Published on March 31st, 2023 | by Gareth Newnham
Resident Evil: Village PSVR2 Review @capcom @RE_Games @ResidentEvil
Summary: Resident Evil Village VR is a must-have title for anyone taking the plunge on PSVR2. It's still the same RE8 we know, and love but with the tension turned up to 11. In short, it's the best way to play one of 2021's best games.
Step on me
Few publishers have managed to translate their games to VR as successfully as Capcom. Resident Evil 7 was a must-play on PSVR and Resident Evil Village VR on PSVR2 is easily one of the best launch titles for Sony’s new state-of-the-art headset, and one everyone should have in their collection. If they don’t already.
This is what I like to call a Ronseal game, it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s Resident Evil Village in VR. Nothing has been cut, watered down or diluted in the transition. If anything the jump to VR has ramped everything up, making the action feel tenser and even more engaging than it did 2D. In short, it’s the same great game you know and love, but better.
Lady Dimitresque is even more statuesque the werewolves get right up in your face, and every single fight feels all the more tense thanks to the new controls that have you manually reloading all your weapons. ( although you can also map reload to a flick of an analogue stick)
The jump to VR has also allowed Capcom to make the world of Resident Evil Village all the more tactile and immediate.No longer do you rifle through menus to grab a much-needed first aid spray, now you desperately fumble, with your coat, trying to remember which pocket it’s supposed to be in. OK, maybe that wasn’t the best example. But if you see something in the environment you can grab it There’s something incredibly satisfying about putting your fist through the front of a cabinet, grabbing a grenade and then launching it at a werewolf. Without ever having to halt the action to look at your inventory.
It’s incredibly impressive, but as with all VR games, there are still trade-offs. This added level of immersion and extra steps added to almost every action makes combat a lot tougher. Even in its early stages, you can feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by even fairly small mobs of werewolves. It also doesn’t help that you can end up having problems reaching for items when you’re playing sat down and the sense controllers freak out. What I’m saying is it’s probably best played standing up.
Although I would love to play the game with the same camera settings as the original I know full well I would be spewing like Mr. Cresosote in about ten minutes if I tried. Thankfully Resident Evil Village VR comes with a whole bevvy of options to make playing in VR as comfortable as it can be for those of us who love VR, but the tech hates us. Standard anti-sickness aids like snap-looking and teleporting to move (although not too far) are included as well as the aforementioned button push reloading sacrifices small amounts of immersion for you being able to play the game for more than half an hour, without needing a sit-down.
Although concessions have been made to the visuals to get Village to run in VR, the trade-offs feel minimal, probably thanks to foveated rendering techniques that render areas you’re not focusing on in a lower resolution, this also has the benefit that it works in a similar way to peripheral vision, which in my experience helped to up the immersion and reduce VR sickness. the sound work, which was already superb, is further enhanced by VR. Nothing ratchets up the tension like blindly scrabbling through the woods and hearing a twig break in the distance, and the mansion section, god damn it was horrifying before, but in VR it’s almost too much.
The other thing that I absolutely loved was the game’s use of haptics. Having the headset vibrate when you get slashed in the face is a subtle little masterstroke and the kind of thing you can only experience in VR. Likewise is how immersive the in-game cut scenes now feel. By allowing you to retain control of the camera I felt far more engaged with what was going on and the action far more pressing, thrilling and terrifying. The opening scene in the Winter’s home, something I wasn’t really a fan of before, is now one of my favourite scenes in VR. By making it feel like Rose is literally clinging to you, and being able to gently stroke her head and soothe her for most of the opening makes it clear how precious she is to Ethan in a way that playing in 2D can’t convey, and makes what follows hit home a lot harder.
The same can’t be said for the game’s pre-rendered cut scenes that boot you out of VR straight into cinematic mode. It feels jarring and occasionally how the camera swings can leave you feeling nauseous in the wrong way.
Resident Evil Village VR is essential for anyone thinking about getting PSVR2. With great controls, some inspired use of the Dual sense controller, and plenty of options for those that haven’t got their VR legs yet, it’s simply one of the best ways to play, one of the best games in the Resident Evil series. The best part of all of it though It’s free if you already own Resident Evil Village.