Is there such a thing as too spooky?
Resident Evil Village came, did pretty well for itself, got some DLC, and went. Well, it’s back now! The newest mainline RE entry is back in VR form, provided that you have a PlayStation VR 2. Hey, we do! Let’s dive into what makes this VR version tick and if it’s worth buying into, or loading back up.
How to play Resident Evil Village in VR, and what the VR version actually entails
You can access the free DLC here or on the PS5 dashboard (where it’s listed as “Resident Evil Village VR mode”) and it requires a roughly 800MB download. You also need a PlayStation VR 2 headset to play (the old model won’t cut it). The DLC patches in an alternative mode to play RE Village when booting it up: and this is a separate mode, mind, with its own save data, trophies, and bonuses.
The full story mode is playable in this VR update. As Capcom puts, it: “The DLC supports the full story campaign following Ethan Winters’ harrowing journey to rescue Rose, his kidnapped daughter.”
Resident Evil Village VR comfort settings/options
Years back, VR gaming started out with a lack of accessibility options (on both ends of the comfort spectrum), but around 2019, things started to get a little more universally codified. Now, there’s a wide range of options to help curb motion sickness, or jack up the game into a near 1:1 recreation of the original (with full smooth turning and everything)
Like many modern AAA VR releases, RE Village VR has a lot of tweaks and toggles:
- The ability to play sitting or standing
- Camera speed
- Smooth (read: regular first-person shooter) or snap (instant) turning
- The ability to turn the “tunnel” (black bar) comfort effect on or off
- Dominant hand and dominant eye swapping
- Aim assist
- Laser/reticle color changes
- Subtitle toggling (for immersion)
What the tutorial/VR controls are like
RE Village VR uses the tried and true “grab stuff intuitively from behind your back/your holster” control method: which still works like a charm (if it ain’t broke and doesn’t cost a ton more VR R&D money!). You’ll learn this through a brand new VR control tutorial, which only takes around 10 minutes, and gets the job done (and then some).
There’s shoulder grabbing for bigger weapons like shotguns, your pistol is on your hip, the knife is on a strap on your wrist: but Village takes things one step further by cramming stuff into your jacket (you need to grab and open either side for specific items). Basically everything is mapped to some some of control option on Ethan’s person, including an in-game item map (instead of a menu) that defaults to your back left pocket. First aid is administered by grabbing a bottle from behind your left shoulder, popping the cap off with a button press, then pouring it over your body. Dual-wielding is possible, and double pistols is especially viable. Using the knife and putting your hands up to block (and holding the triggers and swinging forward to punch) is similarly responsive and easy to learn. Big bonus points to the development team for allowing you to break glass with your fists instead of pulling out the knife each time!
The only hang-up I have at the moment is the requirement to hold your pistol with both hands for better aim: it’s a tad finnicky in terms of getting the pathing right (and not clinking the controllers into each other). I haven’t had any similar issues with any other items or weapons so far.
So how is Resident Evil Village in VR? Pretty great
As we mentioned above, RE Village VR is a completely separate mode. You’ll need to start over from the beginning (works for me!) and you can thankfully skip cutscenes if you’ve seen them already (which are viewable in VR format, or the traditional “movie theater screen” presentation via a pause menu toggle). It also has its own set of “VR Mode Challenges,” like finding and shooting the main Goats of Warding collectibles for merchant rewards: plus, you can swap back to the original mode from the main menu if you’re getting freaked out. And you’ll likely get freaked out at least once!
Yeah, I experienced the gamut of VR scares:
- Despite checking behind me (twice) and barricading the windows in a building, an enemy snuck up on me and basically yelled in my ear with 3D audio jacked up
- Spooky directional noises freaking me out while wandering the woods in the beginning, weapon-less
- Almost getting shot in the face with a shotgun by that old man that I knew was coming
Capcom as a whole has learned a lot since the original VR version of Resident Evil 7, and the two new PSVR 2 Sense controllers already do a lot of the heavy lifting. When it comes to VR, it’s the little things, right? Opening an old timey door latch realistically (by pulling it up, then horizontally) tacks on just a little bit of fun to VR, and it really adds up. Every reload action in the middle of a fight, and the reflexes inherent to that motion: a lot of it is a brand new skill curve that you’ll need to master, like riding a bike for the first time.
You also get….Resident Evil Village. Suffice to say I won’t spoil anything here as I’m sure a lot of folks are visiting the titular village for the first time in VR; but there’s a lot to explore, uncover, and get spooked by. VR mode really adds to the atmosphere of the game, and heightens the tension and scares that I felt were lacking at times in the original release. I’m psyched to play through the entirety of Resident Evil Village again in VR: currently, I’m making my way through Lady Dimitrescu’s castle. Yes, she’s very tall.
It’s been just the right amount of time for a full replay anyway, and with VR perks in tow, it’s like I’m playing it with a fresh set of eyes. I hope every Resident Evil game from here on out has VR support, because it’s a great long term value add. At this point you kind of know that if you’re buying into an RE project, there’s something cool coming down the line. I can get behind that!