Resident Evil Village is another action-oriented RE title, but it does a much better job at it than Resident Evil 6 did back in 2012.
Claiming that Resident Evil 6 isn’t exactly the most popular entry in the franchise wouldn’t be much of a hot take. Resident Evil 4 exploded right out of the gate by introducing a new third-person perspective to the series, with more action-oriented gameplay than the originals. Capcom then tried to capitalize on this success with RE5 and RE6 by ramping up the action, but many gamers will agree Resident Evil 6 took it too far. RE7 stood out by returning to the horror that made the originals so compelling, but Resident Evil Village focused on the action again – and wound up doing a far better job than RE6 did.
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The new 3D graphics game developers in the 90s suddenly had access to with consoles like the PS1 and the N64 had more of an impact on their products than just their aesthetics. With a significant increase in horsepower, developers were able to create brand-new experiences that weren’t possible on older hardware. Capcom used this to make the original Resident Evil games, which took advantage of various camera angles that placed the player’s view in its hands. This perspective lent itself very well to the survival horror gameplay the series is so well known for, but the games started to change focus as consoles got more powerful.
Resident Evil 4 still placed players in a large map in which they collected weapons, ammo, and keys that unlocked previously blocked areas, but now the emphasis was more heavily placed on the combat itself. Ammo was plentiful, players could purchase resources and upgrades, and the new kick move allowed players to deal with packs of enemies much easier than they could have in older games. RE5 implemented co-op and an even larger emphasis on action, but then Resident Evil 6 drowned the entire experience in explosions and combat. Just like RE4, Village certainly has a lot of action itself, but it pulls it off much more tastefully than RE6 does.
Village’s Action Doesn’t Overshadow The Rest Of The RE Experience
One of the reasons Resident Evil 4 got away with pushing the series towards lots of action was because the game still had elements of its horror roots intact. New enemies still had gradual introductions via log entries that helped build tension before players even saw them. Village does the same thing while also filling the world with dark and cramped environments that make each encounter intimidating. The half-robot soldiers in Heisenberg’s Factory are a great example of this. There’s a lot to fight in Resident Evil Village, but the atmosphere and pacing of these encounters retain some of the terror fans expect from Resident Evil.
There’s also a slow build-up in action that just isn’t there in RE6. Right from the start, players are gunning down a whole bunch of zombies and escaping sequences with all kinds of explosions, as if Leon’s running through an interactive Michael Bay film. Resident Evil Village‘s action segments start smaller, with lower amounts of basic enemies spaced out between horror sections like Donna’s doll house so that the action doesn’t get too overbearing. It makes it so that when players finally get to gun down dozens of Lycans as Chris Redfield near the end of the game, it feels empowering instead of corny. It might not be as flashy as RE6, but Resident Evil Village focused on balancing action with the exploration and horror that made the series so compelling in the first place.
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