There are still plenty of Resident Evil fans out there who believe that the franchise’s transition to a first-person viewpoint was a bad idea, but unluckily for them, Capcom appears to have proven them wrong again based on initial reviews for the survival horror franchise’s eighth installment, which began hitting the web today. A quick glance at Metacritic and other aggregators shows that Resident Evil Village has seemingly secured its place as another strong entry thanks to its haunting atmosphere, larger focus on combat, and heavy inspiration from Shinji Mikami’s last and legendary Resident Evil title, RE4. Resident Evil Village is obviously not perfect, however—a deeper read would suggest that Capcom may have fumbled somewhat on replayability, storytelling, and the depth of heavily hyped characters such as Lady Dimitrescu, among other things. PC players who are prone to headaches and nausea are also very annoyed at Resident Evil Village’s lack of an FOV slider, but a modder may have already addressed that.
The further into the story you progress, though, the weaker it becomes, as though the beginning and end were designed by two entirely different teams. I know there’s always an element of this in all Resident Evil games – RE7’s sudden pivot to the tanker section was so unexpected it gave me whiplash – but this disconnect impacts both momentum and atmosphere. Yes, there’s plenty of diversity in its environments – you’ll not just visit the village and Castle Dimitrescu but also a sunken town and a killing factory and an abandoned mine, amongst other places – but all four Lords are not created equally, which means your time with them won’t feel equally validating, either. Some are terrifically frantic scrambles, but others are so weak and frustrating, they occasionally feel more like time-wasters than meaningful encounters.