Resident Evil Village: release date, reviews roundup – and what time will the new game unlock on PS5 and Xbox?

A staple in the survival horror genre enters with yet another taste of zombie fun, this time centred in Europe

Capcom promise a 'relentless feeling of fear' which will 'increase with each desperate battle for survival' in the game (Image: Capcom)

The Resident Evil series celebrated its 25th anniversary in March, and to celebrate, it’s back once again with a brand new entry, the first on the new “next-gen” consoles.

The series established a brand-new genre of “survival horror” in the 90s, and since then, Resident Evil has saturated the globe and created fans even among those who have never played the games.

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The franchise is known for introducing some of video games’ most iconic characters, and has always tried new things as the series has progressed.

So what’s in store for players of Resident Evil Village?

Here is everything you need to know.

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What is Resident Evil Village?

Played from a first-person perspective, the immersive angle gives the series’ trademark horror an all encompassing, enveloping feeling (Photo: Capcom)

It’s an unwritten rule that video game naming conventions must be confusing and superfluous, and so it is with Resident Evil Village.

Despite the ‘VIIIage’ of its title being stylised to suggest the Roman numerals for the numbers eight – and despite it being a direct sequel to 2017’s Resident Evil 7 – Village is actually the tenth mainline instalment in the long-running and iconic series of horror games.

But let’s not get too bogged down in that.

All you need to know is that like Resident Evil 7, Village will be played from a first-person perspective, an immersive angle which gives the series’ trademark horror an all encompassing, enveloping feeling.

According to Capcom, the new title will utilise “next generation console technology will elevate the survival horror experience”, and “will showcase the most realistic and terrifying graphics to date.”

What happens in Resident Evil Village?

Taking place a few years after the events of Resident Evil 7, Village sees you once again playing as Ethan Winters who, along with his wife Mia, is living peacefully in a new location, free from his past nightmares.

Just as the couple are building their new life together, tragedy befalls them again when Chris Redfield – legendary hero from the Resident Evil series – horribly disrupts their life, leaving Ethan devastated and thrown into an entirely new nightmare.

Distraught and shattered, Ethan seeks to uncover the mysterious new horrors that plague a once peaceful village nestled within an isolated mountainous region of Europe.

"Throughout this terrifying journey, players will fight for every breath as they are hunted by vicious new enemies that have infested the snow-capped locale,” say Capcom, who promise a “relentless feeling of fear” which will “increase with each desperate battle for survival.”

What are reviews saying?

Unusually for a blockbuster game, the reviews embargo for Resident Evil Village lifted a couple of days ahead of the game’s release, meaning we can see if critics think it’s worth purchasing when it does become available.

So far, the critical consensus is looking good, with the game average out a score of around 84 on review aggregation website, Metacritic.

Gamespot called Village “an intelligent reintroduction of the best action elements of Resident Evil,” and said “though it captures some of the same things that made RE7 such a breath of fresh air”, the game “evolves to become its own unique creature.”

IGN said Resident Evil Village “picks different celebrated elements from the franchise throughout the years”, and “adapts them to the modern first-person view format.”

It’s “an adventure that explores different atmospheres and dimensions of interactive terror, alternating between action moments and total despair,” they said, and “it is the most complete RE ever.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian said the game’s action “careers superbly through spooky gothic castles and underground complexes where monsters and a bloodsucking femme fatale lie in wait.”

When can I play it?

Capcom have announced that Resident Evil Village will be released on Friday 7 May 2021.

It will be available for PC, PS4 and PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S consoles.

Players on older gaming machines will get to experience the game, albeit without the modern-day bells and whistles more advanced tech can deliver, like ray tracing and 4K visuals.

Those that do purchase the game for last-gen consoles will be able to upgrade to the more visually pleasing, next-gen version of the game when they make the jump absolutely free.

If you’ve already purchased the game digitally and have it pre-downloaded on your console ready to go, Capcom hasn't published an exact unlock time for Resident Evil Village, but the Xbox and PlayStation stores both say the game will be available at midnight EST on 7 May.

That means it will be playable in the UK from around 5am.

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