Everyone knows that Lady Dimitrescu is tall, but I was still surprised to see how big she loomed over me from a first-person angle in VR. Resident Evil Village VR captured my full attention even beyond my fascination with the vampire tall lady, offering a new perspective on a nearly two-year-old game that I’ve played a dozen times. From the robust tutorial before you start playing to the many ways you can customize the controls for the most comfortable experience, Resident Evil Village’s VR mode is not an afterthought, but an exciting and well-designed way to experience a game that it’s already excellent.
Nothing has been watered down in the transition to VR – you’ll endure Ethan’s rescue mission from start to finish. That said, this mode doesn’t give you access to everything Resident Evil Village has to offer: the Timed Challenge Mercenaries mode isn’t VR-compatible (probably for the best, since it’s all about moving around quickly), and the modifiers you can Having already unlocked in non-VR mode, such as weapon attachments and upgrades, are not transferable to VR mode and you will have to unlock all of those items one more time. Obviously this isn’t a huge problem for anyone playing Resident Evil Village for the first time, but as someone who has unlocked and upgraded all my weapons over the course of multiple playthroughs, it was daunting. Interestingly, Village VR offers new weapon attachments, such as a bayonet for the M1897, which you can buy from The Duke after destroying a certain number of wooden goats scattered throughout the village.
Unlike the third-person mode available in The Winters’ Expansion last year, Resident Evil Village primarily thrives in virtual reality. Exploring this remote European town, I have never felt more immersed in the action. From using my hands to move shelves and lock doors to physically reloading my firearms and choking Ethan’s hand in First Aid Med, Resident Evil Village VR captures a level of realism that is simply unachievable in traditional 2D first-person games. .
Village VR looks beautiful; you can easily get lost scrolling through its maps and taking a closer look at all the little details of the environment. Castle Dimitrescu often made me step back to examine all the paintings and photographs on the wall. That said, since the action is all in your face, it’s easy to spot the low-res textures on some things as you explore, most notably the rotten food that’s scattered all over town.
Resident Evil Village VR’s controls have all the expected options, allowing you to play standing up or sitting down, each with its pros and cons. Playing standing up provides easier access to your arsenal, but generally meant I couldn’t play as long without getting fatigued, while sitting down extended my play time but could cause some awkward angles when throwing pipe bombs or using the scope to aim. with a sniper rifle. . Control scheme customization is useful for either method, allowing you to switch between options like physically reloading weapons manually or having it handled automatically. I went with a hybrid of the two because it was a lot of fun to mimic the movements of using a real firearm, but in situations where there was a lot of action and things got hectic, it was convenient to have my guns automatically reload.
Knife combat has also been greatly improved; What was once limited in movement and stiff with a controller now feels extremely smooth and responsive as you pummel enemies and crates alike. (Or you can hit every box you see; that’s pretty effective, too.) However, the most interesting thing I discovered when playing with the knife is that you can throw it without worrying about picking it up afterwards because it immediately reappears in your sheath. a few seconds later. That makes it a handy way to kill enemies and destroy crates from afar without using ammo.
Accessing Ethan’s armory is done with your hands, pulling out weapons and ammunition from different parts of your body. While the idea is immersive, the different ways he has to access his weapons can be a bit cumbersome. Sometimes I would go grab a land mine just to get my flashlight out, while other times I would grab my shotgun just to grab my sniper rifle. I wish there was a hybrid option that would let me open a quick menu with four default weapons of my choice, similar to what Resident Evil 4 VR offered, but that doesn’t seem feasible given PS’s lack of a D-Pad on the new Sense controllers. of VR2.
While I sometimes forgot that the Village has a block ability, since I never had to use it during the base game (even when playing on the challenging Village of Shadows difficulty), it was my new best friend in Village VR. With the number of enemies attacking you at once, plus the high stress of trying to avoid damage while simultaneously reloading your weapon, blocking became a very useful tool that I hadn’t relied on before.
Lockdown may seem new, but one feature that’s actually unique to VR is the ability to dual-wield weapons. This makes it much easier to get out of sticky situations, or just crack open some Lycan skulls faster. Weapons that were once used with two hands, such as the shotgun, can also be wielded with one hand while holding the pistol in the other. That’s very convenient if you need to quickly shoot an enemy close to you, but it comes at the cost of increased recoil decay. There’s a lot of fun experimentation to do just with the weapon combinations, which makes for a welcome new level of freedom.
However, some tension and jump scares I encountered in the original game weren’t nearly as scary in VR. Sure, some moments still left me in fight or flight mode, like when Lady Dimitrescu was chasing me in her castle or when I ran into that specific section in Benevieto House. But most jump scares can be missed entirely if you’re not looking in the right direction at the right time, which I learned the hard way the first time Ethan meets a werewolf. It doesn’t put a huge damper on things, but it can still be a little disappointing.
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Fortunately, much of the tension and scares in Resident Evil Village come from the combat itself, of which there is a lot. There are a handful of sections where the Village throws dozens of enemies at you at once, and the VR changes to combat mean you can now easily drop your weapon when you wanted to reload it or forget to cock your shotgun after firing a shell. Similar to what I said in my Resident Evil 4 VR review, this new style of combat comes with a severe learning curve, which can be frustrating at times, especially in the later sections. But trust me when I say it’s worth mastering, which makes the challenge all the more rewarding to overcome once you’ve mastered it.
Unfortunately, Village VR also shares some frustrations with the VR mode for Resident Evil 7, in particular, the animations that occur when enemies grab you or knock you down. Not only do they lengthen combat encounters, but they also put you in an extremely awkward and awkward view, especially since you can easily look in another direction while the animations play out.
On the other hand, the puzzles in Resident Evil Village are much more fun to solve and interact with while practicing in VR. These sections can feel a bit tedious and repetitive in 2D when you’re just following cumbersome button prompts, but Village VR has you physically interact with objects by doing things like flipping a switch to restore power to a room or moving a statue to solve a problem. . puzzles, making them feel like more than just busy work.