Capcom's latest entry in the Resident Evil series is one of their finest yet. With favourable reviews across the board, (including an 8/10 from GAMINGbible's own Mark Foster), Village is a worthy sequel. Sacrificing some of the survival horror vibes of its predecessor to serve a more action-heavy experience, It's all very similar to when Resident Evil 4 first released back in 2005. This begs the question: Why would we need a Resi 4 remake then?
This isn't the first time I've questioned the concept of a Resident Evil 4 remake. Previously, I wrote about why Code: Veronica deserves this treatment more, citing that RE4 already feels modern enough. That's not to say Leon's European jaunt is perfect. Last year, I replayed many RE titles for the benefit of my own mental health, and discovered that Resi 4 now handles like a hearse with four flat tires. However, the awkward controls don't warrant a remake as the game is still superb (our own Ewan Moore agrees), and we now have Village anyway.
The way Resident Evil Village opts for action over horror shows that Capcom are aware fans were in the mood for heavy gunplay with their scares this time. That's not to say Village isn't scary because it did make me jump on a few occasions, and it even has one of the scariest sequences in recent history (video below). Ultimately though, the latest Resi game was intentionally made to be less scary than RE7, and that's partly why it's such a fantastic sequel. The creators are trying to make something newer, fresher, and worth playing. I know there will be some who wanted Village to be more like the "Baker incident", and I get that, but change is good.
SPOILER WARNING: This is the scariest moment Resident Evil history
The funny thing is, this shift in soul from Resident Evil 7 to Village feels less like a brand new experience and more like drawing inspiration from an even older RE title. It's long been known that Capcom were channeling Resident Evil 4 with Village. From the rustic, rural settings to the loveable merchants, there are ample similarities between these two games.
My favourite link between the two has to be the way Ethan Winters has developed from 'fish out of water' to elite soldier, much Like Leon S. Kennedy did between the 'Raccoon City incident' and his mission to rescue Ashley Graham. Also, doesn't Ethan look a bit like Leon? I know we don't see his face but the hair? The austere dress sense? He even spouts one-liners in much the same way, and has an awkward relationship with Chris like Leon does in RE6. Maybe I should stop pulling at this thread now.
The gameplay is where the true similarities are. I've already mentioned the action-centric feel, but there's more. In Village, enemies drop loot when eliminated, just like in Resident Evil 4, ranging from cash to crafting components and even treasure. These drops serve as encouragement to actually put foes down, instead of simply avoiding them as you might in older style Resi games like the RE2 remake. The first mainline RE game to employ this mechanic? That's right, it was Resident Evil 4.
Even the grid-based inventory menu in Village is straight out of RE4, with upgrades available in both games from the respective merchants, in the form of attache cases. These let you hold more items as the game goes on, which is vital as your weapon collection grows. Some of these weapons you'll find along the way while others are available to buy with the in-game currency, another prominent feature of Resi 4. Much like the older game, many of these weapons can be upgraded using the money you collect. You can also make money from selling the treasure you find just like in... I mean, do I have to say it again?
There are some obvious differences between Leon and Ethan's sequel games. RE4 is a third-person shooter while Village employs a first-person perspective. Leon is subjected to annoying and sometimes horrendously long quick time events, while Ethan gets off lightly with lengthy cutscenes where the player can look from side to side, and a mildly irritating section where you have to put your baby to bed. All in all, though, these changes are either harmless or improvements, depending on your personal preferences.
All of this is to say that Resident Evil Village took what RE4 did and learned from it. Capcom looked at their past to build a game that has the best of now and the best of back then, and in doing so have given us a title that is unquestionably better than its ancestor. Village is as much a sequel as it is a spiritual remake of Resident Evil 4, and proves that we simply don't need a full remake.
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