Roy Gilbert

Resident Evil Village Is Too Self-Conscious to Fully Enjoy Itself

Reid McCarter


05.13.2021 09:00 AM Resident Evil Village Is Too Self-Conscious to Fully Enjoy Itself

The eternal conflict: Play horror straight, or play it up for campy laughs? Village tries to have it both ways, with mixed results. Courtesy of Capcom Ethan Winters, protagonist of Resident Evil Village , wakes up from being stabbed half to death to find himself in a scene that feels as much indebted to Hellraiser as it does Jim Henson’s Labyrinth . He sees a shadowy castle hall where a quintet of monsters loom over him, slavering and giggling as they argue over which of them will get to horribly murder their captive. A tiny living doll in a wedding dress screams at a drooling, hunched-over mutant whose face is covered in distended boils. A giant vampire in evening wear towers over Ethan with a slender cigarette holder in one gloved hand, bickering with a man in a cowboy outfit and John Lennon glasses.

This group of monsters is hilarious. They’re an assortment of Halloween decorations come to life; the horsemen of the Party City apocalypse. The cowboy spreads his arms as werewolves begin to crowd into the room. “Lycans and gentlemen, we thank you for waiting!” he declares. “And now let the games begin!”

This character’s announcement, sloppy pun and all, feels like a mission statement for Village —an invitation to gleeful, autumn evening spookiness that, if it was properly maintained throughout the entire game, would have made the latest Resident Evil one […]

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