An 18-month hole between a recreation’s launch and it getting DLC is uncommon, to the extent that, typically, it might be deemed poor timing. Most folks could have lengthy moved on from the sport with little to no intention of returning to it anytime quickly, if ever. Thankfully, Resident Evil Village, as among the finest video games of 2021, is exempt from that notion. The recreation is simply that good, and extra of the identical is at all times going to be onerous to show down. Enter Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion, a three-pronged DLC that provides fairly a bit to the sport, most of which might be to your liking when you loved the bottom recreation, however virtually none of which feels important.
The headline-grabbing addition right here is clearly Shadows of Rose, a brand new story chapter set sixteen years after the occasions of the bottom recreation. Ethan Winters has been useless for a very long time, and the main focus right here is squarely on Rose, his daughter. All grown up now, she’s determined to stay a traditional life as a traditional child, which is clearly one thing that she will be able to’t do due to her pure powers and skills as a bio-organic weapon. When she learns of a strategy to do away with her powers although, Rose immediately jumps on the alternative, starting a journey that takes her into the consciousness of the Megamycete, the superorganism that’s the supply of the troublesome Mold that’s been torturing the Winters household (and lots of others) for years at this level.
“With all of its points, Shadows of Rose finally ends up feeling like a largely forgettable journey, even when it is principally a enjoyable one. “
Shadows of Rose takes gamers to quite a lot of places that those that performed the bottom recreation might be very aware of (and actually, given the chapter’s narrative setup, you actually shouldn’t be taking part in it when you haven’t completed Resident Evil Village). It begins off with Rose in Castle Dimitrescu, the place the imposing vampiric lady is nowhere to be seen, with a twisted model of The Duke as an alternative casting his terrifying shadow on the placement and all the things that goes on in it. Beyond that, there’s just a few different places you go to, that are greatest left unspoiled. That’s as a result of Shadows of Rose does a strong job of remixing acquainted environments, and the dream-like state of its setting serves as an excellent jumping-off level for that. Meanwhile, some later sections additionally carry chilling horror sequences that take cues from RE Village’s greatest bits- which is all that I’m going to say about that. It’s greatest skilled by yourself.
While places are remixed and reused in Shadows of Rose, different components of the brand new story chapter really feel fairly totally different from the bottom expertise. There’s Michael, an unseen spirit companion who continually aids Rose on her journey by means of glowing, ghostly phrases showing on surfaces round her. As a gameplay mechanic, it appears like a gimmick at greatest, and may really feel prefer it’s holding your hand an excessive amount of, however Michael is additionally an important a part of the story, which resolves in fascinating (if largely predictable) methods.
Meanwhile, Rose is, in fact, additionally outfitted with particular powers- although their implementation is not practically as thrilling as it could appear on paper. Temporarily freezing enemies in place and eliminating obstacles within the surroundings is concerning the extent of her skills, they usually by no means actually come into play in any manner that makes them stand out (or a minimum of not till the tip, by which era it’s too little, too late). New enemies known as Face Eaters additionally enter the fray, who’ve various similarities to Resident Evil 7’s Molded, however they by no means actually pose the sort of risk that, say, the bottom recreation’s Lycans did.
“Third individual mode has clearly been made with returning followers in thoughts, so when you’re leaping into Resident Evil Village for the primary time, you may need to persist with the primary individual perspective. For followers who’ve already performed by means of the bottom recreation although, the brand new digicam is a wonderful strategy to expertise the sport once more.”
Other points carry down the expertise as nicely. Shadows of Rose is a completely third individual expertise, however motion feels slightly clunky- which is a shock, as a result of Resident Evil has delivered some high notch third individual titles, particularly lately. The new chapter is additionally a way more linear expertise than what you’d need from a Resident Evil game- backtracking and slowly unlocking areas little by little is a core tenet of the franchise, and it’s disappointing to see it de-emphasized right here prefer it has been. Add to that Shadow of Rose’s quick runtime – the complete episode is roughly three hours lengthy – and with all of its different points, it finally ends up feeling like a largely forgettable journey, even when it is principally a enjoyable one.
But in fact, Shadows of Rose is solely a 3rd of what Winters’ Expansion brings to the desk. Another main new addition – and doubtless my favorite of the bunch – is a brand new third individual mode for the bottom recreation. Playing by means of Resident Evil Village with an over-the-shoulder digicam places a novel spin on the sport, however the motion nonetheless feels tense and satisfying. Similar to Shadows of Rose, motion is slightly stiff as in comparison with the likes of Resident Evil 2 and 3, however the sheer novelty of seeing all the recreation’s places and attending to expertise all of its choices from a special perspective makes up for these points.
Funnily sufficient, you continue to can’t see Ethan’s face – when you attempt to flip the digicam round, he’ll merely flip round earlier than you may get a correct take a look at everything of his face – whereas the transitions between third individual gameplay and first individual cutscenes by no means cease feeling jarring. Third individual mode has clearly been made with returning followers in thoughts, so when you’re leaping into Resident Evil Village for the primary time, you may need to persist with the primary individual perspective. For followers who’ve already performed by means of the bottom recreation although, the brand new digicam is a wonderful strategy to expertise the sport once more.
“The Mercenaries is nonetheless unlikely to blow anybody away, however it serves as a pleasant distraction for individuals who’re searching for extra bite-sized and informal enjoyable.”
The third and closing addition in Winters’ Expansion is The Mercenaries: Additional Orders, which, as its identify suggests, provides new content material to The Mercenaries mode. Resident Evil’s score-based mode has been a fan-favourite since its inception all these years in the past, however its comeback in Village didn’t precisely pull up any timber. The consensus was that it was too mild on content material and lacked the limitless replayability of previous iterations of The Mercenaries- so it goes with out saying that the addition of recent places and new characters, every with their very own distinctive skills, is a welcome one. The Mercenaries is nonetheless unlikely to blow anybody away, however it serves as a pleasant distraction for individuals who’re searching for extra bite-sized and informal enjoyable.
Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion is a strong addition to Capcom’s beloved survival horror outing, even when it feels largely unremarkable. Shadows of Rose is a enjoyable new story chapter, however it doesn’t do sufficient with its distinctive concepts, and it’s over too shortly, whereas The Mercenaries continues to really feel inessential, even when it is admittedly a a lot better expertise than it was when the bottom recreation launched final yr. Third individual mode, in the meantime, is an absolute deal with, particularly when you’re a returning fan seeking to play by means of the sport once more from a recent perspective. Taken collectively, the growth won’t be required reading- however it’s a good stopgap to carry you over till Capcom drops the following meaty Resident Evil providing.
This recreation was reviewed on the PlayStation 5.