Resident Evil Village review: Apparently, good horror takes more than a village

2017’s Resident Evil 7 was one of the greatest gaming comeback stories of all time. After the series lost its way over the years with unwieldy blockbuster aspirations, Capcom’s horror team wiped the slate clean and scaled everything down to a creepier, tighter, personality-driven scope.

The resulting 2017 game is still a series highlight—which is likely why Capcom hasn’t yet let go just yet. Its direct sequel, this week’s Resident Evil Village, earns serious “direct sequel” stripes. The same protagonist returns to contend with zombies, monsters, and creeping dread. His tribulations are once again framed within a first-person perspective, and they’re once again controlled by a certain set of moves and weapon types.

Sequels like this sometimes turn out well—ain’t broke, you know the rest—but that’s often because the game maker in question uses lessons learned from the prior game to make something bigger, badder, and crazier, or executes concepts that couldn’t quite fit into the first attempt. RE Village is not that sequel. The more I think about its elements, the more I’m left wondering what got cut, changed, or compressed to get this game out the door, because it largely fails to surpass RE7‘s scope.

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