The internet has been filled with folks sharing their thoughts about the dollhouse section in Resident Evil Village. Many call it scary or even terrifying. But, I didn’t find the location all that scary at all. In fact, I found the whole section rather calming and even fun.
After you arrive in the titular village, you’ll soon run into a group of Big Bads, Donna Beneviento being one of them. Donna loves creepy dolls, so much so that she mainly interacts with the world via Angie — her favourite strange, talking doll. You’ll see more of her creepy creations in her manor, which you encounter fairly early on.
According to the internet and folks at Kotaku, this is where the game gets super scary. Shortly after entering the mansion and solving a few puzzles, you lose your weapons and items. Many people point out how scary this was and how the lack of weapons made them feel vulnerable. For me, I found this whole weaponless section was a splendid reprieve from the nightmare that was the rest of the game.
About 90 per cent of my time in a Resident Evil game is spent worrying over bullets. Do I have enough? Am I using too many? Should I rely on the knife or pistol and conserve shotgun ammo for a harder section? These are the questions I’m dealing with constantly.
So imagine how happy I was when the game took away the very guns and ammo I’ve been worrying about upon entering the Dollhouse. I remember thinking, “Oh thank you so much. I can relax.” I knew I was just going to run around, solve some puzzles, and maybe hide from whatever horrors lurked inside. When the big, nasty monster baby showed up and started screaming, I admit I was unnerved for a few minutes. Then I realised how slow and stupid it is, like a real baby, and it became little more than an annoyance, rather than a threat. It only killed me once and only because I wanted to see what would happen if I ran up to it.
I still found the section fun and interesting. It felt like something ripped from Silent Hill or a popular indie horror game. But I’d be lying if I said I was scared during any of it. A little uncomfortable, sure, but not scared.
Plus, I just don’t find dolls all that creepy. They are weird objects that look like little people with freaky faces and dead eyes. Is that creepy? (An editor is telling me that, yes, that is indeed creepy and I need help.)
To be clear, this isn’t a tough guy brag. I’m not saying Village isn’t scary at all. I found other sections of the game terrifying. But horror works better for me when I have to make decisions under pressure. The moment a game takes away my weapons and sets up hiding spots, I know I’m just running and hiding for the rest of the section. And that’s not very scary. What makes me freak out is having to decide on the fly if I should run or fight or need to figure out whether I’m using the right resources. Plus, when you have weapons, the game is more likely to surprise you with monsters from different directions, which can lead to shocking moments or fatal mistakes. All of this makes for a more nerve-wracking and terrifying experience.
Ironically, I’d be just as scared of a giant, monster baby in real life regardless of if I had a gun or not. The magic of video games. What an amazing medium!