Lady Dimitrescu was nowhere to be found
As someone whose PS4 has been collecting dust for months and who decided to go with the Xbox Series X instead of PlayStation 5, I had no choice but to wait until May to play the Resident Evil Village Demo.
(Wanna know why I opted for the Xbox Series X instead of the PS5? Subscribe and you shall find out soon!
First, though, I should confess something. I’m a Resident Evil virgin. That’s right, I’ve never played any of the RE games before. I’ve watched a lot of gameplay on YouTube from some of the earlier RE games, but I never played one myself.
There are two reasons for that.
One, I’m not a fan of horror games. I like my scares to come passively, e.g., in movies. 😛 Playing games requires active concentration, and I’m not always a big fan of scaring myself. The only horror game that I remember enjoying was Left 4 Dead 2. But that’s a co-op game, so you don’t really feel alone, even if your co-shooters are made up of 0s and 1s.
Two, I have a health issue. I don’t know exactly what that is, but certain first-person games make me nauseous, sweat, and feel extremely unwell. I don’t know exactly what types — like Far Cry 1, 3, and 4 never made me physically unwell. But games like Just Cause 4, certain portions of Far Cry 5, Half-Life 2, etc., make me extremely sweaty, even when I’m sitting directly below an air conditioner.
I don’t know the reason. But I know that it happens when it’s a first-person game and I’m looking for something (as opposed to, say, shooting, driving, or generally engaged in some form of activity).
As Resident Evil fans know, there’s a lot of “looking for something” involved in this series. And the Village demo that I played today had its fair share of searching, too. Even for a few minutes, I had that sickly feeling. It had begun to develop, but because the scene quickly moved on to dialogues and/or actions, I quickly recovered and felt better.
I won’t be buying Resident Evil Village for this reason. But if this wasn’t an issue, I totally would.
Everything that happened in Resident Evil Village Demo
It sets the stage with three short sentences.
Ethan’s daughter, Rose, has been kidnapped. He now finds himself in a strange village.
After wandering for a while, he comes across an old woman…
Here’s what happened in my first playthrough:
I see the strange woman at first. As I, Ethan, try talking to her, she immediately says I’m the child’s father. Desperate, I ask if Rose is here, and the woman says she is here, but she’s in danger.
She leaves without saying anything helpful, and as I look in the distance, I see the towering castles that look mysterious and creepy amid mist, snow, and shadow.
My daughter is in danger. But what danger? What is this lady? Where’d the skulls come from?
Putting those thoughts aside, I start to look around for clues, and I find some notes and other tidbits, but my first main puzzle comes as I try to open a large gate that seems to be the only way to get to those towers. I have a strange feeling that Rose must be in there, even though there are houses closer to me.
Because the door won’t budge without the circular missing pieces, I start to look around. I still don’t know what I’m looking for, but at least I know the shape of my target.
After walking around aimlessly, I discover that one of the iron gates is open, and I can just push through it to get to the other side. I walk towards it, picking up a few more “items” in the meantime that might come in handy to craft things like first aid. Not that I’m looking forward to needing one.
I also habitually check what’s already in my inventory. I’m reminded that I only have a small knife, a semi-automatic pistol, and an extra magazine of bullets. I don’t know yet if I’m up against anything other than human. If human, I have enough weapons. But if something else, then what?
Impossible to know if I’m carrying enough without knowing who, or what, the enemy is.
More importantly, I don’t have a choice. I have what I have, and the only way to find my daughter is to push through.
So I walk.
The village is creepily quiet. It’s as if something terrible has happened. Something so horrifying that everyone had to leave. But, I have a sensation that nobody actually left. Or, perhaps, nobody had the chance to leave. They are still here. Yet, at the same time, they aren’t.
As my mind races to find meaning in all of this and find my daughter before she too joins the rest of the villagers, I come across a house.
A house with an unlocked door.
There are lit candles, a little too many for an average house, I think. I walk up to where the candles are and immediately see something circular. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t know why it’s here, but I know that it will fit that large door that’s standing in my way to the castle.
So I pick it up. I also equip my knife. I still don’t know what I’m up against, but I’m strangely hoping that it’s human. At least, a knife will be enough to bring one to his knees.
I also look around and shamelessly pick up a few other items. I feel like a thief, but I still have that sensation that whoever owns all this stuff won’t really be back to use any of it again.
I also collect a map and get out of the door at the other end of the house. It looks like there’s a pathway. I don’t pay much attention to the map. Something tells me I must go this way since I still need to pick up one more of those circular things to open the evil-looking door.
I don’t like going deeper into this village when I know my real destination is behind me. But, as is the case oftentimes, I have no other way.
As I go through the boundary, I first see a tall figure standing at the edge of a wheat field. “Field” might be an overstatement here. Let’s just say a neglected backyard full of overgrown grass. I don’t feel fear, though, for what I look at is nothing but a scarecrow.
