Resident Evil Village PSVR 2 mode is stunning but flawed
When you’re watching a horror film or playing a scary game, there’s always the safety blanket of knowing that it’s just on that big TV screen in front of you. No matter how horrid the imagery, how deviant the killer, they can’t jump out of the screen and attack you. It’s a comfort, but what happens when you take that security blanket away? Well in short, it’s bloody terrifying.
The free Resident Evil Village PSVR 2 upgrade takes the whole game and lets you play it in virtual reality. There’s no safety blankets here!
First impressions are amazing. Resident Evil Village looks superb when playing in PSVR 2, second only to Horizon Call of the Mountain in terms of new generation wow factor. You can almost feel the cold as you trudge through the snow, or the dampness of the dark log cabins, and being completely surrounded by this setting adds so much tension to the game.
While the VR is great, having it paired with 3D audio through the attached earbuds really brings the game alive. With these plugged in you are completely cut off from the real world and every roar from behind a tree gets your heart racing. The opening section of the game as your trudge through an almost pitch black forest with things screaming in the dark is incredibly intense, so much so that I had to have an hour’s break afterwards just to calm down.
With the eerie music gradually building in the background, things going bump in the night. and jump scares, it feels like being strapped on the down section of a roller-coaster for a good ten minutes. Thankfully things become a little less intense the further you play but, as the warning suggests at the start of the game, you are really going to need to take sensible breaks while playing.
There’s a short tutorial before you get into the game which explains most of how playing in VR works, including the motion controls needed to load weapons and cock them before firing. While this is in a fair few shooting VR games, it’s still quite complex, so there is an assist mode if you don’t want to fumble about trying to grab ammo from your pouch during a fight. If the enemies get a bit too close, then the knife is now stored on your left arm and can be quickly unsheathed, and if all else fails you can always punch a werewolf in the chops.
A selection of VR motion modes are available all of which can be tailored to your preferences, but there is no teleport option, if that’s your generally preferred method. I did find the button layout rather fiddly and kept on accidentally jumping into the pause menu in the more frantic fights.
It’s generally very good, but it also sometimes shows that Resident Evil Village wasn’t a game designed specifically for VR. The game often throws you to the ground which is very disorientating, especially if you’re playing in standing mode, and you also lose control during certain key events and the game moves your character around for you. I don’t suffer from motion sickness in VR games, but I still found these sections to be quite stomach churning.
The tutorial also doesn’t explain all of the controls. How you retrieve a health pack from your backpack is only explained right in the middle of the first big fight when you are about to die – this is very annoying timing. The inventory also takes a little trial and error to master and could have done with being included in the tutorial, and storing health, the map and shotgun on your back often leads to you grabbing the wrong item, even if you decide what’s been placed where.
It would have also been really nice to have some haptic feedback when you land a blow with the knife. The collision detection seems dodgy at best and stabbing an enemy sometimes results in a hit but quite often they don’t react.
There’s a lot to love about Resident Evil Village on PlayStation VR2, and it’s certainly a showcase for the audio and visuals, but it does suffer from not being built specifically for VR.