describe a horror game as “the funniest game I’ve played in years” but the sheer ridiculousness of Village was my highlight of the game by far.
Village’s story places you back in the shoes of Ethan Winters, who between the events of 7 and now has settled down and had a child with his wife Mia, and clearly went to the Leon Kennedy school of being smarmy as hell. This is quickly torn apart as Chris Redfield and his boys burst in and kill Mia and steal Ethan’s baby Rose. Ethan then escapes their captivity and eventually runs into the four lords of the realm, each with their own segment of the game and each owning a jar with part of Rose, who has been split into jars for a village ritual.
The four lords are undeniably the highlight of the game, consisting of; the internet’s favorite giant vampire lady Alcina Dimitrescu. Donna Beneviento; a hallucination-inducing ventriloquist who speaks exclusively through her puppet Angie. Salvatore Moreau; a merman who just wants to be loved. Last and my personal favorite is Karl Heisenberg, who I can only describe as a Dante from Devil May Cry if he were played by Nicholas Cage. All four lords cement themselves among the very best of Resident Evil villains, up there with Jack Baker from 7 and Wesker in 5.
The silliness of Village can’t be overstated, from Ethan getting his hand chopped off every five minutes and somehow magically being fixed by the magical first aid juice to a literally mech fight at the climax of the game. I can completely understand why the tone of Village may put people off – but as someone whose favorite aspect of Resident Evil is how ridiculous it can be, I was in bliss throughout Village.
That being said, Village isn’t completely devoid of pure horror. Castle Dimitrescu is an intense affair mimicking the Mr X or Jack Baker encounters of RE2 and 7. However, the crown jewel of horror in Village has to be House Beneviento. I don’t really get scared in horror games, I’ll have the occasional jump, but rarely do I find something that strikes genuine fear into me. After House Beneviento I took a week’s break from the game because I found it freaked me out that much. I won’t spoil it here, but never have I been happier for a game to go full goofy than after that section.
Capcom have managed to turn Resident Evil into a near annual franchise, If they manage to keep the level of quality as high as they have with 7, 8 and the two remakes, I’ll continue to buy them yearly.