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It’s been well over a year since Resident Evil Village shambled into our PCs and consoles with one of the most interesting and fan-appealing games in the franchise. People were throwing around awards and recommendations all over the place. Resident Evil Village has become a game that snuck onto my personal Top 5 of 2021 list at number 2 and even got me to admit that some of the things that the game took from Resident Evil 4 actually got me interested enough to not only play Resident Evil Village again but also my much hated Resident Evil 4. (Resident Evil VII: Biohazard. On the other hand, I’m still waiting for a reason and time to replay). So how does adding things like Third Person mode and a whole new story into the successful game add to the experience? Let’s return to the world of Survival Horror and find out…

Resident Evil Village DLC, Resident Evil Village, Winters Expansion

Name: Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition (Winters Expansion DLC)
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch Cloud
Developer: CAPCOM
Publisher: CAPCOM
Game Type: Survival horror, Action
Mode(s): Single Player
Release Date: October 28, 2022

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Shadows of Rose: A Story of Two Worlds

Story Recap (SPOILERS)

Shadows of Rose Story: Click to read at own risk

Rose, now sixteen years old, has been separated from Mia while under the protection of Chris. She has grown to become an outcast due to her special abilities gained from the Megamycete and resents her powers. Rose’s colleague, K, informs her from Miranda’s research that there is a special Purifying Crystal within the realm of the Megamycete that can remove Rose’s abilities; he proposes that she find the rest of Miranda’s research inside the consciousness of the Megamycete fragment that he has salvaged. Rose complies and uses her powers to enter the mind of the Megamycete, where she discovers herself in a realm similar to Dimitrescu’s castle. There, she finds it covered in spewing mold, with monsters led by a nefarious version of the Duke attacking and killing clones of herself. She is helped by a guiding spirit who names itself Michael. Despite Michael’s advice to leave the Megamycete, Rose persists to find the crystal and rid herself of her powers. With Michael’s help, Rose fights through her opponents and escapes the castle but falls into a deeper stratum within the Megamycete.

Rose finds herself in a replica of Beneviento’s house, where she relives her traumatic childhood as a victim of bullying with the realm’s leader blaming her father’s absence. To comfort Rose, Michael shows her a realm similar to her house as a baby. However, the realm’s perpetrator reveals herself to be Eveline, who is jealous of Rose due to being a failed and unloved experiment before Michael once again helps Rose escape. Rose finds herself in yet another deeper stratum that resembles the village where she was kidnapped. There, she discovers and uses the Purifying Crystal, but she is horrified to find a still-alive Miranda.

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She reveals that K was an illusion to lure Rose into the Megamycete. Still determined to revive Eva, Miranda intends to drain Rose’s powers and use her as a vessel. Michael manifests and reveals himself to be Ethan’s spirit within the Megamycete and helps Rose escape. Ethan is heavily wounded and encourages her to leave for good, but Rose breaks the crystal and embraces her powers to destroy Miranda completely. Rose embraces her wounded father and finally gets to talk with him. Ethan apologizes for not being there for her upbringing, but he tells Rose that he is proud of her. Rose leaves the Megamycete’s consciousness and visits Ethan’s grave before being called away for a mission on behalf of an undisclosed organization. As she and her escort drive off into the distance, an unknown figure is seen approaching their vehicle.

Story Review

Playing Shadows of Rose was an interesting, but very trope-filled, experience. You have Rose going through rejection, then acceptance, of her powers and who she is as a person being the driving narrative of the game. You also get to see more of Ethan’s devotion to his daughter, even after his death in Resident Evil Village, through the game too. There aren’t as many twists and turns in Shadows of Rose as there are in Resident Evil Village, but the development is much better and closes a couple of doors from both Village and Resident Evil VII: Biohazard (The connection to Resident Evil VII is weird and makes little sense to newcomers, but veteran Resident Evil players will know why that happens) while leaving you with the biggest blue balls moment in the finale.

