Like Father, Like Daughter

HIGH Nightmarish imagery and enemies.

LOW A shortage of fantastical fungus powers.

WTF is the Winters motto.

In 2017, Resident Evil 7 reinvigorated a franchise that many thought was past its prime.

A refocusing on survival horror over action, a first-person perspective realizing the initial title’s original intent, a mystery plot mostly unburdened by series lore — much has been said about these things elsewhere, but one aspect I’d like to highlight is its new protagonist, Ethan Winters.

Ethan was an everyman caught up in fantastical circumstances with the simple goal of
rescuing his missing wife. Although mostly a blank slate for the player to imprint
themselves upon, he nonetheless approached events with an understandable incredulity and avoided the usual aloof, cool-as-a-cucumber energy common to leading men. The fact that he often says “WTF…” kind of sums him up.

In the Shadows of Rose campaign — the main course of the Winters’ DLC expansion for
Resident Evil Village — Ethan’s now-teenage daughter continues that legacy as a more
relatable protagonist than the mill of tough supercop-types that have saturated the
series. Although only three hours long, the content is a superb distillation of what made
Village such a treat, further elevated by artistic flourishes only possible through its unreal

Returning to a third-person perspective, Rose travels through a mindrealm imprinted on
a laboratory sample of the mutamycete (the magical black mold that causes the events of RE7
and Village) as she seeks a way to rid herself of the powers granted to her by thanks to her
unusual lineage.

Even moreso than its predecessor, Shadows flits between several gameplay types. It
starts as the rather familiar mansion exploration, blasting shuffling monsters with only
limited ammunition, before playing with escape room and stealth mechanics.

While each section of the campaign is solid (with the return to the doll house being a particular
highlight) there are some missed opportunities thanks to the half-baked implementation of
Rose’s powers. Players get charges of mold energy that can be used as a means to
open new areas or stun enemies and… that’s about it.

There is a final boss fight where a slew of new abilities are unlocked, all over-the-top and ultimately
some high notes to end the campaign on, but this bombast just demonstrates how much more could’ve been added throughout. However, implementing those wild powers from the finale would’ve required a much different game, however, and Winters’ is really just another visit to the village.

As such, Capcom gets away with remixing familiar locations and re-using assets because this is a dreamscape remembrance of those people and places. Its most interesting and terrifying setpieces are those unconstrained by the real — a display of mutilated Rose copies, murderous giant-sized dolls, and the scariest mannequins I’ve yet come across in the genre. It’s a dash of unexplained and ephemeral Silent Hill in a series that has typically taken painstaking efforts to explain itself through science fiction schlock.

They can’t help themselves, though. Similar to the base game’s campaign, it has a room towards the end filled with notes that explain some of the supernatural within the setting’s own internal logic. It’s weak storytelling that should’ve been revealed in dribs and drabs — but even then, why bother? Embrace the weird, Capcom.

Those explanations do not diminish the strong emotional core of the campaign, however. This DLC is Rose’s coming-of-age and ultimate acceptance of her powers while the mutamycete plays on her insecurities. When all is revealed, the script slows for a brief rest and the finale is as satisfying as it is tragic. No Resident Evil I’ve yet played has ever plucked at my heartstrings so effectively.

In terms of content apart from Rose’s journey, The DLC also includes the option to play the main Village campaign in third person.

There’s certainly an audience for this, capturing the essence of the Resident Evil 2 and 3
remake, but I found it mostly distracting. While that extra situational awareness can help prevent taking
unexpected damage from enemies outside the first-person sightline, this is still very clearly a game designed for its original vision. Object interactions can be janky, and cutscenes will jarringly go to first-person and back to third when gameplay starts up again.

The final piece of the DLC consists of additional characters for Mercenaries, a horde mode where
players fight through levels racking up points for killing enemies. The Winters’ Expansion
adds three new characters — famous boulder-puncher Chris Redfield and two of Village’s
antagonists, Heisenberg and the meme queen Lady Dimitrescu, who play decidedly
differently than the gun-toting protagonists.

Heisenberg wields his big hammer, has Magneto-like powers and can summon a
mechanical monstrosity. However, the big girl is the best addition, adding a “thrill” meter that
unlocks different attacks but must be kept up with kills. Lady Dimitrescu adds laughter to the
slaughter as she shreds enemies with her claws, and it gives the mode an infectiously gleeful energy.

While the Winters’ Expansion offers some neat new toys to play with, it’s the Shadows of Rose campaign that is its triumph. Despite a few blemishes and a short length, it once again proves that Resident Evil still has a lot to give. I just hope we get to see Rose again, perhaps with a few new powers under her belt.
The series’ original characters should all be pushing 50 by now, and she’s just the fresh
face to carry the series forward — out with the old, in with the mold.

Rating: 8 out of 10

— Stephen Cook

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Capcom. It is currently available on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, XBO, and XBX. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 10 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed.  There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Strong Language. This is a survival-horror action game in which players assume the role of a girl (Rose Winters). From a third-person perspective, players explore environment sand use pistols and shotguns
to shoot and kill fantastical creatures. Some attacks result in decapitation of enemies; some areas depict bloodstains and corpses within the environment.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. (See example above.) The subtitles can be altered and/ or resized. Unfortunately there are no visual cues to help with growls or other monster sounds coming from offscreen. Players who have hearing issues should be ready to take a few hits after being caught by surprise. This game is not fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable when using a controller. Keyboard and mouse bindings are remappable.

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