I felt so rushed trying to see everything within the half-hour time limit that it changed my playstyle, and not in a good way
Capcom didn’t make things simple with the new Resident Evil Village demo that can only be played for a certain amount of time on certain days and certain platforms. It’s enough to justify an explainer.
I’m not here to recap all of that nonsense again, but after playing the first slice of the demo on Saturday on my PS5 — a quick 30 minutes in the village area — I wanted to talk about the rollout. Will Capcom try this stunt again with another game, or is this a one-off experiment? Either way, it needs tweaks.
The whole “8 Hours in Village” branding only makes the demo schedule more confusing at a glance.
A bit of background. If you were in the right time and place on April 17, you could’ve spent half an hour with Resident Evil Village on a PS4 or PS5 during an early-access phase that lasted only eight hours.
I happened to be around, and I’m stoked for Village, so I pre-loaded the demo and was ready to go. Except when 5:00 p.m. Pacific rolled around, I didn’t immediately start playing — instead, I began watching someone else’s playthrough in a YouTube live stream. I wasn’t going to waste my demo!
As silly as that sounds, it felt warranted. By watching another playthrough, I knew to turn off ray tracing in the main menu (not in the pause menu!) so the game would run at 60 frames per second. I also learned the demo was cutscene-heavy, and that the timer didn’t stop during cutscenes. You can skip them to save time, and for several minor scenes, once I got the gist, I totally did. It felt bad.
Even with a spoiler-filled heads-up, I still ended up rushing through Village‘s, uh, “village demo.” I nearly missed an optional gun and a cool RE4-like boarded-up shack moment, but I made it to the end. For those of you who took your sweet time, the point of no return is a locked door leading to the castle.
If you run through the critical path, skip every scene, and don’t engage the enemies, you can clear the village demo in under four minutes. (I ended up doing this out of curiosity on a second attempt.)
Aside from a tense encounter with a pack of lycans lurking all around me in a thick field (a classic face-your-fears-head-on setup), the rest of the demo was all about 1) taking in the sights and 2) watching character-centric cutscenes. In other words, the time limit actively hindered my enjoyment. It was a constant distraction. I felt like I had to rush to find item pickups and couldn’t admire the atmosphere.
I’m no stranger to racing through Resident Evil — built-in speedrunning is one of my favorite parts of the series and a major reason to continually revisit it year after year — but as a first impression for an about-to-be-released upcoming game, this was the wrong choice. It was stressful in the wrong ways.
I need to remember to try Ethan’s kick move in the castle demo. The block was absurdly effective in Resident Evil 7, and I’m expecting the same in Village. Did you block in RE7? I feel like a ton of players didn’t.
Perhaps the 30-minute window will be a better fit for the second demo slice, the one set in the castle, assuming it’s more action-oriented. Knowing what I now know, when the next phase of the demo goes live on PS5 on April 24, I’m just going to play naturally; if I finish it, I finish it. If not, no big deal — I’ll watch a stream after the fact, or use a secondary account to get another 30 minutes of playtime.
If you miss the initial early-access demo(s) for whatever reason, you’ll get another shot — a full hour to spend in the village and/or castle — on May 1 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific; that goes for all platforms, not just PlayStation. Honestly though, if you can stand to wait and you want Resident Evil Village to hit as hard as possible, I’d recommend skipping this altogether. It’s not worth the hassle (but I think Maiden is).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad there is a pre-release demo for Village — I just hate jumping through these hoops. Restrict our playtime, or force everyone to play on a certain day if you must, but not both.