However, the way Shadows of Rose uses its setting and atmosphere is something that makes it slightly superior to Resident Evil Village in a story sense. Having Rose enter the “mind” of the Megamycete allows for more personal and targeted scares and moments that Resident Evil Village could not accomplish, leading to a much darker and scarier story and game that left me having a huge “Nope, fuck this noise” moment more than once, and that is a GREAT thing. I’ve been playing Survival Horror games for decades, along with watching almost every Horror movie under the sun thanks to my wife being a Horror buff, and I thought I couldn’t be scared by something like this, but I was, and that makes me happy… and my pants brown.

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Resident Evil Village DLC, Resident Evil Village, Winters Expansion

First or Third Person? (Graphics)

Ok, let’s get the main thing over and done with: Third-Person mode is awesome! As much as I got used to the first-person mode in Resident Evil Village, there is something much more creepy and yet also familiar about playing Resident Evil Village and Shadows of Rose in the third person. It could just be personal preference, but playing the game in the third person added much more to the creep factor than the first-person mode ever did.

A lot of the creep factor comes from the game itself, Resident Evil Village was some tense atmosphere due to the fact that you would have someone, or something, chasing after you throughout Resident Evil Village at all times. With Shadows of Rose, it’s the surroundings themselves that become the scary part. Going through the locations that showcase Shadows of Rose is familiar as they are the same layouts as they were in Village, but this time you have the added threat of the Megamycete spawning enemies at any time, or other creatures working through your fears.

To be honest, when Shadows of Rose channels Doctor Who‘s Wheaping Angels in the second half of the game, I originally nope’d the fuck out of the game for a while till I regained enough mental strength to come back and continue. This was something that hasn’t happened to be in a Horror game since that baby chase in Village. To say that Shadows of Rose keeps the best of Village and then makes it a hell of a lot harder, or at least more intense, is an understatement. I died a few times because I was in full panic mode, and that’s a huge credit to Shadows of Rose‘s game design and visuals.

Speaking of Village, going back and playing the game again (For the 100th or so time since the original came out) in third-person really changes how you view and play the game. Having more of the world around you visible at all times makes it a lot easier to plan your method of attack, or see something coming before it gets you. Yes, it does take away some of the scare factors that were present with first-person, but Village is no less terrifying in either mode.

However, one thing I did notice is that on the PC version of Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition is that for some reason I’m unable to work out, the framerate dipped so badly when entering Castle Dimitrescu. I found it hard to play, as Ethan was walking so slowly that it was obvious that something was wrong. Before people start throwing shade in the comments, my PC is no slouch. I’m running a Ryzen 5 3600 with 32Gb of RAM and an NVidia RTX 2070 8Gb graphics card. Though I will admit, it could be a driver issue as, at the time of writing, it’s possible an update to the NVidia drivers for Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition are not available yet.

Resident Evil Village DLC, Resident Evil Village, Winters Expansion

Horror Takes on Different Forms (Gameplay)

To be honest, there isn’t too much that has changed with Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition that we didn’t already know from Resident Evil Village. You spend a lot of time either avoiding or shooting everything from Lykens, mold monsters, and other things that were already present in the first version of the game. The only new technique that is exclusive to Shadows of Rose is the “light” mechanic, whereby focusing her Megamycete powers, Rose can destroy the cores of the Megamycete blocking her path, and stunning the Megamycete Mold Monsters for a moment. I will also say that for some reason, even playing on PlayStation 5, Rose runs at a rate that is slower than Ethan walking uphill, which really kills her ability to move and dodge, leading to me getting caught in unstoppable (Till you get the stun ability) grab attacks from all enemies so much I raged hard and wanted to smash my $100 (Australian pricing) PlayStation 5 controller.

Both Resident Evil Village (Third-Person) and Shadows of Rose follow the same “fight or flight” gameplay that has been linked with Resident Evil since the beginning. You spend a lot of time working your way through locations in the village (Not telling what areas due to not wanting to spoil Shadows of Rose), unlocking more of each area through finding puzzle items and keys that are scattered throughout each zone before moving on to the next one. Along the way, you might scavenge up some ammo, healing items, and crafting items. A big difference between the two is that there is no Duke available in Shadows of Rose, removing the gun upgrades (skills, not parts. You still find parts in Shadows of Rose), and buying options. Yet you still have the case inventory system in both games, which people seem to love for some reason.

