RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE (2021)

Yes, I mostly played RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE to partake in the cultural conversation as, apart from RESIDENT EVIL 4, I don’t care much for the series’ trademark blend of jump scares and camp. (Although I am now very tempted to dive into RESIDENT EVIL 7, which I initially wrote off as an interactive facsimile of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE.)

VILLAGE severely overtaxed my ailing PS4 — my poor console’s fan was working so hard that it trampled over any aural atmosphere Village may have — but it’s undeniably a triumph of tech and scenic design. The attention to details is astounding, mesmerizing even. That said, it feels like it’s design-by-commitee that succeeds in spite of itself. If it reminds me of anything, it’s HALF-LIFE 2 with its regimented and sectional use of mechanics. Hell, Heisenberg’s factory feels like a whole-cloth rip of HALF-LIFE 2’s final chapter, sans gravity gun. (That said, HALF-LIFE 2 doesn’t hate hands nearly as much as RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE.

Still, it’s a fun time! As you’d expect from Resident Evil, the characters are all half-baked, even though they’re clearly cribbing from Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid boss book, so it’s a bit sad to see characters that could have been interesting reduced to caricatures, but it’s Capcom and it’s RESIDENT EVIL and to expect anything more would be wishful thinking.