To note: This cloud version of Resident Evil: Village was tested on a 100MB UW broadband connection over WiFi with a 5G mobile connection.
The resident Evil The series has had its ups and downs over the years. After a strong start with the original trilogy (and Code Veronica), Capcom’s flagship horror franchise reached what many would say was its peak with the incredible Resident Evil 4, which first launched on GameCube in 2004. a few questionable decisions over the next few years that ultimately led to a remarkable revival with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Capcom decided to build on the success of Resident Evil 4 for its latest mainline entry: Resident Evil: Village.
First launching in 2021, Resident Evil: Village continues the story of Ethan Winters, a husband and father who was first introduced to us in the previous game (which, oddly enough, will launch later this year. on Switch, after its direct sequel – go figure – but has been available in its Cloud Version form in Japan since 2018). After a rather shocking opening sequence involving series veteran Chris Redfield, Ethan finds himself in a terrifying European village, complete with a vast, ancient castle, a reservoir, an abandoned mansion, and a dilapidated factory. Her mission is to rescue her baby daughter, Rose, who is kidnapped and now being held within the limits of the village itself.
Resident Evil locations are often as revered as its cast of heroes and villains, and the same is true in RE: Village. The setting is almost a character in itself, with the village acting as a central area from which you can locate and access the other four locations. Each area is remarkably unique in its representation; Dimitrescu Castle is vast and grand, with furnishings and decor that come to life with exquisite detail. On the other hand, the tank is dirty and grimy, with mud and mud on all surfaces. No location overstays its welcome, with the potential exception of the Factory during the latter part of the game, but even that is exceptionally fun to explore.
Of course, places are nothing without their respective inhabitants. This is where RE:Village is a huge step up from its immediate predecessor; the range of enemies you will encounter during your 10-12 hour journey is as impressive as it is slightly intimidating. The most important enemies are the Lycans, whom you will encounter several times throughout the story; they are actually werewolf-like creatures that lurk on rooftops, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. Once one of them attacks, the rest will follow, leading to combat segments that easily match Resident Evil 4 in their intensity.
Fortunately, Ethan Winters is able to fight off all attacks with a range of different weapons, including the basic handgun, knife, shotgun, sniper rifle, pipe bomb, and more. Ammo isn’t as readily available as it was in Resident Evil 4, but by collecting items like Chemical Fluids and Gunpowder, you can craft more ammo on the fly. If you’re well and truly backed into a corner, a quick press of “L” will allow Ethan to raise his hands in a defensive stance, limiting damage taken and allowing a quick counterattack to keep enemies at bay. This version also features the gyro aiming found elsewhere, if you prefer motion controls.
The real star of the show with RE:Village, however, are its boss encounters. You’ve no doubt seen plenty of Lady Dimitrescu by now — maybe a bit too much, the Internet! – and she’s one of the most iconic boss characters in Resident Evil history. The way she stalks you all over the castle – much like Mr. X in the Resident Evil 2 remake – is truly terrifying, especially since you can’t deal damage with your conventional weapons. The other boss characters are equally entertaining on their own, with a real standout star being creepy doll character Donna Beneviento, but you could tell Capcom wasn’t quite ready for how much icon Lady Dimitrescu would become, and we’re honestly a little disappointed with how little she is in the game in general.
Nonetheless, RE:Village is an entertaining jaunt from start to finish, and it demonstrates Capcom’s excellent ability to pace its horror games to perfection, having learned the lessons of the past. There’s not a moment here that seems wasted, but you can possibly expand the experience to your liking with additional objectives like crafting items, cooking mechanics, treasure hunting, and more. Plus, of course, RE:Village includes the beloved Mercenaries mode where you’ll have to take down waves of enemies for points, though its implementation here isn’t as strong as previous entries, with levels and limited characters (although this may be improved somewhat with Winters’ upcoming expansion slated for release on Switch in December).
Of course, after seeing the addendum to the title of this Switch version, what you’re all waiting for is how the game works on the cloud. Honestly, for the most part we were pleasantly surprised. During our time with the game, we encountered minimal lag or visual hiccups, with the most glaring issue occurring in the initial loading screen, keeping us seated for a good five to ten minutes before the action started. – likely the result being in a server-side ‘queue’ on the far end of cloud company Ubitus.
Additionally, loading the inventory screen will give a circular loading icon instead of assets for a few moments, but this is a minor issue. As standard with cloud gaming there was also very minor input latency on some segments, but again this was almost entirely unnoticeable for the most part. Overall, compared to our experience with A Plague Tale: Requiem – also a joint from Ubitus – it was frankly straightforward navigation.
That said, it’s still clear that RE:Village is a cloud game streaming to your Switch. During sections where the lighting is particularly dark, you will definitely notice artifacts in the environment; there is absolutely no way anyone can look at this game and believe it works natively. For this reason, we always recommend buying RE:Village on a platform that can handle visuals natively, if possible, as streaming technology is simply not enough up to par for now. We suspect that probably won’t be for some time.
If Switch is your only option, we suggest trying the eShop demo version for RE: Village first. In Europe, Nintendo has a 14-day refund policy in place for cloud games if you play less than two hours, which might ease any potential buyer’s remorse, but honestly save the hassle. Our own experience with the game has been quite positive, but try the demo, see if it works well for you, then make an informed decision from there, bearing in mind that access will be revoked at a later date. .
Resident Evil: Village is an excellent continuation of the main Resident Evil series that pays homage to Resident Evil 4 while showcasing its own unique style and identity. The first-person perspective makes for some truly terrifying moments (although a third-person mode is also on the way in the Winters’ Expansion DLC) and the boss encounters are some of the best in the entire series. Of course, running through the cloud means you’ll likely run into issues, along with questionable load times and potential slowdown. Our experience with this was pleasantly minimal compared to other cloud versions we’ve played, but be sure to test the demo for yourself. If you only have access to a Switch, this is a pretty solid way to experience a great game.
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