One last thing that Shadows of Rose does that Resident Evil Village does not, is stealth sections. While we got some interesting one-shot chases in Village, Shadows of Rose creates some of the best “Nope, I’m out” moments in the second half of the game by outdoing the House Beneviento section while using the same assets! To say that there are things in the second section of Shadows of Rose that will make people feel the same creepy feeling that the damn baby thing did is one thing, but to outdo it with something very simple… Chef’s kiss. Tell any Doctor Who fan “Don’t Blink” and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about… Yep, fuck that noise thank you very much.

Resident Evil Village DLC, Resident Evil Village, Winters Expansion

Should we return to the Village? (Replayability)

Much like Resident Evil Village, Shadows of Rose is a one-and-done experience. Neither game changes based upon finishing it. There is no remix mode or things like that which have become a great thing in the Resident Evil modding scene, which is a shame because something like that would freshen up both games to be worth playing again. However, even by changing the viewing mode, the game is still the same. The only part that is worth playing over and over is the Mercenaries mode, which got an update with Chris Redfield, Lady Dimitrescu, and Karl Heisenberg being added to the playable roster. So if you want to mow down the hordes of enemies as Big Booba Vampyre Lady, or that metal-throwing asshole, then you can do so… Or you can be boring and shoot more things as Chris Redfield.

The only other thing that is going to appeal to people is getting back into speedrunning. Resident Evil Village is getting speed-ran at a rate of sub 1 hour 30 minutes for the top place, and with third-person available, it could be possible that it’s going to get lower. Shadows of Rose is sitting at a sub-1-hour speed run on launch day! So it looks like Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition is going to be seen more on streams as people look to do those records.

Outside of Resident Evil Village, Mercenaries Mode, and Shadows of Rose, you can always give RE:Verse a go… AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… No. No one plays that. Go play the Resident Evil characters in Dead by Daylight instead.

Resident Evil Village DLC, Resident Evil Village, Winters Expansion

An Expansion with no Closure (Closing)

Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition is what we should have gotten with Resident Evil Village, to begin with. A mixture of the first and third-person modes allows players a choice in how they play the game. Nether mode is better than the other and creates fear and scares in its own way, giving Resident Evil Village a good mark when it comes to creating an atmosphere that scares the shit out of you no matter how you play. Shadows of Rose shows that the developers saw the bar they raised with Resident Evil Village and decided to go above and beyond with the expansion story to the point where they have created something that is a great blend of action and Survival Horror.

However, there is so much Resident Evil 4 Remake in Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition (Or is it too much Resident Evil VII & Resident Evil Village in the upcoming Resident Evil 4 Remake?) that I still hold my stance from my original review that Village (See the opening paragraph of this review for a link to that one) was nothing more than a test to see if the developers could make a Resident Evil 4 Remake for modern audiences while making a few extra dollars on the side. After finishing Shadows of Rose, with its ending adding NOTHING to the overall or upcoming end to the Ethan Winters trilogy, I’m not sure if I should recommend this expansion or not… But I’m going to anyway because it seems that with every step, the Resident Evil development team is making nothing but gold.

Review Disclosure Statement: Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition (Winter’s Expansion DLC) was provided to us by CAPCOM for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.

Summary

Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition is a perfect package of improvements and additions to the main game that makes it well worth the purchase. The improvement of adding the third-person viewing option gives access to more people who will now be able to play the game for the first time while giving people who have already played Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition a reason to revisit the game. The addition of Shadows of Rose shows that the developers know they raised the bar with Resident Evil Village and wanted to top it with a more frightening and grounded atmosphere while keeping things as outlandish as they were in Resident Evil Village.

Pros

  • Shadows of Rose is a scary step up from Resident Evil Village.
  • Those fucking <Creature> in the second act.
  • Third-Person mode gives a reason to return to the Village.

Cons

  • The PC version has frame drops like crazy.
  • Shadows of Rose‘s ending give players blue balls.
  • Rose’s movement isn’t as quick as it should be.