The Resident Evil Showcase, aired on the 21st of Jan, gave us new glimpses at the upcoming Resident Evil Village as well as our first look at RE: Verse, a bundled multiplayer title, as well as a couple of scant details regarding a crossover with The Division 2 and this years CGI Movie, Resident Evil Infinite Darkness. While there is still a lot to learn about RE Village, what we got at this showcase whet my appetite no end and I can’t wait for May 7th – the release date for Village.
There’s plenty to discuss and theorise about, but one thing that stands out immediately is just how stunning the RE Engine looks on next gen. YouTube compression dampened the visuals a little, but having watched the direct feed trailer I am absolutely blown away by the fidelity. The RE Engine was already the best out there for my money, but this next gen debut looks to truly bring the power of Xbox Series X to the forefront. Lighting and shadows are vastly improved, the environments details are just mind blowing (check out the chandelier in the gameplay trailer) and the character models straddle that fine line between realistic and stylised in the perfect way. There’s plenty of fan fiction already for Lady Dimitrescu – the tall, vampire (and possibly Tyrant-esque) lady that featured heavily in this trailer – but seeing her more up close and personal in this showcase highlighted the power of the engine and the magnificence of the artist’s work.
In the small amount we saw it looks like the tension seen throughout RE7 will be at work here, though perhaps with a more action slant. Fighting the zombified vampires in the basement looks as though there are more enemies to contend with at once, while the dude with the giant fucking hammer brings to mind Dr. Salvador from RE4. Here’s hoping Capcom don’t over blow the action though, we don’t want another RE6 on our hands.
There also seems to be sections reminiscent of Jack Baker where we see one of the Lady Dimitrescu’s daughter’s pursuing Ethan through the extravagant mansion, disintegrating into a swarm of bugs to try and catch him out (and a few bugs even lodged themselves under Ethan’s skin, gruesomely popping out right up in the players view). If Village can take lessons from Jack, Nemesis, and Mr.X and ratchet up the tension and abilities of our enemies, well, I for one will be a happy – albeit frightened – man. The inventory is getting an overhaul too, bringing it more in line with RE4’s slot based system rather than the slightly awkward menu of RE7. Items have a certain amount of room needed to fit in, and so we need to shuffle things around to accommodate as much as we can. This worked really well in RE4, so I and glad to see it implemented here.
A PS5 exclusive demo is out now, featuring a different character, no combat or puzzles, and acting more as a visual showcase than anything so it seems. While Capcom have worked with Sony closely on the last few RE titles in terms of marketing, it’s still disappointing that Xbox and PC players are being left out on this brief experience. A multiplatform, full demo is due out between now and launch though, so that’s something to look forward to.
One small thing that stuck out to me was that in almost every scene the antagonists would call Ethan by his full name, Ethan Winter. Perhaps it’s just an idiosyncrasy of the developers, but could this also point to Ethan having somewhat of a reputation in Village, one that the sexy vampires and werewolves maybe fear, or respect? The return of the Merchant is a welcome sight too, as well as perhaps a few other friendly characters along the way.
Overall this tantilising glimpse was a great next showing for Village, managing to add even more mystery and raising more question without answering very many of the ones lingering from the previous trailers. Visually stunning, and with the promise of even more tense survival horror gameplay, Resident Evil Village looks to be shaping up as a GOTY candidate already.
What Else Was Shown
An expensive looking Collector’s edition is set to drop at launch, with plenty of trinkets to fill up fans shelves, including a whopping great Chris Redfield statue. I’ve steered clear of collectors editions in recent years, mainly due to lack of space, but once my region’s retailers drop pre-orders I might just have to see if I can justify the no doubt high price tag.
Elsewhere we got our first look at RE: Verse. Very little was shown other than it’s an online, adversarial mode bundled with Village that takes fan favourite characters from the series history and pits them against one another in equally famous locations. Traditionally RE has tended to underperform in this online space, from the hard to set up and play Outbreak games on the PS2 to the more recent RE: Resistance that came with the third games remake. Although the trailer was brief I can’t say I’m overly excited about playing this. The part-cel-shaded look is off-putting, and Resident Evil’s combat system doesn’t exactly seem like a natural fit for PvP action. Personally I’d have liked to see Resistance expanded upon with something like Left 4 Dead-style linear levels to play through in co-op, while a player Director could unleash more havoc on us. Of course I’ll play it to judge for myself, but as a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Resident Evil I find this to be a little underwhelming.
Equally odd was the announcement of outfits from Leon, Claire, Chris and more coming to Ubisoft’s online looter shooter The Division 2. Some of us here at the Tavern have enjoyed Division over the last few months, and I certainly want to dip back in to try and get some of these, but it’s still a pairing I don’t think anyone would have seen coming. It looks like this is just a cosmetic pairing too, so don’t go expecting Leon, Chris, Claire or any of the others to show up in DC.
Finally, a brief look at the upcoming CGI film, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness. The previous CGI films (and only the CGI ones) have actually been really good at capturing what is so great about the games, so I look forward to this with much interest. No firm release date other than 2021, but it’ll be on Netflix day one.
I was more than happy with the length of this showcase – coming in at around 20 minutes – and that the majority of the time was taken up by Village news was great. I definitely want to se more of RE: Verse before I make my mind up, but I can’t say I’m overly excited right about now, especially as a celebration event for the 25th Anniversary of the series.Become a Patron!