Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose Review: A Beautifully Terrifying End (PS5)

Resident Evil: Shadows of Rose is the story DLC included with the Gold Edition and Winters Expansion for Resident Evil Village. Jumping ahead 16 years since Village, much of the same gameplay and locations are maintained with a splash of new flavors. The summation of the parts is a horror game experience worthy of the Resident Evil title and an emotionally impactful closing to the Winters’ story.

Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose Review: A Beautifully Terrifying End (PS5

The eighth mainline installment to the Resident Evil franchise was released nearly a year and a half ago. Finally, an expansion to the horror game is available in the gold edition or as a separate package of downloadable content called the Winters Expansion. In this expansion is a new story DLC called Shadows of Rose. The DLC brings back everything from Village with a few additions that may be surprising and refreshing to players. Given the relatively short runtime compared to a full title, much has been stripped down. And, as it turns out, that is not a bad thing.

As a whole, Shadows of Rose is presented as a closing to the story of the Winters family. Though that is true, more than enough additional lore is sprinkled throughout. New characters, the return of some old faces, and the strange science fueling the Umbrella Corporation litter every corner.

Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose is now available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Steam.

This review contains minor spoilers for Resident Evil Biohazard and Resident Evil Village.


Story- Monstrous Loss

The story picks up between the end of Resident Evil Village gameplay and the post-credits scene. Sixteen years have passed since Ethan Winters traversed the fresh terrors of the titular village and saved his daughter, Rose. Throughout the events of Village, Rose develops supernatural gifts herself. As a teen, these powers have become a nuisance that she wishes to rid herself of.

As a change to form for the series, the hero does not find themself in a strange place filled with various science experiments gone wrong. Instead, Rose travels into a Realm of Conscious shared within the hivemind of the megamycete from Biohazard and Village. This is a more cerebral reconstruction of the village where memories combine.

Message provided by the mysterious figure helping Rose on her journey.

Message provided by the mysterious figure helping Rose on her journey.

Inside the shared consciousness, Rose searches for a way to remove the powers and free herself from the burden they impose. All the while facing creatures, solving puzzles, and unraveling the mystery of a cryptic helper.

Without crossing the line into spoiler territory, the story has a clear emotional payoff. Though not unheard of, this is not the first thing expected from a Resident Evil game. It is not the most surprising twist, but what is shown is not the impactful part. How it plays out is what is a masterwork.

Gameplay- Mostly Old With a Garnish of New

In short, the gameplay is more of Biohazard and Village. It is more of the same, but that is not a bad thing at all. If something works, then changing something just for the sake of change can be a hindrance.

Weapons are still few and far between, with ammo sparse. When facing down a creature crawling out of a fleshy hole in the wall, shots need to be accurate, while aiming is a little touchy but still doable. Because resources are scarce, the classic Resident Evil inventory management is still relevant. In a few places, resources are plentiful. This means picking and choosing what to discard becomes paramount.

Environmental puzzle involving the placement of gothic statues.

Environmental puzzle involving the placement of gothic statues.

The game takes place in a version of the main game’s titular village but is narrowed down in scope. Rather than things being more minor just to cut down the map for the smaller size of the DLC works, however. Given that the game takes place sixteen years later and within the Realm of Consciousness, having some areas inaccessible due to decay makes sense. It feels like a different implementation of the now iconic Silent Hill fog. What is directly viewed as atmospheric and a needed piece of the universe started as a way to cover up the slow texture loading.

Every stage of the game is centered around a central environmental puzzle with a few smaller ones hidden throughout. Each was a fun little game within themselves while avoiding crossing that line into frustration. Some require a basic understanding of the game’s mechanics, while others take a little real-world common sense.

The most significant change brought to this DLC story expansion is the aforementioned supernatural powers. This connection between Rose and the megamycete allows her to interact with parts of the environment in new ways and slow down certain monster types. Like most games, this requires special items that increase the strength of these powers as the game progresses. Using these abilities is not entirely preventable but can be avoided for a more classic Resident Evil experience.

Audio and Graphics- Polished With a Few Dents

At all moments, there is a quiet tune playing. Whether it is a string quartet plucking, gentle piano dancing a melody, or sharp picking of a banjo, a song is playing. And the piece fits the environment Rose travels through. Castle Dimitrescu is filled with more elegant and flowing music, while The Dollhouse floods with staccato notes that are uneasy and anxious. This constant song rumbling in the background makes the harsh and sudden chords strike scares all the more powerful.

Mold spread across the room and threatening Rose.

Mold spread across the room and threatening Rose.

Aside from the music, everything makes noise. Rubber soles of shoes tap across stone floors, the creaking of tattered floorboards, and the wet squelching of the molded are thematic. The only problem is that sounds sometimes align with the source. Occasionally, the sloppy stomps of a molded echoed from Rose’s right only to have her attacked from the left, or an eerie giggle came from around a corner only for the threat to lurk behind the whole time.

Graphically, Shadows of Rose meets the same levels as Village. The world as a whole is beautifully rendered and hauntingly realistic, with a few minor exceptions. One issue that the franchise struggles with is the character’s hair. As little detail as this may seem, given that Rose has long, flowing, blonde locks, the contrast is significant enough to be distracting.

The game ran at a comfortable 60 fps for the entire playthrough. If there were any frame rate drops, they were small enough to go unnoticed. Everything was rendered and ran smoothly, sufficient to make it a captivating experience from beginning to end.

Rose holding a power amplifier.

Rose holding a power amplifier.

Shadows of Rose is a strange blend of new and old. The overall gameplay feels more of the same as Resident Evil Biohazard and Village while adding some new mechanics. Maps have been repurposed from Village, but things are changed just enough to make them feel unique. The world as a whole is primarily polished and thematically designed. All of this wraps together into a short story that carries the science fiction horror expected from a Resident Evil game with unexpected emotional weight. Problems exist here and there, but the biggest is that it could have been longer.

Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose is a worth story expansion to the game. Though it is rough around a few edges and brushes over some interesting points the DLC is a horrifying and emotional ride. Though short, it is a fitting end to the Winters' family story.
  • Surprisingly powerful story
  • Familiar mechanics with a few new additions
  • A return to familiar places that have changed and made fresh again
  • Engaging puzzles that do not cross the line into needlessly frustrating
  • Occasional graphic and performance drops
  • New pieces of lore introduced with no promise to continue
  • Some story twists are easily guessed

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