I almost quit Resident Evil Village yesterday. It wasn’t because the game’s limited field of vision finally made me blow chunks across my living room, but because fear—true, gripping terror the likes of which I had never felt before—seized me while in Donna Beneviento’s Dollhouse. I knew going into the Dollhouse was going to be rough. I wasn’t prepared for just how rough. But like any good millennial, I had to document my harrowing ordeal. Here is my experience at the Dollhouse told via Slack messages and Tweets.
I think the insidious magic of the Dollhouse is that it lures you into a false sense of security. I turned so many corners in hallways expecting some menacing shadow to pop out, though one never did. I solved puzzles unmolested. I barely heard anything but the pop of a floorboard that I started to think, “Well whatever does eventually attack me, I can handle it.” I even started bragging on Twitter that this wasn’t so bad.
Famous last words.
Someone suggested I hide in a nearby locker. Reader, I had no idea you even could hide in a locker. I would have felt much less terrified had I known that.
Another truly dastardly design element of the Dollhouse is making the player overly reliant on light. When I made it to the second well-lit part of the basement I felt relieved. In the presence of light, I knew I was safe. My comfort did not last.
There’s a moment when you’re presented with the option to hide from the creature under a bed. It was then, before god and my coworkers that I decreed I would quit the game and never pick it up again if that baby looked under the bed.
If you look closely, you can pinpoint the exact moment when I finally come face to face with The Baby.
I have a pet conspiracy theory that Capcom slowed Ethan’s run speed in the Dollhouse. Homey could run in the Village and in Castle Dimitrescu just fine, but he felt slower to me in the Dollhouse. Ethan never ran fast enough for me to get away from the baby. I can’t prove it, but I just know it.
I actually never got a good look at the demon baby until the very end of the sequence, safely ensconced behind the closed elevator door. Of course I always had my back to it running away, but even going through most of that part, I kept my camera angled to the floor. I was so scared of what I might see that I elected to eliminate seeing it at all.
After ascending out of hell, the rest of the Dollhouse was a cake walk. Nothing could be as bad as that basement and it wasn’t. Even the dolls—who, for me, occupy the same creep-out tier as murder clowns—could barely get my heart rate up. On a scale of 1-10, the Dollhouse ranks as a Fuck This. I’m very glad I escaped with no help and will be able to continue to play Resident Evil Village, but if there’s anything even remotely like the Dollhouse again: Nope.