Resident Evil Village and Resident Evil 4 Remake are the latest mainline releases from the venerated, and venerable, Resident Evil franchise. Village, and RE4R is a 2023 launch, bringing an 18-years-old classic up to the speed and power of modern hardware.
The vast time gap between them (and their storylines) means there are many, many differences between them. However, there are also a few similarities, which probably aren’t accidental, given 4’s status as one of the best entries in the franchise.
Let’s start with the basic premise of each game.
Resident Evil 4
RE4 keeps action focused on Leon S. Kennedy, previously seen having a terrible first day on police duty in zombie-overrun Raccoon City. Now, a few years later, he’s sent to a charming village in rural Spain to rescue the daughter of US president from a weird cult using mind-controlling parasites on the local population.
Of course, this low-key beginning is only the first drop of a wild rollercoaster ride leading up to an explosive finale, which is great for video games, and terrible for rollercoasters.
Resident Evil Village
A sequel to Resident Evil 7, RE Village brings back Ethan Winters, whose lovely life in Eastern Europe got violently interrupted, with his wife dead and his daughter kidnapped. Now Ethan has to visit the titular village, which is controlled by a bunch of weird mutated “Lords” (AKA “future bosses to confront”) and housing a lot of very unfriendly villagers.
Although the specific course of each game’s plot is obviously different, both games saw the potential of putting their plot in a remote European village, even if one is in Spain and the other in the unspecified mountainous part of Eastern Europe. Both also have a story connection or two linking them to previous installments, including Village’s substantial involvement of Chris Redfield in kicking the plot off with a bang.
Resident Evil 4, and its Remake for that matter, are a decisive departure from the survival horror gameplay of the three predecessors.
Leon is prepared for trouble, which means a lot more exciting third-person action, with a lot more ammo to spare, and tighter gunplay to make fewer shots go to waste due to panicked firing. Which is good, actually, because the villagers aren’t shambling zeds, they are fast, and, worst of all, armed. Usually with farming implements, but that’s nasty stuff to be killed by.
The inventory is still limited, though, so it’s not advised to go goblin mode on everything you find.
Resident Evil Village takes a completely different approach. It goes all in on the horror, and uses the first-person perspective to put you in Ethan’s shoes both figuratively and functionally. Since his debut in RE7 Ethan has improved his weapons skills, which serves him well in the Village.
The game also takes a page from RE4 playbook by allowing Ethan to use haphazard barricades to stall the violent and agile Lycans. And interesting quirk of gameplay is that Ethan can hunt animals and deliver then to a friendly NPC called Duke to receive meals providing temporary buffs. Given the kinds of weird nightmares living in the village, they are going to come in handy.
Fast and nefarious
Despite the different camera perspectives, RE4 and RE Village share some similarities. Using quick, armed enemies instead of slower foes is a crucial one, and it nudged the playstyle away from horror and closer to action.
Help from odd places
There’s also the unmistakable presence of a weird, yet oddly friendly NPC happy to sell you stuff. In RE4 it was the Merchant, a shady, but nice fellow in a completely non-suspicious coat, while the Village has the rotund Duke, lounging in the least expected places and generally happy to help Ethan out with more than just supplies and weapon mods.
What are you buyin’?
In the end, we won’t resolve the Resident Evil 4 Remake vs Village dilemma for you. Both are excellent, thrilling games, and with the RE4 Remake you don’t even need to worry about having to cope with outdated graphics. It’s all looking fantastic.
So, what’s your pick? Dismantling a cult in rural Spain to save the president’s daughter from third-person perspective, or a trip to Eastern Europe to save your own in disturbingly immersive FPP?