Title: Resident Evil Village: Winters' Expansion
Release Date: October 27, 2022
Reviewed On: PS5
Genre: Horror Adventure
The story and gameplay elements that made Resident Evil Village a stand-out entry in the series put a lot of pressure on the Winters’ Expansion. Giving players additional story content and ways to enjoy the game doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I feel like this goes without saying, but this DLC is geared toward hardcore fans who just can’t get enough. The real enjoyment comes less from the narrative that aims to package this entire story up for fans and more from the additional content awaiting players in Mercenaries mode and added replayability options.
Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion includes a new Story chapter featuring Rose, who is in search of a normal life. She hates her powers, and those who haven’t completed the base game up to this point will have no idea what I’m talking about. That said, it’s not required to beat the game for this content. I would actually suggest even replaying the base game in the updated third-person mode if only to get accustomed to navigating this world outside of the first-person.
Rose is a great protagonist. She’s curious, strong, and clever. It’s good that she understands her situation and doesn’t really question the fact that she’s not in reality. Instead, she spends more time trying to understand how to get rid of her powers, all while a strange voice encourages her to simply leave. The relationship with her and the mysterious writing on the wall provides a sense of comfort. Almost as if you’re not really alone here.
In terms of actual horror elements, I think there are some scary moments, but this narrative is mainly psychological. Since Rose understands it’s a dream, so does the player. Everything that happens in this reality has less weight compared to when you were navigating the world as Ethan Winters. This brings up the issue that you are essentially playing a bite-sized version of the base game. You travel many of the same halls and dungeons, ending the game in the same area but with updated puzzles.
I don’t think I liked this approach and would have enjoyed a more unique experience. The best parts are when you find yourself in an area that you’ve never been to or one that has been altered with new set pieces. The length of the story is also rather short, although I enjoyed this aspect as it makes the perfect weekend experience.
Puzzles are tied to Rose’s powers, along with some item collecting. It’s standard Resident Evil fair, but the use of powers is likely the most unique element of this experience. Throughout the DLC, she becomes stronger and more comfortable using these powers, which ties into her growth as a character. It’s fun in execution, but the enemy encounters feel more like an action title at times since it’s tough to even avoid most encounters.
The extra Mercenaries levels are also packaged in this experience. Typically this requires you to clear the game to gain access, but here, it’s available from the extra content. It’s a decent experience and offers more than the base game Mercenaries, so it becomes a balancing act of satisfying old fans and giving those who didn’t enjoy it a chance to try it out again.
The third-person mode makes a fun way to return to the base game. It marks a change for the series as well, in my eyes. With Biohazard and Village adopting the first-person gameplay, it’s interesting to see Capcom slowly distance themselves with the release of the remake efforts and this DLC. Regardless, it works, although you can easily see this game was meant to be played in the first person.
Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion is mainly for the fans. Those who wish to tie up loose ends and experience a condensed narrative will find that in Shadows of Rose. The additional content is likely there to sweeten the deal, which makes the entire package worth it in my eyes.
As reluctant as I was to return to these places, I felt Rose was a great protagonist, and I’m eager, if not happily terrified, to see what comes next for the series.
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