Resident Evil Village’s Lady Dimitrescu has proven to be the immortal vampire witch of the internet’s dreams, and that sentiment has only grown after the latest trailer for the game showcased a never-before-seen ability for the character. Just like the last two antagonists we’ve seen recently, Mr. X (Resident Evil 2 Remake) and Nemesis (Resident Evil 3 Remake), she’s been confirmed to wander the halls of her coven in search of any meddling humans.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people are very excited about this addition, as the feature has been a highlight of the last two titles. To succeed, though, Resident Evil Village is going to need to make sure that they make the internet regret their infatuation with her if she has any hope of standing out from the previous two antagonists.
One thing she’ll certainly need to be truly frightening is a stalking mechanic, one that is unique from what we saw from Mr. X and Nemesis. I’m not saying she shouldn’t follow Ethan around as they did to Jill, Leon, and Claire, but there needs to be something new she’s bringing to the table.
When I think back to Resident Evil 2 Remake, the constant tension of having Mr. X was hot on my heels wherever I want was such a huge part of what made the game so frightening. The way he constantly tracked you resulted in a looming sense of dread and added extra tension to the sometimes deliberate moment-to-moment gameplay in Resident Evil games.
Nemesis also provided similar moments in Resident Evil 3 Remake, though his appearances felt rather scripted by comparison. Knowing that he wasn’t constantly around the corner definitely deflated certain parts of the game, especially when compared to how terrifying Mr. X was in the previous iteration.
It’s really important that the same mistakes aren’t made in Resident Evil Village. For all the jesting about Lady Dimitrescu’s beauty and impressive height, I want to feel intimidated by her because she’s genuinely scary. Her presence should be something to dread, not something to celebrate.
To that end, she needs something to set her apart from past Resident Evil monsters, especially since Resident Evil Village seems like it’s taking a much more open-world approach.
What might, for example, make her more threatening than just hearing her footsteps is seeing her around a corner one moment, turning around, and getting stabbed through the heart the next. What if you chopped off Dimitrescu’s head and she just picks it up and keeps going? Or, imagine locking yourself in a safe room for her to miraculously appear next to you, claws at the ready.
While jump scares are somewhat cheap thrills that I’m largely glad the horror genre has moved away from, I can see one or two sprinkled in helping to make Dimitrescu a spookier menace — especially if she’s going to be randomly cropping up around the castle. Perhaps Capcom is planning to use the magical elements of the game’s premise as a catalyst to this effect? I think the notion of Dimitrescu wielding magical vampire powers is a compelling one, indeed.
When it comes to vanquishing her –which I think we can all agree is inevitable–, I’m hoping Capcom makes it a battle of epic magnitude. Lady Dimitrescu is a decidedly different character from her zombie counterparts in a lot of ways, not the least of which being that she’s a centuries-old vampire. Unlike Mr. X or even Nemesis, it’s probably not going to be as easy as placing a well-timed bullet between her eyes or a missile to her face – and if it is, it’ll be disappointing.
She needs more than just supernatural strength and a menacing gait to make her more interesting as a character and an enemy, especially if the game allows the player to explore how and where she got her abilities, and, more importantly, why she’s so interested in Ethan.
Resident Evil 7 leaned into new territory in a lot of ways narratively, especially when it tied Ethan to his enemies, like when Ethan’s wife, Mia tried to kill him near the beginning. The game provided a wealth of information surrounding each individual member of the family from Resident Evil 7 and connected them to Ethan in ways that really allowed them to become interesting villains in their own right.
Based on one of the earliest trailers for Village, Ethan’s family could somehow be related to the mysterious village. If they are, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that Lady Dimitrescu is similarly tied to Ethan’s story. Bringing more depth and backstory to her character could take an already memorable villain within the Resident Evil franchise and elevate her beyond the franchise into the annals of gaming history.
Meshing the two together with an overarching narrative thread would also add some interesting motivations and stakes for both characters. There could even be an opportunity to draw narrative parallels between Ethan and Lady Dimitrescu’s family lives. Alternatively, maybe she’s just an ancient spirit who’s terrorized this village for centuries just for the fun of it?
Regardless of her role in the full version of the game, Lady Dimitrescu has been a highlight in the lead-up and hype cycle for Resident Evil Village. I’m already pleased that we’ve got such a compelling antagonist to drive interest in the game and really tee up another potentially brilliant game in the series. The real question, though, will be whether Capcom falls back on familiar mechanics to breathe life into her or pushes for something that would see Village reach new heights for the Resident Evil series.
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