I still don’t know what lurks behind the scarecrow, hidden among tall grasses. As visibility gets poorer, my heartbeat starts racing. I equip my semi-automatic pistol. Ready to shoot my way out of the danger.
I walk into the tall grass, and a few long moments later, I find myself lost.
Frantically, I shoot at some bags of flour, I don’t know why, but shortly after, I realize my mistake.
At first, I hear just the snarling.
I can hear it faintly. I’m not sure what’s going on. I’m not even sure if I actually hear it. Empty, snowy, cold, and mysterious; they don’t make for a condition where the mind can be sharp. Add the fact that my daughter is missing, and the only person I’ve seen so far has uttered cryptic cultish words. I’m not exactly too far from going crazy and “hearing things.”
Gradually, I feel that not only is the hellish sound becoming louder, but it’s also beginning to come from all directions. I start to feel surrounded by monsters. Well, only their sound, for now.
Just as I begin to think I’m going crazy, I see “it.”
Can you call it human? Absolutely not. I see its hellish eye for a moment before it charges towards me. They aren’t even walking like humans. They don’t seem like the enemy you can reason with. And something about their physique just tells you, you ain’t gonna overpower them.
I don’t waste any more time.
I make a run for it.
And then, I make my second mistake. When I see more of them coming from every direction, I start shooting haphazardly in an attempt to flee. And I waste valuable bullets, failing to land most of them on any part of their bodies. Some of them jump at me, but I manage to escape.
It’s not a fight I want to win. It’s one I want to flee.
In the end, though, I manage to kill them. I don’t know if I killed some of them and scared the rest or if I did actually get all of them, but I don’t know. All I care about now is moving ahead and getting a second piece of the circular thing.
I find more items scattered throughout the village. But my most shocking — and relieving — finding comes inside a small house. As happy as I would have been if it was the final circular piece of the puzzle, I’m not exactly heartbroken either to find another of my species — a young girl.
Shortly after, I find out that she’s not alone. She has an injured father, who’s wary of me, lying just to her side. He carries a machete. I maintain my distance and assure the two of them that I’m not the danger.
Unlike ten minutes ago, I now know who — or what — the dangers are.
Despite the old man’s distrust in me, the outsider, I want to help him. His daughter tells me they have to get into Luiza’s house. It’s the least I can do for an injured man with his daughter. Besides, I’m not going to lose them. At this point, I’d take my chances with human enemies instead of whatever the hell was out there.
I leave them to find a way to open another gate to a large house. I need to help the father and the daughter get inside the small compound in front of the house.
As I get inside, open the large gate, and ask the father-daughter to come, something about my daughter and me pops up in my mind.
Will I be injured with my daughter by my side?
Or will it be the other way?
Or will I die alone, never knowing what happened to my daughter?
As her father sits in front of the house, I shake my thoughts and knock on the door a few times. Nobody answers. As Elena, the daughter, does the same, somebody opens the door, but the first thing to come out is the barrel of a gun.
A woman comes out too. She lets Elena and her father inside. The man with the gun doesn’t trust me, understandably so, and if it wasn’t for the woman’s kindness, I’d never be allowed in.
After entering the house, I look around. A letter and an album catch my attention. However, before I can look deeper into the album, the woman comes back and leads me to a room inside.
The drama that took place at the door repeats itself.
Of course, I’m an outsider. There’s no reason to trust me. But a particular man with a foul mouth is on the verge of verbally abusing me. I don’t say anything to him, my self-respect is the least of my worries right now, but I keep asking what has happened to the village.
Shortly, as I let out my disbelief that everyone left alive in the village is in this very room, something godawful happens.
It starts slowly. Just as we all finish saying our prayer, Elena’s father, Leonardo, starts to growl and suddenly upends the dining table, causing the floor mat to catch fire. Before we understand what’s going on, he takes his machete and goes straight for the kind woman who had let me in.
The last peaceful place in the village turns fiery and violent in a matter of seconds.
As I crawl backward into what looked like a narrow corridor, I witness how a talking person became a “monster” and started biting the rest of the group. I manage to snatch Elena, and we keep backing before finding a door and closing it shut on Leonardo as he keeps heading for us.
I don’t know how long the door will hold him. The fire is spreading. We have to find a way to get out.
As is the case oftentimes, there wasn’t a way out.
Not unless we made one.
There is a truck on this side of the door. No keys on the ignition. Of course, that’d be too easy.
I frantically search this side of the house as the fire spreads on. I find a few more things throughout, some bullets too, thankfully. Eventually, in another room, I find the key and a screwdriver. I also find the door to the outside. It’s sealed. But nothing a small truck couldn’t break. Or so I think.
