Another week, another demo for Resident Evil Village. Which, coincidentally enough, also marks just over a week away from the full launch. Last week, we gave you a rundown of the Village demo. What follows is my impressions of the Castle demo, which focuses more on combat and the Castle’s terrifying enemies, but also features some light exploration. Based on these two demos, the full game is definitely shaping up to be quite the experience and we’re hoping it really delivers the same impact as Resident Evil 7 before it.
Once again, you take control of Ethan Winters as he continues the search for his missing daughter, Rose. This time, his search takes him to Castle Dimitrescu, where untold horrors await him.
As the demo starts, Ethan awakes to find himself alone in a room lit up by the crackling flames in a fireplace. After leaving this room, he ends up in a similar room, but with a locked door barring his way. Seeing no obvious way out, he decides to check the dormant fireplace, revealing a tunnel which leads to a passage with a hidden door. Removing a ring from this door opens it and finally allows you to explore the castle a bit.
Some items can be found in the immediate area – no key items, per sé, but there is some gunpowder (which can be used to craft ammo once you find some more of it). This area leads into a large foyer with a staircase, giving you an opportunity to explore even more of the castle. As you enter the foyer, four statues emerge from the floor. These seem to be part of a puzzle but, unfortunately, they don’t seem to play a part in the demo build outside of making an appearance.
Entering the door directly across from where you entered will introduce you to The Duke, who appears to be the merchant of Resident Evil Village. Ethan seems to have met him before, but is also surprised to find him here in the castle. The Duke will take any valuable items off your hands in exchange for Lei, the game’s currency. This can then be used to purchase a myriad of items, ranging from consumable first aid to permanent weapon upgrades. Based on my experience with the enemies in the Village demo, I decided to buy a shotgun and some shells as a precaution. There’s another puzzle in this room in the form of a model of a castle – possibly the exact one we’re exploring – but this also can’t be solved within the confines of the demo.
What follows, is a number of rooms containing items to collect and also some to examine. It isn’t until you reach a strange door with a missing maroon eye that things start to ramp up. As soon as you enter the door, Ethan is attacked by what appears to be a swarm of hornets. They aren’t just any hornets though, since they dig under his skin and burst out through his hand. It’s rather gruesome to say the least. This swarm seems to be controlled by Cassandra, who makes an appearance and will stalk towards you in an attempt to grab you. You can’t really damage her, but a shotgun blast will disperse the swarm, giving you a chance to escape.
Continuing further past the strange door will reveal a secret alcove, which will result in you falling down a shaft that seems to lead to passage within the castle. Following it will take you to yet another fireplace, giving you a glimpse of the towering Lady Dimitescu! She doesn’t stick around long though and leaves the room she’s in, locking the door behind her. Saw the big vampire lady: check!
Following the only path out of this room ultimately leads to the castle’s dungeon. So, out of the frying pan and into the fire eh? The dungeon is about as pleasant as it sounds; there are a number of gloomy cells, which you can enter in order to find some items and a note about some of the inhabitants. This is the stage of the demo’s biggest combat section as you’ll encounter the, for lack of the better word, things that live down here. I couldn’t tell if these were ghouls or some kind of rejected vampire, but they were hostile and also in my way.
These enemies are not as fast as the werewolves in the Village demo, but they were possibly tougher. Being attacked by three of them at the same time was scary – each taking approximately three shotgun rounds to the head was what terrified me most. Also, just when you thought that you were safe (and expending most of your ammo) you’re ambushed by what appeared to be another three enemies. There may have been three, I don’t know, as I decided to run for the nearest exit. This was definitely the most combat-heavy part of the demo, but funnily enough, also incredibly terrifying. My adrenaline was pumping after this segment!
Yet again, I thought I was safe, but to no avail. Making my way out of the dungeon and up some stairs, I ran straight into Bela, who was also accompanied by a swarm of what appeared to be hornets. Knowing that I couldn’t damage her, I opted for a hasty retreat. However, I wasn’t able to run for very long as I reached a half-barricaded door, which Bela pushed me through and then pounced on me. As she moves her face close to Ethan’s the screen cuts to black, bringing the demo to a close.
Completing the demo just after the 17-minute mark, this one was much shorter than the earlier Village demo, which I completed with just 3 minutes to spare. However, despite its brevity, the Castle demo definitely felt like it had a lot more going on in terms of action being thrown at the player. This, combined with the eerie atmosphere from what we played in the Village demo, should make for a nice blend of gameplay.
If you’d like to check out a playthrough of the Castle demo from start to finish, check out our video below:
Resident Evil Village launches on all platforms – Xbox One/Xbox Series/PlayStation 4/PlayStation 5/PC – on 7th May 2021.