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Resident Evil Village - Gameplay

While the core gameplay is the same as RE7, Village has made some much-needed changes. Resident Evil Village is a first-person survival horror game with a lot of action thrown into the mix. While RE7 relied on action set pieces and a few ‘moulded’ enemies here and there, Village has some more emphasis on the action and has various enemies. 

Resident Evil Village: Gameplay

The environment in the game is divided into four areas, all of which are connected by the central settlement of the village. The game is a lot more open than RE7, with large areas to explore, some of which you can only access when you gain a new key or ability. After each significant encounter, you find yourself back in the settlement area. The game is linear, which means you can't tackle any of the four areas in any order you prefer. 
Each area you visit brings something new to the table. Castle Dimitrescu, for example, is a massive mansion with hidden chambers and is full of puzzles. Adding to the tension is Lady Dimitrescu and her three daughters that follow you in the castle. While Lady Dimitrescu herself is slow, like Mr X from RE2, her daughters are more agile, and you need to escape from them quickly. House Beneviento, on the other hand, has you sneaking around and makes you feel like you are in an Escape Room and have to find the key to get out. 
The beauty is that each of the four areas has its charm, its USP to keep things fresh, and each boss battle is unique. I don't want to delve more into the areas or details of the variety of enemies you will encounter but know that the variety is enough to keep things fresh throughout the 12 hours it took me to finish the game. The demo has shown off the Lycans, sword-wielding hooded figures and some flying enemies, but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variety of enemies you encounter.
The inventory management system in the game has changed for the better. No longer are crafting items, keys and collectables a part of your main inventory. They have a separate space, and weapons, ammunition and health items dominate your main inventory. Crafting items have a separate tab, so do the collectables you will use to open gates and solve puzzles. There is a separate tab for the collectables that you can sell to The Duke for Lei. It's good that items like keys and ingredients don't occupy the main inventory, and the “inventory management” is significantly reduced, letting you focus more on the game. Lei is the in-game currency.
The Duke is a new mysterious character who sets up shop at convenient locations throughout the game. He sells arms and ammunition and can also store your excess baggage, upgrade your storage capacity, and cook food for you. Yes, if you hunt for fish, chicken and meat in the game, the Duke can cook some interesting recipes. These recipes act as permanent character upgrades by enhancing your maximum health, letting you take less damage when blocking, so on and so forth. He can also upgrade your weapons. There are a lot of collectables in the game that you can sell to the Duke for Lei.
The new inventory management system and the new shopping mechanic are welcome changes from RE7. 
Moving over to pacing, Resident Evil Village is very well-paced, offering a good mix of action, puzzles, mini boss and the final boss fights. The only downside is that once you’ve defeated the caretaker of a particular area, you can’t return there. So, you may want to scour the areas before leaving. 
On the PS5 (review), there are some DualSense features implemented as well. It isn’t as detailed as Returnal (review), but you do get adaptive triggers offering different resistance based on the gun you are using. It's a slight touch but adds to the immersion.  
It's tough to talk more about the gameplay of Resident Evil Village without spoiling it so let me leave you with this. Dead Space was one of my favourite survival horror games until Dead Space 2 came along and dialled everything to 11, and that's exactly what Resident Evil Village has done. It has taken a formula that made RE7 great, added to it, tweaked some of the frustrating elements, and delivered a cinematic horror experience. There are fewer jump scares this time around, and that's ok as the package on offer is enough to keep you at the edge of your seat.


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