I reviewed (and loved) Resident Evil Village when it released last year, stating that:
“Resident Evil Village offers another fantastic survival horror romp that utilises plenty of ideas from the series to make for one remarkable release. It brings together horror and action in the most effective way seen from the series so far, with the all-out action sequences joined by those that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat as you evade relentless creatures or uncover eerie sights.”
As a long-time Resident Evil fan, the game delivered everything I hoped for, whilst the eventual promise of more content to come in the future left me even more excited. And it’s finally here in the form of the Winters’ Expansion, giving players the chance to not only re-visit the main game from a new perspective (literally), but also offering a whole new story to explore playing as Ethan’s daughter Rose.
Check out some screenshots down below:
There’s no doubting that the Shadows of Rose campaign stands out as the star of the show with the Winters’ Expansion, with the story continuing after the conclusion of the main game and putting players in the role of Ethan’s daughter Rose. It sees her returning to the village too, though not in a physical form; instead, it all takes place within her mind, though that doesn’t make it any less dangerous for her.
Whilst the vast majority of the game takes place in areas players would have already explored in the main game, Shadows of Rose still offers more than enough to keep the experience exciting and fresh. A lot of this is due to a shift in gameplay, with Rose not exactly battle-hardened like her father, but instead having to rely on being sneaky and avoiding enemies in order to survive. She does have a few special abilities to unlock that can slow them down, but ultimately, it’s all about staying safe as opposed to taking the fight to the monsters that stalk you.
There’ll be plenty of time spent simply trying to avoid enemies, though there are some solid elements of puzzle-solving to be found too. In fact, some of the puzzles on offer here bettered those found in the main game, especially in the latter half where the pace slows down a bit. It’s really good stuff and ensures that Rose’s adventure feels substantial, even IF it will only take players around two to three hours to beat it.
“Shadows of Rose really ramps up the tension, bringing with it plenty of eerie and sinister scenes that shift away from the more action-orientated focus of the main game.”
I think the thing I liked the most about Shadows of Rose was just how creepy it was. Outside of a few scenes in Resident Evil Village (if you played it, you know what I’m talking about), it felt less frightening than its predecessor. However, Shadows of Rose really ramps up the tension, bringing with it plenty of eerie and sinister scenes that shift away from the more action-orientated focus of the main game. I found myself genuinely creeped out on more than a few occasions, with it certainly living up to the horror that the series is so beloved for.
On the flip-side, it does end with more of a whimper than a bang, with Shadows of Rose not really giving players the sort of conclusion they might have hoped for. Whilst I enjoyed the storytelling and liked Rose as a character, I was hoping for a clear idea as to what we can expect next from this side of the Resident Evil story. Instead? I was left with more questions. It doesn’t stop Shadows of Rose from being a real treat to play though, so it’s hard to complain too much.
Those who have found themselves fully invested in the game’s Mercenaries mode will be happy to see some new additions included here too, with two new maps and three new characters (Chris Redfield, Lady Dimitrescu and Karl Heisenberg) giving players plenty to play around with. Whilst Chris plays exactly like you’d expect him to, Lady Dimitrescu and Karl Heisenberg bring some welcome variety to the mode thanks to their more unique skillsets. Ever wanted to slice up enemies with Lady Dimitrescu’s claws or smash them up with Karl Heisenberg’s hammer? You can now, with both proving to be a lot of fun to play as and offering a whole new way to experience the mode.
Check out some screenshots down below:
With new challenges also brought to the mode (you can’t actually play as Karl Heisenberg until you complete some of them), there’s plenty of incentive to come back and rack up those high scores. Given that Shadows of Rose isn’t too long, the new Mercenaries content certainly helps flesh out the package.
Finally, we have the inclusion of the third-person camera mode, which allows players to experience the original game from an over the shoulder perspective. Whilst I’ve been a big fan of the shift to a first-person perspective with the series, it felt refreshing to be able to play Resident Evil Village from a more ‘traditional’ perspective – even if it DID make some scenes feel a little less impactful. It’s a cool addition, and whilst some may argue it should have been included as a free update, it certainly feels like the cherry on top of the Winters’ Expansion content.
Resident Evil Village: Winters' Expansion Review
Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion is a worthy package thanks to its short-but-sweet Shadows of Rose campaign and fresh Mercenaries content. Sure, it is a little bit disappointing that you don’t really get to explore any new areas as Rose, but the blend of clever puzzles, sneaky gameplay, and the eerie atmosphere ensure it’s still a lot of fun to play. And come on, who wouldn’t want to play as Lady Dimitrescu or Karl Heisenberg in Mercenaries? Add to that the fact it also allows you play the main game from a third-person perspective, and it’ll be clear that the Winters’ Expansion offers more than enough to keep Resident Evil Village fans very happy.
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC