Resident Evil 8 Village PSVR 2 Review – Stunning and immersive

The following installment, Resident Evil Village, was originally released for PC and consoles in 2021. In February 2023, Capcom released a new VR mode for the game on PS5, adding support for PlayStation VR2. While Village is still clearly a game first developed for flatscreen platforms, it’s still an absolute thrill to play on PSVR 2. Capcom finds a balance that stays true to the original version while appropriately adapting to virtual reality.

It takes a village…

Village is the second Resident Evil game based on first-person gameplay and features frequent in-game cutscenes. These play out as scripted events in which the player is stripped of control as cinematic sequences play out while maintaining a first-person camera from Ethan’s perspective.

These scripted events are frequent, ranging from small moments to grand spectacles. They can be as simple as Ethan pushing open a door, or as complex as an enemy knocking you to the ground and dragging you through the Gothic hallways of Dimitrescu Castle. These moments were clearly designed around flat screen gameplay, so bringing them to VR is a challenge.

By default, all scripted events play out from Ethan’s point of view in fully immersive VR. This means that Ethan moves his hands, body, and direction without input from the player and can be flung around or suddenly moved by enemies and changes in the environment.

It’s an intense offering in terms of comfort – especially for gamers who are prone to motion sickness in VR. Games designed primarily for VR will often go to great lengths to avoid these kinds of drastic artificial movements, but you wouldn’t get around it in Village without making major changes to the overall experience. It’s a similar puzzle to Resident Evil 4 on Quest, and similarly, Village also gives you the option of viewing its common scripted events on a 2D screen for convenience.

While the 2D option is nice to have, the scripted events are some of the best and most dramatic parts of Resident Evil Village. If you can take it, it’s worth sticking with the default immersive view. It’s not always perfect – there are some frustrating bugs with how the game directs the player’s gaze and orientation – but it’s worth it. Village will bring you some of the most mind-blowing, indescribable moments that will make you feel fully part of its terrifying world.

READ :  Amdocs Announces Industry’s First 5G-Native Charging Solution, Providing Flexibility Across Both IT and Network

Bring a bang to PSVR 2

Everything else about Village’s approach to VR is an absolute delight. After playing an hour or two on PS5 in 2021, I really came back to the game on PSVR 2 last week and finished completely blown away. There’s a level of detail and scale I haven’t experienced since Half-Life: Alyx. Every inch of Village’s design – from the environments to the sound to the gameplay itself – feels well thought out and thought through.

Visually, Resident Evil Village is stunning. The detail and fidelity of the original flatscreen version means the game immediately catches the eye when brought to life on a VR headset. Compared to the graphics of most standalone VR releases over the last three years, that’s a stark and shocking leap (although totally understandable considering PS5 can deliver a lot more power than a mobile chipset).

It also helps that Village has a delicious art style that oozes atmosphere. Every corner of the game is unique and interesting to explore, with buildings that both feel rooted in real architectural design and feel utterly fantastic at the same time. Village never gets boring, even if you just go from one place to another.

The gameplay itself doesn’t disappoint either, making this the third Resident Evil port to feel at home in VR despite never being originally developed for the medium. Village’s pacing is a big factor in why it works so well in a headset. The campaign has ebbs and flows, expertly navigating between exploration, high and low voltage moments, environmental puzzles, suspenseful combat, and genuinely terrifying horror sequences.

Exploring the Village

As Ethan, you navigate the environment using artificial stick-based movements (there’s no teleport option) and pick up items with the grab or X button, with a flat-screen inventory menu that translates well to VR. They spend a lot of time collecting items to process into ammo, unlock new areas, or sell them to the Duke, the game’s merchant, in exchange for upgrades.

READ :  Apple bets on see-through AR, layoffs hit HoloLens, fashion start-up Metaverse raises $6 million

Village is by far one of the most cinematic VR shooters since Half-Life: Alyx. Not only does the game look fantastic throughout, but the weapons feel responsive and impactful. Every shot has weight and consequences, with combat gradually picking up the pace in a way that lends itself perfectly to VR. The enemies in Village feel less like scripted robots and more like real animals with distinct thought processes and patterns.

Throughout the campaign, you’ll gradually unlock weapons to be used in a revamped combat and itemization system designed for VR. All weapons must be manually reloaded and primed before firing and can be stowed on the body – shotgun over shoulder, sniper on right rear, pistol on right hip and ammo on left. Other items such as pipe bombs, mines and your flashlight are available on the inside of Ethan’s jacket. It’s a fantastic system that feels natural even in the heat of intense combat. There’s so much satisfaction in slinging your shotgun or unzipping your jacket to grab a pipe bomb.

The game punctuates combat with some of the most mind-blowing, epic, spooky, and terrifying sequences you’ve ever seen in VR. Without delving into spoiler territory, some of the campaign’s biggest moments are complete spectacle, viewable in a headset, and displaying a grandeur rarely seen in virtual reality releases.

A fantastic campaign for PSVR 2

Campaign length depends on what difficulty you choose and whether you focus solely on the story or scour every nook and cranny for treasure. Playing on easy difficulty and sticking with the story lasted just under seven hours, but I can easily imagine it taking 10+ hours for those looking to explore or play on higher difficulties.

No matter what difficulty you choose, Village offers a fantastic narrative campaign that’s the perfect blend of horror and action. This is VR horror done right, focusing on terrifying monsters and bursts of high-tension moments rather than cheap and repetitive horrors. It’s enough to make your skin tingle, but rarely so tiring that you can’t take a little more. Those who have played the game before can imagine how scary House Beneviento’s basement sequence will be when played in VR.

READ :  Nanome Enables Scientific Breakthroughs on the New Meta Quest Pro

Village is also a fantastic showcase of PSVR 2’s best features. The OLED screen with HDR makes a huge difference in a game like this, offering deep blacks that really add to the excitement and sense of presence in dimly lit scenes. The game also runs at 120Hz in PSVR 2’s 60fps reprojection mode. While this can sometimes introduce minor blurring, especially when looking at moving character models up close, it’s largely forgettable and some might not even notice.

The Sense controllers make good use of haptics and adaptive variable resistance triggers for weapons. Likewise, the haptics of the headset are used superbly to convey epic moments or literally harrowing action. It all works in tandem with the awesome sound design and 3D audio that lets you pinpoint an enemy’s direction before you even see them.

Reident Evil 8 Review – Comfort

Resident Evil Village uses an artificial movement system and takes the player through scripted sequences with intense movement, but also includes many comfort options. Vignetting is enabled by default for sprinting and fast movements, with adjustable intensity settings from low to high. There are also adjustment options for snap and smooth rotation.

As someone who often gets nauseous playing with artificial motion, I found Resident Evil Village to be a surprisingly enjoyable experience. Despite the intensity of the action, I rarely felt uncomfortable during my seven hours of gameplay. It’s hard to say exactly why, but it could be the game’s penchant for enclosed spaces or the fact that it runs at 120Hz (a higher frame rate than most other VR experiences, especially on standalone systems). However, everyone is different and your comfort level may vary.