Saturday, December 4

Resident Evil 8 Village Review

I played on: PS4
I paid: £49.99
Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X and PC
Notes: n/a

Resident Evil 8 story-wise is a direct sequel and conclusion to Resident Evil 7. Gameplay-wise this game shares much more in common with Resident Evil 4. These two eras of Resident Evil mesh much better than you might expect and create an outstanding game that is easily one of the strongest in the entire series.

You once again play as Ethan Winters who has moved on from the horrific events he survived at the hands of the mould infected Baker family. Since 2017 Ethan has undergone military training at the behest of Chris Redfield. He is now living in rural eastern Europe with his wife Mia and their child Rose. Before long all hell breaks loose with Mia seemingly murdered by Chris. Rose is also kidnapped and is being held somewhere in the titular village. The rest of the game has Ethan taking on 4 mutated Lords, infected villagers and much more. This story is much better than it has any right to be. It does a fantastic job of concluding Ethan’s story while introducing new faces to the series. After RE6 Chris feels like he’s finished his own story and fits in perfectly as a supporting character to other peoples stories. I love having him around but I’m also glad he’s not the main character anymore. My biggest complaint is that we don’t get to spend enough time with his new team. They all feel like amazing characters that had their roles cut for pacing reasons. Besides this small issue though this is Resident Evil storytelling at its finest!

The gameplay is another area this game excels in. Similar to RE7 you play entirely in the first person but the pacing, action and exploration are much more like RE4. Similar to Leon’s time in Spain you will be taking on a rural religious organization and the leader’s infected masses. You once again, much like in RE4, have access to a merchant that will sell and upgrade your firearms and other useful equipment. Enemies once again drop useful items when defeated along with treasure that can be sold for large sums of money. You even have a Mercenaries mode to play in after you finish the main campaign.

What’s impressive is how RE8 improves on RE4. The Village of RE8 is much more richly detailed and interconnected with more secrets to uncover than the one found in RE4. As fantastic as the Spanish village was, you only spent 2 of the 5 acts there before moving onto the castle and island. This new Eastern European village is open to you right up until the final leg of the journey. The number of hidden areas, treasures and optional mini-bosses is amazing. I’ve finished this campaign 4 times and there are still things I’ve yet to discover. 

The new challenge list will let you know how much you have left to do. This list covers both the campaign and mercenaries modes. Each challenge you complete rewards you with points you can spend in the reward store. This store includes your usual concept art and 3D models but also includes bonus weapons. If you fully upgrade any weapon in the campaign, you can buy infinite ammo for it in the rewards store. Finishing the campaign on each of the difficulty settings allows you to buy an extra gun from the store. Completing all the mercenary stages with S ranks unlocks a freaking lightsaber in the rewards store. To say there is a lot to do in RE8 is an understatement. This is an amazing game that offers amazing value.

The graphics are probably the weakest part of the entire package but they are far from bad. It’s worth mentioning that I played this game on my base PS4 as finding a PS5 to buy in 2021 is harder than finding gold on the moon. That being said, I’ve heard the PS5/Xbox Series X versions aren’t much better visually. For the most part, this game looks great. The art design on everything from the environments to the weapons, characters, monsters and so on is jaw-dropping. Each lord you take on has an area filled with unique enemies that all feel distinct. Lady Dimitrescu’s castle is filled with blood-starved vampires along with her vampiric daughters. Donna Beneviento’s mansion is surrounded by the undead rising from the graves of tragically deceased family members. Heisenberg’s factory is filled with Frankenstein inspired mechanical monsters constructed from the corpses of the villagers. That’s saying nothing of the Lycans that roam the entire village and hunt Ethan throughout his time there. No, the issue with the graphics is how it handles animations happening in the distance. If you see anything happening far enough away from you then it will be running in single digit frames. This isn’t an issue most of the time as the game knows the limitations of the ageing RE engine. During a set-piece near the end of the story, this becomes an obvious problem and that’s when RE8 looks it’s worse. This is a shame as it takes the impact out of an otherwise amazing final sprint type moment. But this is a nit-pick of a single moment in a game full of so many more flawless ones.

Resident Evil 8, may just be the greatest game in a franchise full of excellent games and that’s no small feat. Simply put, I have no doubt this will go down as one of the best games ever made alongside the RE1 remake and RE4.

Recommendation Rating: 10 out of 10

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