We at OGN were thrilled when Capcom launched the eighth entry in its iconic Resident Evil series in April, and ever since then, we’ve been playing nonstop, probing each mystery and destroying every Lycan that crossed our path. And while it may strive to be a worthy entry in the canon, Resident Evil Village unfortunately fails due to one of the biggest gaffes we’ve seen in ages: namely that it actually features more of a town than a village if you want to get technical about it.
Yikes, we’re not sure how they messed up this one!
Obviously, as diehard survival-horror fans, our hopes were sky-high when we booted up the game and walked into what appeared to be a suitably dense settlement containing fewer than one thousand residents. It was something that might be described as akin to a hamlet. But we couldn’t help cringing as we explored further and discovered that the game contains numerous buildings across a wide parcel of land and a population density that clearly pushed us into the realm of a town or township.
Most confusing of all, the game features four distinct mutant lords, which suggests a level of sophisticated municipal governance that far outstrips the classification of an unincorporated community. The only possible explanation we could come up with is that the “village” referred to in the game’s title is one smaller part of town with its own vibe and character, such as Castle Dimitrescu or House Beneviento, but we’re really just stretching at this point to give Capcom the benefit of the doubt.
At this point, we put aside our controller and picked up a copy of Randall Arendt’s seminal text Rural By Design: Planning For Town And Country Second Edition to see if Capcom had at least accurately modeled infilling, town center strengthening, and population density for a settlement of this size. Unfortunately, here, the classification of the game’s setting as a “village” enters into the realm of absurdity, especially given the significant number of what appear to be ADUs in the form of dilapidated shacks and huts.
Frankly, reader, this is where we began to lose our cool. Does town planning mean nothing to Capcom? Did they not even think to consult someone who could describe the way settlement hierarchies dramatically affect a municipal government’s decision-making? Or is this all one big goddamned joke to them?
As we entered the game’s final stages, our frustration at the game’s slipshod understanding of land use boiled over, and we lost all interest in Ethan Winters’ attempt to save his family from the grasps of the sinister Umbrella Corporation. Honestly, we began to hope that all the so-called “village” residents die from poor allocation of resources thanks to the idiocy of how they classified their town. And it would be great if everyone at Capcom died along with them.
Ultimately, while the game might seamlessly blend world-class horror and pulse-pounding action, its flimsy commitment to rural planning nomenclature means anyone with even a passing knowledge of the field is going to be continually frustrated trying to follow Ethan Winters’ narrative.