Years after the events of Resident Evil 7, Ethan Winters is found living in a European town with his wife Mia and his newborn daughter Rose. They are under a form of witness protection by Umbrella. All is well until a series of unexpected events leads Ethan to a rural village overrun by Lycans and other creatures while he searches for his daughter. Mysterious characters and massive amounts of enemies eventually take Ethan to the towering castle looming over the city where only the first horrors of the game take place.
The story of Resident Evil 8 works on a few levels – the typical conspiracy and viral/fungal/parasitic outbreak, the exploration of madness, and the bond between parent and child. The first is one of my favorite uses of this Resident Evil style story yet. The world surrounding the plot is crafted beautifully with a towering elegant castle, an eerie haunted house, a horrifying factory, and various other areas which all keep adding layers to the effect the mold has taken on the citizens of this village. The story’s progress as usual began with pure horror and slowly revealed the effects and causes of the outbreak. It tied in aspects of the previous games such as Spencer which had me attempting to connect certain events like a puzzle. It also gave more merit to the outbreak in the previous game, acting as an origin story while still being a direct sequel.
My favorite part about the plot is that the new strain leaves many of the main enemies fully conscious. Instead of having mindless hostiles, there are now intelligent enemies with unique personalities. Of course, this did occur to some extent in earlier Resident Evils such as the main bosses in RE4, but in RE7 and now in RE8, the creators strayed away from simply creating trope-ish enemies vying for power and created those we could actually sympathize with – Demitrescu and her love for her daughters, Beneviento and her mental illness, Heisenberg and his lust for revenge, Moreau and his desire for belonging. It allows us to care for even the most terrifying enemy, a major step in the right direction after games like RE5 and RE6 simply had us slaughtering anything that came in our way.
The theme of parenthood was also a nice addition, although a little surface level and cliched at times. Demitrescu and her daughters, Ethan and his, and Mother Miranda and Eva. These all explored the bond between parent and child, leading each of these characters to delve further into madness when it seemed that the bond would be shattered eternally. As I said though, the theme was explored at a surface level so I wouldn’t expect to come out of the game understanding parenthood any more than you already do, but it was a nice addition nonetheless.
Gameplay-wise, I believe that Capcom has moved in an amazing direction. In Resident Evil 8 they have merged the best of both worlds – the absolute horror that comes to play in RE7 with the more action-oriented shooter that is in RE4. This, paired with my favorite merchant, upgrade, and storage system to date, creates some of the most fun I’ve had in a Resident Evil game in quite some time. The thing that Capcom keeps doing which makes me always want to come back to the series is that they never stop changing the style. Whether or not you prefer this gameplay over the previous entry (or even earlier ones) the reason these games are so good is that Capcom still refuses to stagnate.
I do have some qualms with the game. Some parts such as Moreau’s area felt more tedious and bland; the factory was beautiful but the enemies ended up being repetitive and annoying to fight; the actual village citizens were largely ignored, and I would have loved more moments like the house of survivors in the beginning; and finally, near the end, ammo reserves felt incredibly lacking despite the need for more ammo than previous areas. Yet, even with these flaws, Resident Evil 8 did end up being one of my favorites of the series. I found the story infinitely more engaging than is usual, the gameplay bringing in brilliant aspects of many of the entries, and the area design being probably the best I can remember since RE4. And best of all, it is easily a game I could recommend to those who have and have not played Resident Evil before.
See my shorter Grouvee Review here: Grouvee
See other game reviews or what I plan to play next here: Game Reviews