You won’t be getting a warm welcome when you arrive — or rather, when Ethan Winters arrives — in the titular village in Resident Evil Village. Not unless you count being attacked by werewolves as a warm welcome, that is. In the direct follow-up to Resident Evil 7, you are once again thrust into a harrowing, horrifying, and deadly quest through a European environment in search of your kidnapped daughter. You’ll be playing in the first-person perspective once again, meaning all the monsters stalking you will be more terrifying than ever.
Even for longtime fans of the series, the threats you will be facing in Resident Evil Village are unlike any other featured in the franchise’s impressive cast of ghouls, mutants, and beasts. You will have a few familiar tools and mechanics, but this latest entry in the long-standing survival horror franchise mixes things up in ways you won’t be expecting. There are plenty of surprises in store for you in this new setting, and most of them will be unpleasant. Before you head out in pursuit of Lady D and the other denizens of this gothic village, check out these essential tips for getting started in Resident Evil Village.
The Resident Evil franchise has been the pioneer of the survival horror genre basically since its first entry, and Resident Evil Village certainly retains those survival elements. Though more action focused than Resident Evil 7, for example, the game still forces you to scrounge the environments for every bullet, shell, treasure, and healing item you can get your hands on. This isn’t a game where you can just run from point to point without stopping to search for supplies and expect to make it through. A lot of items can be hidden quite well, including in the ceiling that you need to shoot down, so don’t just limit yourself to what you see at eye level.
More than just scraping every location you pass through, you will also want to backtrack to previously explored areas when given the chance. The village area of the game acts as a kind of hub that you will return to between segments of the game, and on each return trip you will almost certainly have picked up some item or key that will let you access areas in the village you previously couldn’t. Just don’t get too complacent during these quieter moments. Sometimes exploring will lead to some dangerous encounters you weren’t expecting.
Also bear in mind that you only get one chance to explore certain areas in the game. You can’t actually miss any critical items, of course, but it always pays to be overprepared rather than wishing you could go back and maybe find a few extra bullets.
If you’ve played either of the recent remakes of Resident Evil 2 or 3 then the map system used in Resident Evil Village will be second nature to you. If not, all you need to know is that your map is your best friend. In survival horror games, not just the Resident Evil series, the map is arguably more valuable than any weapon you get. This genre, more than any other, makes your map as useful as possible by updating itself as you progress through the game, such as marking locked doors, blocked paths, or points of interest you will revisit later. In Resident Evil Village, the map does just about all of these things, plus it uses a handy color-coding system to let you know when and where you missed an item.
When checking your map, pay attention to what color each room is filled in with. If a room is blue, you can move on, confident that you’ve collected everything inside. But if its red, then there’s more to discover. This is another great way to remind yourself to examine above you for extra hidden treasures, especially when you know you’ve searched everywhere else and the room is still red. Rooms can also stay red if there are things like chests or locked doors that you can’t open quite yet. Thankfully the map will mark these for you with specific icons so you can easily be reminded at a glance where you need to backtrack to.
Finally, to tie up this resource-focused segment, don’t go crazy with your items. If you don’t have a clear shot, don’t just unload all your previous ammo, and always do your best to heal only when your health is critically low. While you can purchase more items like bullets from the Duke, the game’s merchant, there are far more useful things you will want to be saving your money for. Play stingy, hoard everything you can, and you might just make it out alive.
A great example of how to conserve resources is to use your knife. Yes, it is the weakest weapon you get and almost never the best choice in a fight, but that makes it perfect for smashing objects in the environment instead of wasting a bullet. It won’t always work, but hey, knives never run out of ammo so feel free to slash away.
Lady D has dominated the marketing for Resident Evil Village and acts as this game’s version of Mr. X or Nemesis in that she will eventually be a persistent enemy stalking you in certain locations. Unlike Nemesis, there’s nothing to be gained by attempting to face her or her daughters, who function similarly, during these segments. You won’t be able to take her down, but she can certainly end your life in a flash or at least waste valuable resources if you attempt to fight her. Save yourself ammo, health, and time by running or hiding if you ever get yourself cornered.
Duke is the new merchant for Resident Evil Village, and you’ll be encountering him many times throughout your journey. Of course his main function will be to buy, sell, and upgrade, but he’s actually useful for more than that. If you’re invested in the story, make sure you chat with him every time you find him in a new location. Somehow, he will almost always have some important plot or story information that can shed some light on or at least give you some clues as to what is happening with your daughter and Mia.
