With anticipation for Resident Evil Village at a fever pitch, a new demo just dropped. The gameplay demo, known as Maiden, was a surprise addition to January 21st’s gameplay showcase. Resident Evil Village: Maiden Demo is developed by Capcom and is a survival-horror game set in the beautifully gothic Castle Demitrescu.
In the demo, you play as a nameless Maiden who is tasked with escaping the castle. The story is light, and not much is elaborated on in terms of if or how the demo fits into the main game’s story. But the demo more than makes up for that with the atmosphere. The starting dungeon is grimy and filled with debris and desiccated corpses. All of the action is shown in first-person which really amps up the tension and horror.
With no combat included in the demo, the gameplay largely relies on exploration and light puzzle-solving. As a result,the player has ample opportunity to explore the wonderfully detailed environments. Castle Demitriscu’s presentation is perfectly balanced between stomach-churning and stunning. In one area a disemboweled body hangs from a meathook. A few rooms later you’re standing in a gorgeous bedroom that looks straight out of Beauty and the Beast. This dichotomy helps to add a lot of character to the Castle and make the demo all the more striking to experience.
The puzzle elements are fairly simple and allow for quick and relatively painless completion. The familiar Resident Evil elements of item examination and key collection are here. Thankfully, at the beginning of the demo, you are given a note that outlines much of your escape. This really goes a long way to help keep the pacing strong and not let the demo get bogged down in backtracking. When backtracking is necessary, though, the demo uses your sense of security to hit you with some of it’s best scares.
In case you were wondering, yes, it is quite scary. From inhuman howls just beyond a rickety barrier to a voice that comes from right over your shoulder, there is no shortage in moments to make you jump. The sound design is one of the big stars of the show here. Despite the Castle seeming almost entirely empty, you never truly feel alone. There is always the faint sound of footsteps, or laughter to remind you that you are unsafe. By the end of the demo, you’ll find yourself jumping at thin air almost as much as the scripted scares.
Resident Evil Village: Maiden Demo is a masterclass in atmosphere and ambiance. The equally gruesome and jaw-dropping Castle feels like a character in and of itself. The gameplay is simple enough to pick up and play, but still provides enough challenge to feel worth your time. The scares, enhanced by the brilliant sound design, are thrilling and will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you’re fortunate enough to have snagged a PS5 and a fan of survival-horror then you should absolutely check it out.
Resident Evil Village: Maiden Demo is available on PS5. Resident Evil: Village will be available May 7th on Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.