Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose DLC review – Scary & sweet but ultimately unsatisfying
Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose DLC closes the chapter on the Winters family saga, but we came away feeling slightly underwhelmed by the end.
Resident Evil Village has received a loaded expansion with the Shadows of Rose DLC. The expansion adds a brand new story chapter, upgrades to the Mercenaries mode, and a new third-person camera angle to use in the original game’s campaign. Each is likely to be a worthy addition to the game to some fans but may not satisfy everyone.
Below we’ll break down the Shadows of Rose DLC into its three major offerings, assessing each on its own merits before summing up our thoughts at the end. Here’s what we thought about our return to Resident Evil Village.
Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose key details
- Price: £15.99/$19.99
- Developer: Capcom
- Release Date: October 28, 2022
- Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC
Rose with Thorns
The Shadows of Rose chapter is set 15 years after the end of Resident Evil Village with a now-teenage Rose Winters struggling to adjust to regular life. Rose has grown up around Chris Redfield’s Hound Wolf Squad and views the longtime Resi protagonist as a sort of uncle – as well as other members of the squad.
However, Rose also has questions about her father and why she has strange powers which have caused her to feel ostracized by her peers. It’s the classic “I just want a normal life” story, but it serves as a decent backdrop to the DLC.
This is what leads Rose to hunt down the source of her powers and see if this can be used to reverse them. Without giving any spoilers from the DLC or RE Village itself, Rose enters a nightmare world that’s connected to her own psyche to find what she’s looking for.
This gives the developers the freedom to get creative and display some truly terrifying spectacles that wouldn’t ordinarily be possible within the confines of Resident Evil’s science-influenced horror. It allows them to embrace the surreal and this makes Shadows of Rose feel a lot like the Evil Within, in that it’s a horror-filled fever dream which Rose needs to wake up from.
The setting also allows the DLC to delve into Resident Evil’s recent past when it comes to villains and enemies, providing some cameos that gave us a sense of closure as long-time players – at least where some story elements are concerned. Other story beats had the opposite effect on us.
Classic survival horror with a twist
As far as gameplay goes, the chapter mostly retreads a lot of old ground from RE Village rather than giving us much in the way of new areas to explore. This is forgivable due to the game’s titular Village being such an important part of the game, but it did feel slightly repetitive.
Luckily, Shadows of Rose leans into what made the original Resident Evil and RE7 so good in that it mostly confines the action to one haunted house and is heavy on horror over action. It’s also only playable in the third-person view, so Resi purists will be instantly at home with it.
The chapter uses a variety of gunplay and puzzle-solving for the first half, but players will also get to use some of Rose’s powers to not only open up new areas but to take down enemies in fun new ways. The game doesn’t do anything especially groundbreaking with these new elements, but it’s a cool way to differentiate Rose Winter’s quest from Ethan’s in the main game.
The enemies mostly felt like just a new variation of the mold zombies seen in RE7, which is a clever way of connecting Village to its predecessor. Although the enemies we were facing later in the DLC truly were nightmare fuel – we’ll let you discover why.
The Shadows of Rose DLC also provides some segments that are so scary they give Village’s Baby a run for its money – if you know, you know. One part of the chapter also takes inspiration from the Doctor Who episode ‘Blink’ which in our view was the highlight of the entire expansion.
Our main gripe after playing the story DLC though is that we don’t feel like Shadows of Rose has moved the series on enough. We also don’t feel like it was the grand finale to the Winters family saga that Capcom promised it would be. We still find ourselves with burning questions and think that the chapter was a wholly missed opportunity in many ways.
There were moments of sweetness that we’re glad we were able to see here, but we can’t help thinking that Capcom has taken some discarded potential concepts for Resident Evil 9 and hastily thrown them into a DLC so that they can get on with telling a new story.
This may not turn out to be a bad thing, but unless Capcom was exaggerating about this being the end of the Winters saga, then they’ve done the characters a disservice in our view. Despite enjoying our three-hour trek through Rose Winters’ fears, we still can’t help feeling unsatisfied.
Resident Evil Village: Third-person mode
The Shadows of Rose DLC also adds third-person mode to the original Resident Evil Village meaning the game can be played in the same style as RE4, RE5, and RE6, as well as the RE2 and RE3 remakes.
While Village worked exceedingly well in the first-person viewpoint, it’s also a triumph when played in this new style. The over-the-shoulder view feels natural and takes absolutely nothing away from the core experience.
It also makes Village feel like an entirely new game and we loved playing through it again to see how the new viewpoint changes key moments. It both surprised us and made us remember how much we enjoyed our earlier runs.
RE Village always had the right blend of horror and action and this new viewpoint gives players even more freedom to tailor the experience to their liking. The game has also often felt like a love letter to Resident Evil 4, and playing as Ethan Winters in the third-person makes RE Village feel even more like Leon’s iconic adventure.
And with a Resident Evil 4 remake around the corner now is the perfect time to return to Resident Evil Village.
The Mercenaries: Additional Orders
The Mercenaries is essentially a timed arcade mode in Resident Evil Village where the player defeats waves of enemies until the clock runs out. The mode made its debut way back in Resident Evil 3, although it was omitted from that game’s remake and RE7.
Players start out with the option to play as Ethan Winters and Chris Redfield, each with their own skills and weapons, before working their way through harder stages. The DLC also now lets players control Lady Dimitrescu and her ‘brother’ Karl Heisenberg – both with brand new abilities and styles of play.
The new characters feel like a breath of fresh air for Mercs mode as unlike the gunplay-heavy Ethan, each offers a fresh alternative to simply shooting and punching enemies that really spices up play. While we won’t reveal too much about how they play here, know that their abilities in Mercenaries mode match their characters from the main game in ways that work very well.
However, two of the characters still need to be unlocked even after installing the DLC. Also, if you weren’t into Mercenaries mode before the Shadows of Rose DLC, the addition of these new characters is unlikely to change much for you. Although, fans of the frantic minigame will find a lot to love.
The Verdict – 7/10
The Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose expansion provides lots of reasons to jump back into the game. The third-person mode alone gave us many more hours of fun in one of our favorite horror playgrounds in recent years.
From a technical point of view, the Shadows of Rose story chapter is more Resi goodness with some fun new gimmicks to change things up. The little chapter sits neatly alongside other bitesize Resident Evil stories, but those who were hoping for the third and final chapter in the Winters family saga may be left feeling slightly shortchanged.
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