Wooderon’s Favourite Video Games of 2021 – #5: Resident Evil Village

Here we go again. Another year, another top Ten list that I’ve left till tragically late to finish writing. It doesn’t help that so much good stuff ended up coming out so late in the year. But tradition is tradition and here I am, spending the last ten days of the year talking about my ten favourite video games of 2021.

This list is one of my top ten favourite games that come out in in the year 2021. In the past I’ve been a little loose with the rules and kind of slipped DLCs and expansions into the mix. But with the real rise of service games now, I felt like I finally had to break away and create a list of my older favourite games too. Which you can check out by clicking this link here.

So let’s get into number five on my list:

#5: Resident Evil Village

Played on PlayStation 5 | Released 7th May | Developed by Capcom

I have a pretty casual relationship with the Resident Evil Franchise. Until I played the remake of 2 the other year, the only game in the franchise I’d touched was Resident Evil 4. A game I love dearly to this very day. So me finding myself with my hands on a copy of Resident Evil Village came as much as a shock to me as anybody.

I guess I was just lucky I got that super expensive PS5 bundle that came with like five games. Or else I might not have managed to get my hands on this piece of delightful nonsense that, as it turns out, was the perfect game in the series for me to put my hands on given my very space knowledge of the series’ long song storied history.

In the eyes of this novice; RE8 is a direct sequel to Re7 and a spiritual successor to Re4. In so many ways I don’t even know where to start.

Players take control of Ethan Winters who sets out into a gothic, European village in search of his kidnapped baby daughter, contending with what seem to be Werewolves, Witches, Vampires and fish monsters all the way.

Right from the start, this game is the perfect blend of genuinely unsettling and being bat-shit wacky. Which is actually favourite combination of elements when it comes to horror. Flipflopping from deadly self seriousness with bouts of being very self aware and leaning into just how silly it all it. It carries a tone in much the same vein as RE4.

Both are games that take place in isolated European villages, complete with castles, lake monsters and shadowy military cabals. The main difference being that while Ethan takes everything very seriously in this game, Leon is swaggering his way through his adventure with a knowing wink and attitude more suited to an 80s action flick.

The silliness in RE8 comes from the characters Ethan encounters and the sheer weirdness they exude, as well as the beating he takes and seemingly is able to walk away from without so much as questioning why, for example, he can reattach his limbs with nothing more than sheer force of will.

Playing this game on PS5, I feel like I got the full benefit of how good the RE Engine looks on the new console, as well as enjoying the big vampire lady everyone was getting hot under the collar over shortly after the game’s release.

Leaning more into action than survival, the game bounces the player from location to location and pits them against the different bosses that make the game feel more akin to a Megaman game than a survival horror.

While I have not played a whole lot of Resident Evil, I have to put my hands up and give it up to Capcom. Despite this being a game in the franchise with a roman numeral eight on it, they’ve shown that they’re more than happy to shake things up and just reboot tone of their most storied franchises, filling it with a whole cast of new characters and leaning into new elements outside of the traditional zombie tropes.

I really enjoyed my time with this game, so much so that I did go back and play Resident Evil 4 again after finishing this one. I count myself lucky I managed to get a copy of this one, it’s most certainly my my pleasant surprise of the whole year.

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