New release Review

Review – Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion

It has been an uncannily long wait for the DLC for 2021’s smash hit Resident Evil Village and a wait this long can put players off returning to any game, but this is not one of those times. Winters’ Expansion brings a variety of content that adds a new epilogue chapter, welcomed options for the original’s underwhelming Mercenaries’ mode, and a third person mode that gives players even more reason to replay Resident Evil Village again and again.

For our glowing review of Resident Evil Village, click here.

Shadows of Rose

Most players will be picking up Winters’ Expansion for the added Shadows of Rose epilogue chapter. Shadow of Rose continues the story of the Winters family and begins 16 years after the conclusion of Village. The story follows Rose, Ethan’s teenage daughter, who is on a personal journey to remove her resented special abilities that are explained through the Resident Evil Village base game. To remove her powers, Rose must enter the consciousness of the Megamycete, which is the fungal root responsible for the past game’s mold, Rose’s powers and stores the consciousness of any living organism connected to the mold. Entering the Megamycete consciousness transports Rose to familiar locations from Village such as Castle Dimitrescu.

The story continues well from the main game, connecting some loose ends from the main game and brings an ending that this author found satisfying. Rose will meet some new and returning characters, such as a corrupted version of Duke, and a spirit guide by the name of Michael. Michael assists Rose through messages within the environment, by providing her health or ammo and is vital to the story. Conversations with Michael can be campy, but this is Resident Evil, and I wouldn’t expect anything less.

While the locations are familiar, the gameplay is not the same as Village or even Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. The biggest change is the camera from first to third person which also changes up the gameplay’s combat. While in first person, popping head shots and quickly traversing the areas is easier, while in third person a more methodical approach to enemies and movement is needed. While its new perspective works well, it did take me a little while to adjust and feels a little clunky compared to RE2 and RE3 remakes.

Shadows of Rose’s gameplay has also changed significantly by using a more linear approach. While Rose will still be required to explore, solve puzzles and fend off enemies, this amount has tapered off compared to the main campaign. Players won’t need to back track through expansive locations, search every corner, face a large variety of enemies, or use a wide range of weapons to get through the 3-hour story.

Combat is also limited to just a handgun, shotgun, and pipe bomb, which can be upgraded with found attachments. Rose uses her abilities to add to her arsenal, such as being able to freeze enemies in place to either get clean head shot or run past, which the player will need to do as ammunition supply is very limited. Extra ammunition, pipe bombs and health can be crafted with found materials. Rose’s powers also have other uses throughout the game including solving puzzles and to find crafting materials.

The variety across this DLC is varied. The majority of enemies are the Face Eaters, very comparable to the molded from RE7, and sadly the game does not offer many alternatives. These enemies also take a lot of shots, so make each one count. The gameplay does change through the second half of the story, with Rose having to solve some puzzles in an area I genuinely felt more terrified than any part of Village. Some of the jump scares really got me and I liked how they changed the gameplay up, but I just wish there was more of all of it.

Shadows of Rose is a tidy little package, it offers a different perspective from its base game, introduces a new combat system with Rose’s powers and brings back some of the horror aspects. It does have its short comings with it being very short in length and light on traditional Resident Evil gameplay, but as a part of a package it adds to its worth.

Resident Evil Village: Third Person Mode

Introducing the third person perspective to Resident Evil Village is much more than a throw away gimmick, as it offers a viewpoint that forces the player to mix it up. Having a wider view, players can easily monitor enemies approaching from the sides and navigate obstacles easier while in combat. But much like the traditional Resident Evil games, the shooting is much harder with the smaller reticule than it is in first person mode and with Village having an abundance of enemies stalking the player, missing shots brings with it an extra layer of suspense. The only issues I found is it does not feel as smooth as the recent remakes and that moving in and out for first person during cutscenes can be jarring. If players are new to the game and not a fan of first-person cameras, playing Resident Evil Village for the first time, or the tenth time, is very approachable in third person mode.

The Mercenaries: Additional Orders

The Additional Orders update to the Mercenaries mode is a well needed one, as its original release only has one character (Ethan), and five stages, creating a poor representation of what past games Mercenaries modes had brought to the table. With the Winters’ Expansion, Additional Orders add two more stages and three new great characters to use, making the mode it should have been at Village’s launch. The new characters include: –

  • Chris Redfield, who comes stacked with heavier weapons and uses his boulder pounding fists, as well as building up an Onslaught meter that allows Chris to use a target locator, move faster and deal more damage.
  • Karl Heisenberg, who uses his trademark massive hammer, his electromagnetic powers to fling shrapnel and a sawblade to slice his enemies. He can even summon an enormous robot to take down foes while he is smashing heads with his hammer.
  • Lady Dimitrescu, who will surely be most players’ favourite, towers over her prey, using her enlarged claws while throwing a vanity table at enemies and can call in her sisters to aid her. She also has a Thill Meter which allows her to deal more damage and move faster.

The disappointing part is that Karl Heisenberg and Lady Dimitrescu are not unlocked from the start and players will have to grind levels to get familiar enough with the mode to get higher rankings allowing players to use these two additional characters. This is disappointing as both characters are easily the most fun to use.

Adam Potts, for Adam’s full profile click here.

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