I knew it was a stunt as soon as I saw it, and yet it worked perfectly on me – Lady Dimitrescu in her eight-foot VR glory, towering over me as her vampiric daughters danced nearby.
It’s the logical conclusion to the legacy of Resident Evil Village, which rose to fame in part through its “very great lady vampire,” and a fun start to the PlayStation VR 2 life cycle. What better way to promote your high-end VR device than to bring gamers face-to-face with Lady D herself?
The demo was part of Capcom’s Tokyo Game Show 2022 event – the same one that was shown as part of Sony’s PSVR 2. .
But Lady Dimitrescu is the star.
She looks at you first, taking a sip of your blood as she does, then hooks you onto a pair of meat hooks for additional disgusting VR footage. All the while, she’s basically right in your face, constantly making you realize that she is very, very tall indeed. Huge, even.
It’s made all the more impressive by PSVR’s 4K OLED displays, which are some of the cleanest you’ll find on any VR headset. IGN Tech editor Bo Moore recently took a dive into PSVR 2, and it’s worth reading for anyone who wants to learn the intricacies of platform technology. Suffice it to say, PSVR 2 is a real success on console and Resident Evil Village looks amazing on it…
To a point.
My head sticking out of Ethan’s chest had a bit of a macabre horror sensibility, but it also shows how far VR still has to go with ambitious action games like Resident Evil Village. As a port, Resident Evil Village obviously has its limitations, and in any case, there’s still time for further tweaking. But as I was uselessly pounding my knife against a handful of undead enemies, I felt like I was still trapped in 2016 and nothing had really changed. The same could be said for the intense motion sickness imparted by the continuous motion, which at one point forced me to pause to recover from the wave of nausea that washed over me.
Truth be told, PSVR 2 remains an enigma to me. There’s no doubt that this is a massive upgrade over the original PSVR, which in hindsight looks like it was rigged by an aftermarket jury, but I still don’t know who this is for. With some projecting a $500 price tag, it’s likely to be too expensive for casual gamers while also being a poor choice for enthusiasts who appreciate the flexibility offered by other devices. Lady Dimitrescu towering over you in 4K only takes you so far.
Resident Evil Village VR looks like a win for Capcom
Still, there’s no denying Resident Evil Village’s appeal in VR. Its predecessor was one of the best VR experiences of the previous generation, leveraging technology to greatly enhance its sense of horror, and Resident Evil Village is more or less similar. As I walked past a series of charred corpses to Dimitrescu’s castle, the first thought that came to mind was, “This is how Resident Evil Village was meant to be played.”
The VR experience further offers a host of gameplay improvements over the original release, which should serve to freshen up the experience for those who have already defeated Lady Miranda and her lords. Namely, it’s now possible to dual wield weapons, which should give the humble knife a bit more utility (or you can just use a shotgun instead – whatever floats on your boat). The haptics of PSVR 2’s Sense controllers are put to good use when, say, you’re pulling your hands out of Lady Dimitrescu’s meat hooks or firing your pistol at an approaching Lycan. Even the headset itself can shake now.
But none of this compares to the sheer excellence of the visuals, found in everything from the castle’s winding hallways to the fluid, naturalistic movement of Lady D’s vampiric daughters. Using a technique called foveal rendering, it manages to retaining much of the visual fidelity of the original by rendering areas of your peripheral vision in lower quality, reserving its power for what is directly in front of you. The Results Are Impressive Enough Capcom is rarely mentioned in the same breath as other tech powerhouses, but the power and flexibility of the RE engine never fails to impress. Add to that Capcom’s consistently impressive art direction and you have some of the best looking games on any platform.
Resident Evil Village – PSVR 2 Screenshots
Even as a game that’s over a year old now, Resident Evil Village is doing what it takes to sell gamers on the capabilities of PSVR 2. It’s also an exciting time for Resident Evil Village fans, who can see their favorite series return to an area where it excels. Like many other Capcom franchises, Resident Evil has been on a real tear lately, with Resident Evil 4 Remake seeming to add to that moment when it releases this year.
As for the PSVR 2, it’s an undeniably intriguing piece of hardware that brings all the benefits of room-scale virtual reality to the console. Where the original PSVR looked like a tangle of cobbled-together cords, PSVR 2 is sleeker and much more refined, with the PS5’s advanced haptic technology adding even more to the feeling of immersion as Lady Dimitrescu lifts you up like a rag doll . Will that be enough to make Sony’s latest entry into the VR space a success? Backward compatibility with the original PSVR would certainly have helped its chances, but we’ll just have to see.
Either way, Lady Dimitrescu finds her final form in Resident Evil Village. PSVR 2 may not be a win for Sony, but it certainly looks like a win for Capcom. We’ll know more when PSVR 2 and Resident Evil Village release in early 2023.