March 30, 2023

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Resident Evil Village tech review: Capcom transitions beautifully to next-gen

Resident Evil Village has arrived and while the various demos over the last few weeks gave us a chance to sample the technology, we’ve now played through the entire game and have had a chance to fully process it. As a sequel to Resident Evil 7, this game retains the first-person perspective but with some key improvements. It’s also a remarkable showcase for the excellent RE Engine, with image quality, performance and ray tracing enhancements for the next generation of consoles combined with a dramatic boost in scale and scene complexity across the board.

This is what stands out the most to my eye – every scene feels carefully pieced together in a beautiful marriage of art and technology. Yes, the RE Engine powers the game but it’s the art team within Capcom that really steals the show. All areas are carefully crafted with an eye towards overall scene composition above all else. In exterior scenes, the distant background lends the world a sense of scale, mid-field objects are placed in a way to connect the background to the foreground and that foreground is packed with fine detail.

There’s also the sense that every surface is bespoke, with a huge variety in texture detail. Capcom’s latest does a great job of delivering both an exceptional sense of scale but also near-field detail. Every angle of every frame feels fully considered which is quite a feat given the first-person, exploratory nature of the game. The only catch? Actual texture detail at close-up range can disappoint, but juxtaposed against RE7, I still feel there’s a significant improvement overall. As a first-person game then, another key element is body awareness – essentially, how well the camera and virtual body work in tandem. If the act of moving and shooting feels poor, the illusion can fall apart. In that sense, I feel Capcom has done an excellent job – from the gentle bobbing of the camera to swaying of your pistol, basic movement looks and feels excellent. Look down and you’ll see your feet: the player shadow is projected from this model which you control. It’s especially effective when standing within an area that’s lit volumetrically.

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