I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that Resident Evil Village is not an accessible game. This isn’t exactly a new problem for the RE series or Capcom. Our past coverage of the series hasn’t exactly been favorable. Susan’s review of RE2 earned a 5/10. My review of RE3 scored a disgraceful 3/10. Survival horror isn’t exactly know for its spectacular accessibility and it’s such a shame that the first major survival horror release on next gen consoles didn’t push the needle any further.
Before we dive in to all the issues, I’ll set the scene a bit. Take 20 seconds and watch this video muted if you’re hearing.
How was that? Scary? Did you laugh at the weirdly animated crow flailing about? Now watch it again with the sound on and you’ll see what’s missing throughout the entire game. A game filled with environmental sounds to immerse players and set the spooky tone is just a poorly lit world filled with nothing for players who don’t benefit from the subtle auditory world building.
Does it get any better from here? Nope. Nope it doesn’t. Worse, actually, which I personally feel is an accomplishment.
The subtitles, well, they’re present. That’s the only good thing I can say about them. The text is a decent size but not scalable, but far too thin and have no background so there will be times they are completely illegible.
There’s also no speaker labels so in cinematics with multiple speaker, good luck telling who is saying what if you can’t see their mouth moving.
Who is talking in the above image? Is Ethan talking to himself? Is there someone else? Is that supposed to be part of the horror of it all? Having to constantly guess who is speaking?
Rounding out the complete lack of deaf/hoh accessibility is that for some unknown reason, Capcom chose to only utilize controller vibration for jump scares. I’m playing on PS5 with the DualSense’s amazing haptics which makes the lack of environmental vibrations doubly disappointing because they could have done so much more!
There are so many sounds throughout the game that make for incredible world building and immersion but left uncaptioned are utterly useless for all who rely on captions.
The above scene is supposed to be spooky but without captioning, it’s just dark.
Players are supposed to know there are enemies about outside here but without captioning and/or controller vibration to indicate that, you’re just in a foggy house.
There’s a very screechy crow behind you here that’s supposed to scare you (see the video at the start of the review) but again, without captions, it’s just a flailing bird.
Controller + Remapping
There is no remapping but there are four control schemes for players to choose from. The problem with that, aside from the obvious need for remapping, is that all four of the schemes require stick clicks for running and crouching. RIP my thumbs.
Players with low vision may struggle to play due to Capcom’s odd choice to only utilize vibration and haptics for jump scares. Being a very dark game, navigation is already tricky. For a decent experience for both deaf/hoh and low-vision players, games need two out of three of guiding sound design, visual cues, and guiding controller vibration. Resident Evil Village lacks all of these.
Camera + Display
There are a fair amount of camera controls allowing players to try to lessen any motion sickness or camera shake issues.
One issue I ran into regarding the display was the intensity of the damage indicator when being attacked by a whole herd of enemies.
Truly the only positive thing I can say about the accessibility of Resident Evil Village is that it has subtitles. The game is an inaccessible mess, just as with every other entry in the series, and at this point I’m not even surprised. Accessibility isn’t a list of things you tick off upon including them in your options menu, it’s a design process that goes far beyond providing options and time and again, Capcom and its Resident Evil series seems to be blissfully unaware of this.
Over all findings: