Resident Evil Village - Village demo tried

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Joel Fulleda
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We took a sightseeing tour of the terrifying Resident Evil Village.

We could have started playing at 17 pm, but we Stoics resisted, because we don't throw away the chance to enjoy a glimpse of the new Resident Evil. We have been patient like a child on Christmas Eve, and we faced the Resident Evil Village demo late at night, in the ideal mood: light off, headphones, and a bag of gummy candies (unnecessary detail but which is always a lot of Halloween! - Editor's note).

The result? A half hour of gameplay glued to the screen that left us with a craving for more!

The feature that most surprised us in this new Resident Evil Village demo is the immersion: without considering (for the moment) the RE Engine and the technical sector, it is amazing how the new RE manages to glue to the screen thanks to an incredible virtual direction. The path traced by the previous Resident Evil 7 reaches its peak in this case: the player's identification with poor Ethan and the events that happen around him is total, so much so that we gloat by imagining how this adventure can be frighteningly immersive if faced with a VR (maybe the announcement will come in conjunction with the arrival of the new PS VR 2).

But let's go back with our feet on the ground: in this taste of Resident Evil Village we were more than happy to find all the key elements of the REs we like. Exploration, weapons, crafting and a minimum of strategy are what Capcom has decided to let us taste in this preview but let's go in order. The demo begins with Ethan wandering around the village in search of his daughter which will then take him to Mother Miranda's gloomy mansion. In the first minutes of the game it is already possible to find some important details: the puzzles, represented by the classic "find the object to insert in the door to unlock the lock" immediately make you feel at home, as well as the crates with consumables and a good capacity Ethan's athletics - now able to jump fences, climb and enter or exit windows - bring with them that little bit of Resident Evil 4 action that they don't mind at all in a first-person view title. The time to find a rifle and we find ourselves in front of the first antagonists, made more dangerous than they actually are by a cornfield that allows them to approach and attack without being seen: this trick, the first interesting novelty, is as simple as it is brilliant, making you feel healthy terror while observing the tall grass trying to perceive the slightest movement capable of revealing the position of the enemies.

If you want, it is also possible to barricade yourself in a nearby shack, to find and eliminate the enemies while staying - relatively - safe, perhaps thanks to the aid of some anti-personnel mines just collected nearby, or face them by testing Ethan's new ability to parry frontal attacks shielding himself with his hands. In conclusion, variety will certainly not be lacking in Resident Evil Village, and these first approaches to combat let us understand that there may be different ways to face enemies and continue in the adventure, in a customization of the experience that could therefore allow players to make the title more action or more horror based on the preferences and gameplay choices of each.

In the second half of the demo, we meet the first (and last) villagers, only to discover that all is now lost and that the few survivors are unlikely to remain so for long. The following is a very curated short session of dialogues, in which all the while the camera never disconnects, always letting us see the events through the eyes of the protagonist, once again favoring that total immersion in history and in the game world that in our opinion will be the greatest strength of Resident Evil Village.

As per tradition, hell follows the brief moment of apparent calm: in what seems to be a cameo to Raimi's never too acclaimed Evil Dead, a situation already partially abused in RE 7 but always effective, one of the characters goes crazy and begins a carnage, while a fallen oil lamp on the floor sets the room on fire. The flames spread and the few survivors fall one at a time, while Ethan finds himself once again exploring the surroundings in search of a way to escape from a situation that sees him face certain death.

Collected some objects (some optional, others essential to continue), we get behind the wheel of a van in an attempt to break through the barred doors of the garage, but without success: we find ourselves climbing upwards, to save ourselves by exiting a window just as the flames finish devouring the entire house we were in until a few moments before. Behind us, in addition to the rubble, all the characters met up to that moment, with Ethan who bitterly comments "But why does everyone always die ?!"

As we pick up a medallion and insert it into the door that will lead us to the end of the demo - not before seeing a strange figure kill a man and disappear into the tall grass it crossed just before - we reflect on Ethan's words and remember how much showcases and trailers released so far have revealed to us: Ethan is alone, looking for his daughter after his wife Mia (key character of RE7) was killed by none other than Chris Redfield. None of this is covered in depth in the demo just ended, but we expected it. What we tested basically served to confirm two things: on the one hand the goodness of a respectable technical sector which, although it shows its side in the exterior, shows its muscles in the interior. On Playstation 5, in particular, it seems to make good use of all the technical features of the console, especially Dualsense and 3D Audio. In the version we played, the game ran at 4K, 60 FPS and Ray Tracing enabled.

For sure it promises to roll your eyes on the consoles of the old console generation, thanks to a RE Engine definitely in great shape; on the other hand, a solid and immersive gameplay at the right point, in which you forget that you have a pad in your hands and you identify with the point of view of the protagonist to such an extent that you do not feel the lack of VR in order to live 100% the emotions (and the terrifying jumpscare) of the story.

We turn off the console while with the mind we retrace what we have just tried: we try to think about any defects and we do not find any. Let's think of a comparison between Resident Evil Village and Resident Evil 2 Remake: two apparently very different titles but which, as it had been for RE7, incredibly share a minimum common denominator of characteristics that, beyond the aesthetic aspect at the antipodes, allows the right to bear the name that since the 90s and between many ups and downs, is and remains the first that every player pronounces when it comes to Survival Horror. Dear Resident Evil Village in case you haven't figured it out yet, we're ready.

► Resident Evil Village is an Adventure-type game developed and published by Capcom for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, it will be released in 2021

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