Resident Evil Village: The Winters’ Expansion PS5 Review. Like him or not, Ethan Winters is a core part of Resi lore now, and has been for the past five years since his debut in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
While I have no problem with Capcom introducing new protagonists into the franchise, it doesn’t really help matters when, in Ethan’s case, you can’t even see their bloody face. I mean, it’s kind of hard to connect to someone when all you have is a voice and a pair of hands to look at.
Regardless of how you feel about Ethan, the $19.99 Winters’ Expansion is set to bring the curtains down on his family saga, with his daughter Rose playing a crucial role in the proceedings with Shadows of Rose.
Then there’s the new third-person mode (no, you still can’t see Ethan’s face) and some fresh Mercenaries content to keep you entertained. It is worth taking the plunge? Read on to find out.
Resident Evil Village: The Winters’ Expansion Review (PS5) – Closing The Book
Enter The Megamycete
Let’s first start with the main attraction here: Shadows of Rose. Set years after the events of the main campaign, this narrative-centric DLC is unique in the sense it allows Capcom free reign of the game’s lore and setting.
Without spoiling anything, Rose isn’t actually in the real world; instead her consciousness is assimilated into the megamycete. If you haven’t finished the main game, then make sure you to so before playing this.
Shadows of Rose revisits previous locations in the game such as the lavish gothic-soaked halls of Castle Dimitrescu, but while you may recognise the setting, there’s more than enough fresh distractions here to keep you hooked.
New enemies such as the Face Eaters – that is, shambling zombie-like mould monstrosities that literally attempt to suck Rose’s skin off – roam the halls, while pools of reddish goo look to impede your progress. Some areas are now completely blocked off by this stuff, which you’ll need Rose’s new powers to unlock.
Rose’s Powers Put A Unique Spin On Things
Hitting R1 allows you to calcify and remove blocked doorways and halls, and also counters attacks in close proximity or stuns groups of foe from afar. You can’t spam this needlessly though, as you have limited use for powers and can only restore it with a White Sage.
Intriguingly, a mysterious and disembodied entity guides the Winters daughter on her travels, providing you with hints and even supplies, which manifest as writing. It’s definitely a unique twist on the traditional Resi paradigm to say the least, and one that works well within in the context of the narrative.
Things get even more twisted as you make your way to new areas. I won’t spoil anything, but some of these sections require delicate use of stealth and patience, keeping things fresh and ensuring you’re never quite sure what you will face next.
Capcom has really gone to town in designing some of the more elaborate set pieces and environments in Shadows of Rose, which are layered in atmosphere and punctuated by creative puzzles to solve. The whole experience feels more psychological than straight horror, which is a welcome change of pace.
Shadows Of Rose Feels Like It Had More Potential, But It’s Still Solid DLC
It’s hard to criticise Shadows of Rose as it’s only DLC and not a full-length game, but at three-and-a-half hours it was over a little too quick. There was definitely room for one more major locations, and considering the creativity displayed throughout, it would have been interesting to see what Capcom could have done with, say, the swamp area.
By far the most egregious aspect is the ending; considering this is the end of the Winters saga, I felt a little cheated that there was some major recycling going on. I won’t says more, but you’ll understand when you see it.
The third-person mode meanwhile definitely makes Village feel less disparate from the recent titles; if anything, it now fits snugly as a cohesive work alongside RE2 and RE3. Your field of vision is less restrictive, although the weapons feel somewhat less punchy as you are more disconnected from the action.
Still, it’s worth playing through the main campaign again for a totally different perspective, and there’s no denying that Village feels great in third-person. Simply having a choice of a first or third-person perspective is a welcome addition in itself.
Locked & Loaded
The Mercenaries: Additional Orders meanwhile sees the combat-focused mini-game fleshed out considerably, as it was pretty barebones at launch. Ethan returns, but now you have Chris, Lady Dimitrescu and Karl Heisenberg to play as.
These aren’t just mere reskins of Ethan: Each character is unique in terms of loadout and abilities, giving you plenty to experiment with. Mr. Winters is the all-around character, while Chris is a bruiser who lets his fists do the talking; hitting L1 & R1 once you’ve filled up a gauge further increases his speed and power.
Lady D and Heisenberg are far more unorthodox in their approach to combat, as they make use of their unique powers as mould-infested mutants.
Using the towering Lady D’s claws and unleashing her daughters as a special ability brings a whole new dimension to the standard gunplay, while Heisenberg’s ability to manipulate metal gives allows you to really go to down in raking in the kills. The extra stages also make it worth plugging away at.
If you’re new to Resident Evil Village, then simply picking up the Gold Edition will net you the core experience and everything in the Winters’ Expansion. Quite simply, you can’t go wrong. Even if you own the game already, it’s worth plonking down the cash for the Winters’ Expansion to truly see out the saga and keep plugging away at the main story and Mercenaries.
Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition and the Winters’ Expansion are due out on October 28, 2022 for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One.
Review code kindly provided by the publisher.