By now, you’ve read about PlayStation VR2 and how much of an improvement it is over its predecessor. It’s a solid piece of technology and I’ve been happy with the experience I’ve had with it over the last several weeks. The definitive experiences that have stuck with me long after credits include Horizon Call of the Mountain, Gran Turismo 7, and Resident Evil Village VR. It wasn’t until Lady Dimitrescu towered over me that I felt like whatever Capcom was smoking I wanted some of it, with the supernatural countess inches away from potentially crushing my character in virtual reality.
The earliest moments inspire some confidence in the platform and why shouldn’t they? After all, this is new tech and Sony clearly did its homework when working on PlayStation VR2. Starting in with an inspired training room gauntlet, as Ethan you quickly acclimate to the way Resident Evil Village handles in VR. Personally, I found it to be a sizeable adjustment because there’s a lot more to do physically this time. The other proviso is that I had the intention of loading my old save file and jumping in from there but Capcom has made this an entirely unique experience where you’ll have to start with a fresh save.
Resident Evil Village VR Is A Fresh Experience
I didn’t mind as I began a fresh playthrough again. I’ve played Resident Evil Villagea handful of times since it launched in May 2021. The story of Ethan Winters resonated with me and the latest entry is a great addition to the long-running series while adding new elements to the established lore.
Getting back to the impressive implementation of virtual reality in Village, the firing range is where I was first wildly impressed by how far the jump was from PlayStation VR to PlayStation VR2. Some things like pulling out a flashlight or opening drawers feel like standard actions, one’s I’ve done thousands of times in real life. It wasn’t until I was prompted to pick up the handgun and unload the clip did I feel a rush of energy. What I mean is that from picking up the weapon to lifting my arm and looking down the sight to ensure I had the best shot felt immersive in a way I’ve never experienced. Once you eject the magazine, you’re told to reload by grabbing from your ammo pouch on your hip and then pulling the slide back to ensure the gun is reloaded.
It becomes even more physically demanding when you equip the shotgun, a weapon that requires you to also pull shells from your ammo pouch and then reload the barrel one by one. But the most demanding weapon I encountered was the sniper rifle which is immensely powerful to use but a pain to reload as you need to ensure you’ve correctly slotted the next bullet into the chamber. If this sounds more physical than you want your video games to be, there are settings available to make this less realistic.
The biggest downside I’ve noticed is that I’m left fumbling with a lot of the cartridges because sometimes the motion controls and even my hand placement isn’t ideal so I’m left trying to right my position before reloading. This has led me to enemies attacks me before I even had the chance to counter them but it’s not a dealbreaker.
The same intense story beats
For what it’s worth, the entire campaign is playable in VR and it’s well worth revisiting if you’ve never experienced it. What isn’t included though is Mercenaries, the timed challenge mode the Resident Evil series has included for years with most entries. If you’ve previously played Mercenaries and had hoped to import your unlocked weapons and items, it is unfortunate to report that you can’t do that here. Instead, there are some new items you can nab from good old Duke.
Ethan also has a knife to deal with the onslaught of enemies and I’m so thankful of how it was implemented. Sitting on Ethan’s left hand is a knife holster that can be picked up by pressing R1 and used not only for combat but also for environmental puzzles and smashing boxes for items. Tapping L1 shifts Ethan into an offensive stance and when equipped with a pistol, you become an army of one. I also noticed by mistake I had fumbled my knife only for it to land square in an enemy’s forehead. Yes, that means you can also throw your knife at enemies and watch it respawn on your left forearm.
It Takes A Village
It wasn’t until I arrived at Castle Dimitrescu that I felt the sheer size of the world. The earlier moments are quieter and don’t paint a picture of just how immersive this port of Village truly is. You’re involved in almost every aspect of Ethan’s survival including running from enemies and hiding from them, to stocking up on green herbs before drinking them to refill health. Normally these actions are pinned to a controller’s face buttons but now I’m dealing with the anxiety of trying to stay alive in a way playing on a television can never replicate.
Everything looks and sounds impressive in Resident Evil Village VR. From the steady streams passing through the village to the Lycans decimating the locals for fun, you can see and almost feel the dread around you. I haven’t played anything like this where I actively feel a sense of dread and tension the entire time. I won’t even begin to tell you how creepy visiting House Beneviento once again felt. Even when I originally played Resident Evil Village, the section itself is unhinged. Coming back and reliving the horror in VR takes the experience to a whole new level, and I’m not sure how some may feel after experiencing it.
Everything I’ve mentioned so far has left a positive impression on me. While the majority of Resident Evil Village VR is incredible, I did notice some bugs during my time with the campaign. In instances where Ethan is knocked down, his perspective doesn’t line up with his positioning, leaving your view of the cutscene skewed because your face sinks past the floor.
Resident Evil Village VR is an immersive way to revisit this universe and while it may not be for everyone, those who stick around will see how terrifying this world truly is. From the earliest moments to the endgame, I can’t stress how impressed I was left feeling by the work that went into making this port work so well. Some of the guns are a nuisance to reload but once you learn how to master it, it is satisfying to unload a clip into a werewolf by looking and aiming at them with your Sense controller.
[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PSVR2
Reader Rating0 Votes
The entire campaign is playable in VR
Immersive, expansive, and exciting moments come to life with the PSVR2 headset
Gunplay is pretty solid
No way to use my existing save
Some tracking issues and positioning issues when in cutscenes