“Village” picks up three years after “Biohazard” and continues the story of Ethan Winters, who has escaped from the nightmare of the last game with his now-wife Mia and their 6-month-old Rose. The prologue almost feels like an echo of the opening scene of “The Last of Us” with its simple domesticity that one knows is about to be shattered. Mia reads a creepy bedtime story to Rose, and the adults prepare to eat dinner when their new lives are shattered by gunfire. Mia is killed and Rose and Ethan are taken by none other than Chris Redfield (a legendary name in the “RE” universe). Moments later, Ethan wakes up in the aftermath of a car crash, and Rose is missing. He wanders into a nearby village—echoes of “Silent Hill” in the set-up may or may not be intentional—and the action of the game unfolds.
It’s not long before Ethan is set upon by creatures new to the “RE” world that resemble sort of zombie-werewolf hybrids, but the gameplay here is familiar—searching houses for minimal supplies, staying out of sight, getting your ass kicked (in particular, poor Ethan’s hands take a beating throughout “Village”). Before long, Ethan learns that this village is controlled by four monstrous creations—a vampire queen named Lady Dimitrescu, a terrifying dollhouse ghost called Donna Beneviento, a troll-looking monstrosity named Salvatore Moreau, and a magical being with style named Karl Heisenberg. And they all serve at the will of the legendary Mother Miranda, whom the villagers worship for their own safety.
Of course, the gameplay is going to bring Ethan to all of these creatures, each of whom has their own distinct setting in which you will have to alternate solving puzzles, tense combat, and running for your life. There’s a great deal of violence that is inflicted on Ethan, and it’s designed to make him a flawed protagonist. He’s constantly getting thrown around, and you regularly would do better to run from an encounter than try to shoot your way out. In a sense, that’s a throwback to the original games, but Ethan feels even weaker than the original heroes, someone who is constantly being chased, trapped, or abused. Games are so often about superpowered characters that it takes a little while to get used to Ethan’s general weakness, although the game does follow a traditional action path in that stronger weapons (through discovery or upgrade at shops) makes Ethan into more of a creature-killing machine, especially late in the game.
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