DLC Review – Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose
When I reviewed Resident Evil Village last year, I found it to be one of the best Resident Evil games to date. It was so close to perfection; only being let down by its final act locations that felt just a little rushed and uninspired. Sixteen months later and a few playthroughs later I still pretty much feel that way. It’s a fantastic game that holds up to the franchise highs like Resident Evil 4 and the remake of Leon and Claire’s classic adventure. It provided a tense and varied world with a surprisingly touching story that we haven’t really seen before in a Resident Evil title. Now here we are with a much-anticipated expansion. Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose is the final act of the story of the Winters family, so does it end on a high note?
Spoilers ahead for Resident Evil Village.
Shadows of Rose picks up sixteen years after the events of Resident Evil Village. Ethan successfully managed to save his daughter, Rose, and put a stop to Mother Miranda’s plans, but at the cost of his own life. Rose is now a teenager living a much less than ordinary life; with secret abilities powered by the Megamycete, working with Chris’ Wolf Unit, and having a rough time in school. She is troubled and offered a way to be free of her curse by communing with the remains of the Megamycetes consciousness. But things are not as they seem, as she quickly encounters a corrupted copy of the village. It’s plagued by an evil version of the Duke, as well as Rose’s personal nightmares.
This is a much more personal story, using the Megamycete as a plot device to not only bring the village back in an interesting way, but to also delve into Rose as a character. Remember, we haven’t actually seen anything about Rose outside of that ending cutscene in the main game, so being able to develop her character in a single expansion is a bold move. What happened to the BSAA after the village? Are we just going to ignore Mia’s involvement at the end of the Winters storyline? What about The Connections and Blue Umbrella?
Regardless, I actually did enjoy the story of Shadows of Rose more than I was expecting. Rose herself is a decent enough character and we get to spend more than enough time with her. Even for Resident Evil standards, the story is a little out there, delving much more into the supernatural elements of the Megamycete. Don’t be expecting this to push the story further though.
As for the gameplay, there’s a surprising amount that is different here, yet distinctly still feels like Resident Evil Village in the best of ways. Weapon handling and movement are all the same, but this time through a third-person perspective, bringing it slightly more in line with that of the Resident Evil 2 and Nemesis remakes. It’s a neat change of pace and works wonders, whilst also giving those not too fond of the first-person perspective a reason to come back to the series. The enemies that you fight are mostly more in line with Resident Evil 7‘s monsters, whilst boss fights are mostly recycled.
Rose herself plays very similarly to Ethan. However, very soon you will uncover some of the powers that she has as a result of her connection to the mold. She’s able to freeze and calcify mold spawns, and slow down enemies approaching her. Much of the DLC is set inside Castle Dimitrescu, which was easily the best location, but unfortunately doesn’t really take you into many new areas either. It does play with areas beyond the castle a little bit, but for the most part, these will be immediately recognisable. The re-use of these areas does feel a bit disappointing, especially with such a long wait for this expansion. It would have been nice to see unexplored areas of the sprawling castle.
That’s not to say it’s all bad though. In fact, I had an absolute blast with Shadows of Rose and will probably end up revisiting it multiple times. It has just enough changes to its structure to make it worthwhile. Also, despite being a superpowered character, Capcom isn’t afraid to show they do know how to pull off a fantastic horror segment yet again. Shadows of Rose as a whole took me roughly three hours to complete on standard difficulty.
Alongside Shadows of Rose, the Winters’ Expansion actually has a fair bit more meat to it. First up is the new third-person mode is also playable throughout the rest of the game’s content as well. Being able to experience Ethan’s story from this new perspective does seem to be worth playing through the game yet again, and is also a solid compromise to bring back people who may not have liked the first-person approach. Rather amusingly though, we still can’t see Ethan’s face.
We also have an expanded Mercenaries mode. Whilst still not as deep as the fantastic Mercenaries mode in Resident Evil 6, it adds just enough to justify coming back to it. It features more playable characters, including Chris Redfield, and the villains Alcina Dimitrescu and Karl Heisenberg. It’s a fine enough addition if you really want to play some more Mercenaries, but if you were never a fan of the mode in the first place, this certainly won’t be a convincing addition.
The Winters’ Expansion feels like a victory lap for this era of Resident Evil. It closes the story with a smaller and more personal end to Winters’ storyline. Going through the same locations as the base game may feel cheap, but just enough has changed to justify it and the inclusion of third-person and expanded mercenaries means that there’s plenty of stuff to do here.
Final Verdict: 7.0
Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose is available now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PS4, and PS5.
Reviewed on PC.
A copy of Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose was provided by the publisher.