I ask Elena to back away as I fire up the engine and head straight for the door. After several attempts, I spectacularly fail. The fire’s all around me. I have been feeling the heat for a while now, but now, I feel like I’m burning.
So, this is how I die. Strangely enough, even at this time, all I can think about is Rose. Even stranger is the fact that I can’t remember what she looks like. Was I bit in the wheat field? Am I losing my mind?
What does it matter, though? I’m losing my life. After a few excruciating minutes, none of it will matter.
A fraction of a second after I gave up on my life, I notice the “way” to get up. To go upstairs and find a way to escape this burning house.
Elena and I manage to escape the ground floor after I find my strength back. I still can’t believe it. I was dying a moment ago, and now I’ve made it. Can my daughter make it too?
I see an open window to get out of the house. It’s within our reach. There’s just one sloppy board to get over. And then we’ll be free. I go over it first, and then I help Elena. But just as I’m heading towards the window, there’s a blast below, and out comes Elena’s father.
I can’t imagine what that must feel like for her. But that person – if you can call it a person – is not Elena’s father. I told her once, and she seemed to get it. But this time, her father calls out her by name, “Elena.”
That is enough for her. She goes back down. I try desperately to get her back. I extend my hand, trying to reach her, and I pretty much beg her to give me her hand. She doesn’t. She has decided. She won’t come back. She bids me goodbye, and soon after, another blast swallows the father-daughter due to their death.
My survival instinct kicks in, and I run to the window to save my life. But I stop there. I look back at where Elena had been a moment ago. Then I look out the window.
The view out is beautiful from up here. You can see the mountains in the distance. Treelines look mysteriously beautiful amid thick fog. But I’m not in a mood to see it. For a moment, I remember all the shit I’ve been through all my life. Every time I think, I’ve had enough tragedies for one life, another one rears its head.
I don’t know why the fuck this is happening again.
I make my way down and out of the burning house. It won’t be too long until the house completely collapses. I have no reason to stick around.
Just as I head back out, I find a small place with a pair of candles inside. I get my screwdriver out of my bag and open it up.
There’s the final piece of the puzzle. A not-so-perfectly-circular crest that looks like the face of a demon. If I was telling my life why the fuck all of this was happening again, I assume that would be the face life would have made.
I grab the thing and try to open yet another gate to go back to the main gate. “That’s a lot of gates I’ve been opening,” I think to myself. But before I could chuckle at my own thought, I heard someone screaming.
“Stop! Mother Miranda!”
I witness another murder. I hear a woman’s voice as she laughs after killing the screaming man and walks away. I hesitate for two moments. Should I follow her? I have a gun. And she seemed to have used some sort of a sharp weapon. Would I win if she tried to do the same thing to me?
After giving her more than enough headstart so she can’t catch me, I walk back down the cursed wheat field. I see that strange woman again.
“Death. Yes. Death has visited them all!” she says, I don’t know to whom. She mustn’t have seen me from her behind.
I don’t try to talk to her either. I think about shooting her, but why should I? She hasn’t killed anyone. It didn’t look like she was “Mother Miranda” either. Or was she?
I try to aim my weapon at her, and to my surprise, I find that I can’t.
I realize this is getting even creepier, and I have to get out of her surroundings. I’ve had enough things happen to me in just half an hour. I’m not ready for more cryptic, creepy, and deathly words from her.
Part of me wants to ask her about my daughter. It pops up on my mind that she’s the only one who has said that my daughter was here and in danger. The other part of me, the tired part, doesn’t want to have anything to do with her, just as I didn’t after her cryptic cultish words half an hour ago.
It’s as if life has come full circle, except I still don’t have my daughter.
I walk back to the huge gate and open it using the two sets of crests. The door opens fairly easily, unveiling the path before me that leads to those giant scary towers.
The path doesn’t look any different than the ones I’ve just crossed.
Yet, somehow, I feel that it will be more brutal, sinister, and deadly.
Thoughts on the demo
As you can see, I have a vivid imagination. Sometimes, I fill in the blanks in the gameplay even when nothing’s really happening. I can immerse myself in the game that way and understand the game’s world on a deeper level.
To that end, Resident Evil Village felt amazing. I really wish I could play it more and finish it. But due to the health condition I wrote above, I know that I’m not going to be able to finish the game. There’s going to be a lot more searching and puzzle-solving in the game, and I’m physically not prepared for it.
So I’d rather not spend the money on it (maybe if it’s on sale someday or if it appears on Game Pass, I’ll pick it up).
But should you buy the game?
Based on my less than half an hour’s playthrough, I think you absolutely should. Of course, that also depends on what type of game you like.
I liked it not just because of the lore, gameplay, and the overall atmosphere, but also because I got a “Bloodborne” vibe from it. Don’t get me wrong, this game is far from a souls game, but remember how you’re thrown into Yharnam, and you have to figure stuff out? I had a similar feeling here.
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