Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
Here are a few more ways RE Village is expanding upon its predecessor.
With Resident Evil 7, Capcom’s survival horror series hit the reset button. As it sought to reinvent itself and go back to its horror roots, not only did it take a back to the basics approach, it also started from scratch in many ways- and as such, it was a pretty focused, zoomed in experience. Now that the series has a steady foundation in place though, it’s looking to escalate things with Resident Evil Village, which is RE’s next step forward in the first person horror space. Many things separate the two games, with the upcoming sequel making several changes and improvements over its predecessor, and here, we’re going to talk about a few of them.
As good as Resident Evil 7 was, there were a few areas where it stumbled. Ethan Winters, for instance, was a particularly boring, vanilla protagonist, which was quite disappointing, especially for a series that has typically had such excellent heroes in the past. In Resident Evil Village, Ethan is returning to the spotlight, but Capcom are promising major improvements. Not only is he actually going to have, you know, a personality this time, the developers are banking on him being a genuinely likeable character, as they attempt to make series fans like Ethan as much as they clearly do. It remains to be seen how successful they will be, but we’re certainly curious.
Chris Redfield is synonymous with Resident Evil, so it’s not much of a surprise that he’s coming back in Village in what is clearly going to be a very important role. But he’s going to be quite different from how we last saw him in Resident Evil 7- and not just in terms of his character design. In RE7 and its Not a Hero DLC, Chris was still very much a good guy, as he fought alongside the BSAA And Blue Umbrella against yet another bioterrorism threat. In Resident Evil Village though, he seems to have gone rogue- we know by now that he kills Ethan’s wife, Mia, in cold blood, before proceeding to kidnap their daughter Rose, which is what kicks off the whole game. Capcom have also said that RE Village is going to tap into Chris’ darker side, which should be interesting to see.
ACTION AND HORROR
The very point of Resident Evil 7 was to cut back on the series’ excessive action and go back to its horror roots. Capcom have certainly learnt their lesson, that that’s what Resident Evil should be about first and foremost, and obviously, that’s very much going to be the case in RE Village as well. That said, the game’s also going to strike a better balance between action and horror. From a gameplay and mechanical perspective, things have been tweaked and refined to make the action tighter, while Capcom is also promising a blend of intense horror and high-octane action, which is something they’ve brought up while speaking about the game’s similarities to Resident Evil 4 as well. How well the game strikes that balance remains to be seen, but based on what we’ve seen so far, we’re optimistic.
LARGER, MORE VERTICAL
Set almost entirely within the Baker estate, with some sections taking place in a network of salt mines and in a shipwreck, Resident Evil 7 was defined by claustrophobic, tightly designed areas. Resident Evil Village is still promising to have the inter-connected and layered level design that the series is known for, but when it comes to size, it’s going to take things to the next level. In a recent Game Informer interview, Capcom said that Resident Evil Village will have the largest environments in the series’ history, and that these environments have also been designed with a lot of verticality baked in, which should be particularly interesting in terms of how combat scenarios play out.
Given its larger emphasis on action as well as the fact that it will have much larger environments than RE7, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Resident Evil Village is also making adjustments to its core gameplay accordingly. For instance, your movement speed in the game is going to be faster than it was in RE7, allowing you to cover distances more quickly and be more nimble in combat. That said, Capcom have said that in order to ensure that the experience sticks to horror instead of turning into a run and gun shooter, they’ve also driven up the challenge and intensity of enemies and combat encounters.
Resident Evil Village is promising to be a much more expansive experience than RE7 was- and that’s true for more than its environments, its story, and things such as enemy variety. The gameplay itself is seemingly going to present players with more options, the combat especially. For instance, environment hazards seem to be a pretty important part of the gameplay, and players will need to be on the lookout for these to give themselves an edge in battle, whether to grab a window of opportunity to flee from a fight and conserve precious ammo, or let loose with an attack at a time when an enemy is dazed or weakened. It remains to be seen how varied these are, or how frequently these opportunities show up, but if used perfectly, these elements can definitely make combat a significantly more enjoyable and dynamic experience.
The upgrading mechanics in Resident Evil 7 were pretty limited. You had the option to use rare consumables to upgrade Ethan’s reload speed and health, but they didn’t really play a huge role in the game (unless you were playing on harder difficulties, of course). Upgrading, however, is going to be a much more crucial part of Resident Evil Village. You’ll find animals roaming around in the village throughout the game – which you can then take to the Duke to cook up special meals. These meals, as you might have guessed, will upgrade your base stats, such as your health, guard strength, and movement speed.
Weapon upgradation is also going to be a fundamental mechanic in Resident Evil Village. Where RE7 had no weapon upgrade system whatsoever (other than finding more powerful variants of certain weapon types), Village is taking a lot of cues from RE4. Using the currency you will earn from killing enemies and exploring, you will be able to upgrade your weapons’ stats at the Duke’s emporium. In addition to that, you will also be able to purchase special mods for various weapons that will enhance them in other ways, such as a cheek rest for the F2 rifle to reduce weapon sway, or a hair trigger for the M1897 shotgun to improve its rate of fire, and more.
Resident Evil games have historically generally offered extra game modes outside of their campaigns, but Resident Evil 7 was focused almost exclusively on its campaign mode. In RE Village, however, there is some extra stuff to look forward to- and no, we’re not talking about Re:Verse. The series’ fan-favourite time attack mode, The Mercenaries, is finally coming back, and on top of the formula that the mode’s fans will be well versed with, there are also going to be various additional wrinkles- such as being able to spend currency between each area to buy new items and weapons and upgrade your existing weapons, or ability pickups scattered across all areas to boost various stats, from healing and movement speed to damage buffs for specific weapon types.
This one might not make much of a difference from a gameplay or narrative perspective, but it’s surely going to be a crowd-pleaser nonetheless. Photo modes have sort of become an industry-wide norm over the last few years. Resident Evil 7, which came out at a time when photo modes weren’t that prevalent, didn’t have one- but Resident Evil Village will. This has not yet been officially confirmed by Capcom, but a Photo mode option was clearly seen during a gameplay video that was recently released and published by IGN.