I have played the latest entry, Resident Evil Village, of the survival horror behemoth to death at this point. I am now firmly on the road to the platinum (and a teensy bit scared to touch the Village of Shadows difficulty). So I thought I’d impart some knowledge on how to get the most out of this wonderfully gothic horror experience. Here are a few tips on how to most effectively rescue your daughter, survive the titular village and maybe snag some bragworthy trophies along the way. Spoilers for various gameplay elements will follow, but nothing plot-related.
Tip 1 - Never Leave a Room Looking Red
There’s a completionist in all of us really, and doesn’t it just scream when you leave something unexplored or incomplete? My advice is to listen to that lovely impulse in the case of Village.
The map will very helpfully show you when you’ve explored a room to its fullest and nabbed all its loot by turning blue. If it’s still red, it means you’ve missed something. It can be indescribably frustrating sniffing around the same 4 by 4 cubic metre room for several hours desperately searching for a handful of bullets or a herb. So in these times of turmoil, don’t despair and tell yourself you’ll come back later. Instead, look at the walls and ceiling.
If you’re lucky, you might just see a telltale glint that’s just begging to be shot at. Doing so will reveal a tiny piece of treasure. This can be worth up to a whopping 10,000 Lei, so it’s well worth the extra effort cleaning out each room. That kind of money can mean the difference between buying up a much-needed damage upgrade and barreling on begrudgingly with subpar guns. Be vigilant for those elusive glints!
Tip 2 - Food is Your Friend
A little while into Resident Evil Village, you will start to come across various animals scattered around the village. While it feels pretty heartless to slaughter them where they stand, the meat you collect from them is invaluable. You will be given access to a few such animals before the Duke’s cooking menu is unlocked. So whatever you do, do NOT sell them! The petty cash you receive in exchange is not worth missing out on some sorely-needed upgrades later on in the game. Plus, those dishes sound pretty tasty, and I think poor suburban dad Ethan could probably do with a pick-me-up.
Some of these animals are relatively easy to miss. In some cases, you can’t go back for them once you’ve missed them. So make sure to keep an eye out for fish when travelling through water or some rogue chickens hiding behind fences. You’ll need every last morsel to get the upgrades to Ethan’s health, defence and movement speed.
There are also several unique animals in the game that will give you special meat needed for the beefiest upgrades. So keep your eyes peeled for photos that will let you know where to find them!
Tip 3 - Don’t Skimp on Ammo
In true Resident Evil fashion, you don’t exactly have bullets pouring out of your ears throughout Resident Evil Village. But at the same time, the gameplay style is much different to that of Biohazard. Ammo is more plentiful and can even be purchased in the shop. There are a larger variety of weapons you can use with a whole host of upgrades.
With each enemy you kill, a small item will be dropped as a reward. This can be anything ranging from a crafting component, some cash or even a valuable treasure. In any case, it’s more often than not worth the few shots it takes to kill your attacker. This is as long as you’re precise and controlled with your shots and not firing off blindly. If you keep this in mind, it can be more efficient to dispatch your enemies and reap the rewards, rather than ducking your tail between your legs to conserve every last bullet.
Go for headshots wherever you can (or insert other obvious glowing red weak point here when facing enemies in the Factory). This will ensure maximum damage with each shot you fire off and, with any luck, you’ll find yourself much better equipped than if you’d just run away from everything.
Tip 4 - Buy the Karambit Knife
This is more a tip for after your first playthrough of Resident Evil Village. The Karambit Knife is a brilliant piece of kit that is essential for subsequent playthroughs and trophy hunting. The knife appears in-game as an item only wielded by a certain second playable character. Luckily, it can be purchased in the game’s Extra Content Shop for use throughout the entire game using Village’s in-game currency: Completion Points. Don’t worry, these aren’t microtransactions. These points are earned by completing various challenges and you’ll likely find you’ve ticked off more than enough to buy the knife by the end of your first playthrough without even trying.
This knife is a powerhouse and does a considerable amount of damage compared to the piddly butterknife you would otherwise wield. This is especially important if you’re going for the Knives Out achievement, which tasks masochistic players with only using close combat weapons to fight their way through the game. A knife only run is effectively impossible with the basic knife unless you’re a prodigy at the game (in which case, why are you here?). And the game’s most powerful knife, the LZ Answerer lightsaber thingy, can only be unlocked by beating every Mercenaries stage on SS rank. That’s a pretty tall order as well, so it’s best to snag this knife instead if you’re going to attempt it.
Tip 5 - Backtrack Where Possible
Resident Evil Village is packed full of goodies for you to discover. Some of these, however, aren't available for you to access straight away. In a lot of cases, this will be clearly signposted to you via the discovery of a lockpick or a key item that helps you uncover one of the game's hidden treasures. Sometimes though, the game sprinkles items and encounters around in areas you've already explored and doesn't really give you any indication of it.
Make sure you're exploring every inch of Resident Evil Village each time you return to the village, even if you think you've already wringed out everything you can from a particular area. A lot of the time, you'll find that you've either missed something or Capcom has considered the eventuality of bravado-fuelled players ambling back into already conquered areas… and dropped something in to keep them on their toes.
In any case, if you want the best chance to buy up as much stuff as you can, backtracking helps to ensure you won't miss some valuable loot.
Bonus Tip - Don't Let Lady Dimitrescu Step on You
I know, it's a little tempting. But take it from me: Lady D is very clearly not interested in dating. If you let her near you, she's only going to stab you in the heart with her massive claws and I would like to emphatically state that is not a metaphor. Keep clear of this distinguished woman, as I can guarantee you that whatever pick up line you've thought of will not override her desire to drink your blood and/or eat your flesh.
Extra Bonus Tip - Play Resident Evil 4!
If you end up enjoying this fantastic game and want more like Resident Evil Village, I would majorly recommend picking up Resi 4 to all those who haven't already. Village takes a lot of cues from it, both in terms of its setting and gameplay mechanics. Resi 4 also takes on a vaguely gothic European setting, similar (and I'd argue more fleshed out) hidden treasure mechanics and a wacky story to keep you invested. Plus, the return of fan favourite character Leon Kennedy makes this a winner for fans both new and old.
For a game made in 2005 and only upscaled slightly for newer hardware, it hasn't aged badly at all. So if you'd like some more Resident Evil in the direction of lots of different guns and an inventory management system, I'd heartily recommend picking this up too. I'd also challenge you not to get slightly addicted to collecting all the virtual figures in the shooting range. I definitely fell victim to that.
Those are my tips on how to best survive your trip to Resident Evil Village! Enjoy being terrified, and don't forget to take in the scenery.