App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
I posted some first impressions of how Resident Evil Village plays on iOS a few days ago, and I stand by most of what I wrote there if you are curious about how it plays and the effort that went into the port. The only thing I now disagree with is how I close the piece supposing that I won't have much to say about the game once I finish it. Now that I have completed Resident Evil Village, I definitely have thoughts, and the prevailing one is this: It's a fine enough AAA game, but--with the distance I have put between myself and that kind of game over the past 15 years or so--returning to it feels surprisingly (and disappointingly) familiar.
What year is it?
The source of my disappointment doesn't come from Resident Evil Village being a poorly made or even bad game. In fact, it's pretty fun. You get dropped into a world of creepy goings-on and try to figure out how to survive against all kinds of otherworldly horrors and solve mysterious puzzles while piecing together why this is happening to you and your family. The game does a pretty good job of creating spooky tension and making you feel somewhat vulnerable despite the fact that the game is ultimately still a power fantasy.
The disappointment comes more from the fact that if Resident Evil Village had actually originally released around 2007 and not 2021, I would have very little problem believing it. This game may be fun, but almost all of it comes from making a lot of very safe and risk-averse decisions that follow a blueprint that was fresh over a decade ago. Does it still work? Sure! I beat this iOS port and had fun doing it (with a controller only), but as someone who hasn't really put much time into AAA single-player experiences in about the same span of time, it's just shocking that so little has changed, at least when it comes to this game specifically.
I do have some familiarity with previous Resident Evil titles, and in fairness to Village there are things in this game that are new for the series. As opposed to the watershed releases in the franchise like Resident Evil 4, Village plays in first-person and makes a bunch of other little changes to make combat feel more difficult, including a good amount of enemies that you simply have to run from. Eventually, though, you get so comically well armed that by the end of the game it just feels like you're playing a series of Call of Duty setpieces instead of a Resident Evil game.
Village is at its best around the middle section of the game, where you have somewhat of a free rein to wander between locations, scavenge for supplies and treasures, and solve puzzles. There is also a certain area where your ability to fight is completely stripped from you, and it is easily the most tense and satisfying section of the experience. The rest--again--is fine, but the game only truly feels like it's taking some creative chances and trying new things (that aren't just new for Resident Evil) in about 10% of the overall game.
Should you play it on mobile?
I don't know how enthusiastically I'd recommend Resident Evil Village on any platform, but seeing as how this is an iOS-focused site, I'll just say that the iOS port might as well be the other versions of that game but on limited hardware. It won't look as nice or run as well as it does elsewhere, but it is that game and I ran into no issues with crashing or device heating or anything else that can come when trying to bring something so technically complicated to mobile.
This is all somewhat moot to say, though, because anyone with a device that can run the game can try it out for free if they'd like. The free portion of Village is essentially the entire opening act of the game and provides a very good look at what the game has to offer so you can decide for yourself if you want to sign up for 10 or so hours of more of that without spending any money.
The bottom line
It is certainly impressive that Resident Evil Village exists on iOS, and it's perfectly enjoyable provided you have the right hardware for it (including a controller). That said, "enjoyable" is about as far as I'd go in describing my feelings for it. Village checks off all the boxes to make a compelling AAA single-player game, or at least the ones that passed muster over 10 years ago, and otherwise only has glimmers of inspiration.