Next, prioritize upgrading your inventory space with Duke. Calling back to the oddly satisfying attache case inventory system of Resident Evil 4, you will have a grid of space in which you need to manage most of your items, including weapons. If you don’t expand when you can, you’ll end up leaving some good stuff behind because you just can’t hold it all, and the last thing you want is to be forced to leave a gun behind because it’s just too large to fit.
The last tip regarding Duke relates to the treasures. As if there weren’t enough callbacks to Resident Evil 4, treasures you find in Village can either be sold as they are or combined with other treasures you pick up to vastly increase their value. These treasures are described as such in your inventory, so never sell one that says you can combine it before it is fully complete to maximize your profits. That extra cash could save your life.
Your standard weapons will do fine for the early part of the game, but eventually you’ll feel the need for a bit more punch with your arsenal. Duke allows you to upgrade your favorite weapons to be more powerful, hold more ammo, reload faster, and things of that nature. Aside from buying inventory upgrades, these weapon upgrades should be your main investment. Just try and narrow down your upgrades to one or two favorite guns you rely on most. There are way too many guns to max them all out in a single playthrough, but if you do upgrade one to the max, you unlock a version of that gun with infinite ammo you can use when starting New Game+.
It should come as no surprise that Duke is, let’s say, fond of a good meal. The merchant is so infatuated with food that he will offer permanent stat boosts if you bring him different meats that he can make into special meals for himself. While that would sound like a complete waste of time in most other games, you should absolutely spend some time hunting the local animals from time to time. Not only is it a nice breather from the more intense action and horror of the main plot, but the upgrades you get on top of it are quite decent.
The upgrades you can get improve your speed, max health, and how effective your block is. None are bad, but speed and max health seem far more valuable since we didn’t tend to use the block all that much. Each recipe, which you can see by going to the Duke’s Kitchen tab when speaking to him, will list all the ingredients you need, such as meat, poultry, and fish. You’ll see icons on the map to help you hunt each type down.
These meats do take up your inventory space as you collect them, but there is a bit of a trick you can use to get around this. If you are running low on space, or just can’t finish a recipe you want, you can still deposit all the ingredients you do have into that menu. Even though the recipe won’t be completed, the ingredients will come out of your inventory and sit in the partially finished recipe until you come back later with the rest to finish it off.
We can appreciate Duke for all the reasons listed above, but his stock of ammo and healing items are a complete waste of money. Any Resident Evil fan will be familiar with crafting your own ammo and healing tools or just scavenging them from the environment, and this remains true in Village. You’ll be picking up components all the time that you can use to make your very own ammo and health, so don’t just sit on these materials. They’re not good for anything else, and crafting is as simple as combining the right components in your inventory screen.
We couldn’t do a list of essential tips for a Resident Evil game without going over some combat tactics, could we? While you’re not going up against zombies in Resident Evil Village, a shot to the head is still plenty effective against the werewolf enemy types you’ll be encountering. Unlike zombies, however, these enemies are typically a lot more mobile and agile than a brain-dead corpse lumbering directly toward you. If you can’t get a good shot lined up on a fast approaching foe’s head, a shot to the legs is a great way to temporarily stop them while you line up a more damaging, or hopefully lethal, shot to the dome.
If we can make one more comparison to Resident Evil 4, the enemies in Village are also intelligent enough to come at you with some weapons, just like the villagers in the previous game. To avoid taking an ax to the chest, shoot an arm or the weapon itself to stagger and disarm an enemy. Not only does this make them far less dangerous, but it is also another great way to stop them momentarily so you can hit them in their weak point.
While Resident Evil Village is a bit more action heavy than the previous game, it is far from the levels seen in, say, 6 or even 5. There are times here where the best course of action is to avoid combat altogether and just make a run for it. We already pointed out that it’s pointless to try and fight Lady D and her daughters outside of their actual boss encounters, but there are actually quite a lot of regular enemies roaming around that can seriously drain your resources if you attempt to fight each and every one. The enemies may be quick, but Ethan is no slouch either, and more often than not, you can hoof it out of their agro range or to a safe room without taking much, or any, damage.
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