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Resident Evil Village review – nerve-shredding descent into horror

PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X; Capcom
The action careers superbly through spooky gothic castles and underground complexes where monsters and a bloodsucking femme fatale lie in wait

It has been four years since Resident Evil 7 rescued the series from its action-heavy nadir and returned to the roots of survival horror: jump scares, and elaborate puzzles involving unattractive oil paintings. Now, Village seeks to bring back some of the gunplay introduced in Resident Evil 4 without losing the tension and dread. The result is a delightfully schlocky survival horror adventure that makes constant references to earlier games – and will bring much joy to fans.

Things start on an eerily domestic note, with Resident Evil 7 protagonist Ethan Winters and his wife Mia attempting to recover from their horrific experiences in isolated rural Louisiana by moving to … isolated rural eastern Europe. After a gruesome opening, in which Mia is shot and their baby kidnapped, Ethan must set out to discover what fresh hell he has landed in this time. You start out exploring the village of the title, a squalid, diseased little place, all cackling crones and mad-eyed yokels with shotguns, like some nightmarish Borat remake directed by Eli Roth. Most of the inhabitants have been slaughtered by four monstrous local lords at the behest of a cruel demigod. To save his daughter, Ethan must track these bizarre aristocratic sociopaths down to their lairs and kill them.

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