I knew it was a stunt as soon as I saw it, yet it worked perfectly for me – Lady Dimitrescu in her 8ft VR glory towering over me while her vampiric daughters danced nearby.
It’s the logical conclusion to Resident Evil Village’s legacy, which gained notoriety in part because of its fame “very tall vampire lady”, and an amusing start to the PlayStation VR 2 lifecycle. What better way to promote your high-end VR device than to have players face-to-face with Lady D?
The demo was part of Capcom’s Tokyo Game Show 2022 event – the same one shown as part of Sony’s PSVR 2. She details the game’s setting, which in many ways resembles a deadly amusement park ride with its traps and slides.
But Lady Dimitrescu is the star.
She first stares at you, taking a gulp of your blood, and then hangs you on two meat hooks for a particularly gross VR sequence. The whole time she’s basically staring you in the face and constantly making you think she’s really, really big. Even huge.
What makes it particularly impressive is the PSVR’s 4K OLED screens, which are some of the cleanest you’ll find on a VR headset. IGN Tech Editor Bo Moore recently took one Dive deep into PSVR 2, and it’s worth reading for anyone interested in learning the intricacies of the platform’s technology. Suffice it to say that PSVR 2 is a real achievement on console and Resident Evil Village looks amazing on it…
Up to a point.
My head popping out of Ethan’s torso 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 haven, Resident Evil Village obviously has its limitations, and there’s definitely still time for more fine-tuning. But as I uselessly slashed at a handful of undead enemies with my knife, I felt like I was somehow still trapped in 2016 and like nothing had really changed. The same goes for the intense motion sickness caused by the continuous movement, which at one point forced me to take a break to recover from the wave of nausea that swept over me.
Honestly, the PSVR 2 remains a mystery to me. There’s no doubt that this is a massive upgrade over the original PSVR, which in hindsight feels like it was crafted out of spare parts, but I’m still a bit at a loss as to who that’s for. With some predicting a price tag of $500, it’s likely overpriced for casual gamers, while also ill-suited to hobbyists who value the flexibility of other devices. Lady Dimitrescu looming overhead in 4K only takes you so far.
Resident Evil Village VR looks like a win for Capcom
Still, there’s no denying the appeal of Resident Evil Village in VR. Its predecessor was one of the best VR experiences of the previous generation, which uses technology to dramatically increase its sense of terror, and Resident Evil Village is more of the same. As I walked past a line of charred corpses toward Castle Dimitrescu, the first thought that came to mind was, “This is how Resident Evil Village should be played.”
The VR experience also features a variety of gameplay upgrades over the original version, which should serve to refresh the experience for those who have already defeated Lady Miranda and her masters. That means it’s now possible to dual wield weapons, which should give the humble knife a little more utility (or you can just use a shotgun instead – whatever floats your boat). The tactile feel of PSVR 2’s Sense controllers is put to good use, for example when 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 wobble now.
But none of this compares to the sheer excellence of the graphics found in everything from the castle’s winding hallways to the fluid and naturalistic movements of Lady D’s vampiric daughters. Using a technique called foveated rendering, a Maintaining much of the visual fidelity of the original by rendering areas in your peripheral vision at a lower quality and reserving your power for what’s directly in front of you. The results are correspondingly impressive. 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 in Capcom’s consistently impressive artistic 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 now well over a year old, Resident Evil Village is doing what it needs to do to convince players of the possibilities of PSVR 2. It’s also an exciting moment 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 crack lately, with Resident Evil 4 Remake that will contribute to this moment when it is released this year.
PSVR 2 is an undeniably fascinating piece of hardware that brings all the benefits of room-scale VR to console. Where the original PSVR felt like a cobbled-together tangle of wires, the PSVR 2 is sleeker and far more refined, with the PS5’s advanced haptic technology enhancing the sense of immersion even more as Lady Dimitrescu lifts you up like a rag doll. Will it be enough to make Sony’s latest entry into VR a success? Backward compatibility with the original PSVR would certainly have added to its chances, but we’ll just have to see.
Anyway, Lady Dimitrescu finds her final form in Resident Evil Village. The PSVR 2 might not be a win for Sony, but it certainly appears to be a win for Capcom. We’ll know more when both PSVR 2 and Resident Evil Village release in early 2023.
https://www.ign.com/articles/resident-evil-village-psvr-2-lady-dimitrescu-final-form Resident Evil Village for PSVR 2 is Lady Dimitrescu’s Final Form