Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose DLC goes back to basics in the best way

Lloyd Coombes
Resident Evil Village Shadows of Rose DLC screenshot showing Rose looking at a gun

Resident Evil Village’s expansion feels like a quintessentially Resi experience. After some time playing Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose, here’s what we thought.

2021’s Resident Evil Village was a bit of a surprise, wasn’t it? Resident Evil games have always been pretty unpredictable (and not always for the better), but following the seventh entry’s terrifying bayou butchery with an action/horror mix set amid gothic castles turned out to be a masterstroke. In fact, if it hadn’t been for a heavily armored green gentleman, a time-looping assassin, and an open-world racing game, it would’ve been our favorite game of last year — we did give it a 10/10 in our review, after all.

Still, not to be deterred, Capcom is adding to the experience with a few new updates. Chief among them is the Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose expansion, alongside a third-person mode for the entirety of Village and additional characters and modes for Mercenaries mode. While we’ve not been able to carve through hordes as Lady D, we did get to play the Shadows of Rose expansion — and it feels like an ideal endcap for the Village story.

A brief note: We’ll keep this preview as spoiler-free as possible. That’s partly because of Capcom’s own embargo, but also because the magic of the Resident Evil franchise remains the equal thrill and dread of what’s around the next corner.

Rose Vs Thorns

Resident Evil Village Shadows of Rose DLC screenshot showing Rose exploring a mansion
‘Shadows of Rose’ feels like classic Resi

Our playthrough of Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose picks up someway into the story. Rose, daughter of Village’s protagonist Ethan Winters, is in a new location called “The Realm of Consciousness” of the Megamycete.

Despite the new location, though, things will be pleasingly familiar to longtime fans. The third-person perspective (which is mandatory for the expansion) and the fact that the realm appears as a creaky old haunted house, make it feel like stepping into a pair of particularly gruesome old slippers — only this time, they’re covered in some sort of gloop.

Resident Evil Village Shadows of Rose DLC screenshot showing monsters
The Face Eaters are as horrifying as anything in the base game.

That’s courtesy of the denizens of this realm, the Face Eaters. Growing out of the tendrils of ooze around you (usually when you’re least expecting it and are woefully unprepared), they emit a horrendous, telltale sound that sounds like a bassy hybrid between a rumbly stomach and The Last of Us’ already unnerving clickers.

Get too close and they’ll attempt to grab Rose, pulling her close and attempting to absorb some of her flesh onto their own. Thankfully, Rose is a dab hand with a handgun, but you’ll still need to hit one four times to bring them down — and even then there could be another right behind them.

The worst part? That’s not all you’ll encounter in your journey to rid Rose of her bioweapon abilities.

Give it what you’ve got

The good thing about being a bioweapon, though, is that Rose is able to use her abilities in both combat and exploration.

In battle, that means targeting the weak spots of the Face Eaters, helping conserve ammo (although crafting means it’s perhaps not as restricted as other games in the franchise).

Resident Evil Village Shadows of Rose DLC screenshot showing a new item that needs to be destroyed
These ‘cores’ have to be removed to progress.

In exploration terms, that means you’ll be destroying gross, flower-like appendages on the ooze that’s overrunning the realm. Doing so will see them turn to dust, opening new pathways and revealing secrets. There are, as you’d expect, puzzles and inconveniently placed keys (Shadows of Rose is a Resi title after all) but being able to open at least some pathways without finding them ensures that everything moves along at a brisk pace.

Rose is aided in her journey by a disembodied entity that communicates through writing words in the world for her to follow, too. It provides more tangible help, but who it is is hard to say from our limited time with the game.

Back to basics with a bang

Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose is shaping up to be a return to a more classic Resident Evil format, but with all the trappings of a truly modern survival horror experience. In that regard, it feels closer to the Resident Evil 2 Remake than Village, and that’s no bad thing in our eyes.

Still, from our limited time with Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose, one thing was clear — we didn’t realize how much we missed this grim, festering world of darkness.

For more on upcoming Capcom titles, be sure to check out our hands-on preview of Street Fighter 6.