Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose (PS4)

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Evan Norris
posted 23 hours ago / 1,400 views

Reviewer’s note: This review contains SPOILERS for Resident Evil Village.

Resident Evil Village is a difficult act to follow. It represents one of the most ambitious, diverse, and satisfying titles in the long-running survival horror series. Hoping to build on this solid foundation, Capcom has decided to extend the life of Town with “Winters’ Expansion”, which includes third-person mode; new playable characters and stages in Mercenaries mode; and, most importantly, a major DLC campaign called “Shadows of Rose” which follows the adventures of Rosemary Winters. The question, then, is this: is “Shadows of Rose” good enough to emerge from the shadow of Town?

Shadows of Rose takes place 16 years after the conclusion of Town. Ethan Winters’ daughter, Rose, is now a super-powered teenager working in an indefinite capacity with Chris Redfield and struggling to live a normal life. When the opportunity arises to tap into a piece of the fungal megafungus from the base game and, in doing so, permanently remove its unwanted powers, Rose jumps at the chance. Soon she is trapped in a mysterious realm of consciousness filled with new nightmares.

The story of Shadows of Rose is, like Rose’s superpower, both a blessing and a curse. The good news is that it provides a satisfying coda to the events of Resident Evil 7 and Town, and provides a platform for Rose to process her trauma and grief. The less good news is that it unfolds in a very cliched way. The plot “I want a normal life” has been done many times before, and in several cases has been done better. Still, it’s hard not to cheer on Rose, who’s been through a lot.

Rose’s current trials begin in a familiar place: Castle Dimitrescu. There she must collect three masks to unlock access to a special stone that will reverse her powers. Standing in its way are the typical resident Evil roadblocks: locked doors, puzzle rooms and horrible monsters. As she explores the castle, entirely from a third-person perspective, she must search for keys, masks, weapons, and crafting materials while avoiding or confronting blood-seeking cast humanoids.

This traditional resident Evil the gameplay works quite well, with some drawbacks. The fight is a highlight. Rose has a limited set of guns/explosives, but she can pair those weapons with her superpowers to great effect. At the start of the DLC, our heroine will learn to use her abilities not only to destroy molded blocks, but also to stun monsters, allowing her to escape or line up a few head shots. She has a limited number of charges, so you’ll need to think strategically about when to use a power, when to spend precious bullets and shells, and when to just run for your life.

The absolute pinnacle of Shadows of Rose takes place on the outward and return journey of the second mask. This is where players must hold off an unstoppable brute, deal with mixed cast creatures, and unlock a path forward in real time. He represents the kind of dangerous improvisational game that makes the series so special.

Unfortunately, these scenarios are rare. In most cases, the flow of the game feels guided and, in some cases, scripted. There’s a bit too much on-track chase sequence, and an abundance of clues and helping hands. The most obvious of these is “Michael”, Rose’s assistant in the realm of consciousness. Michael is a mysterious figure who cannot speak or take physical form, but conveys useful messages to Rose. This creates an interesting narrative dynamic, but also robs the DLC of some of its dread. Having a “guardian angel” nearby means you’re never really alone.

Now the developers who created “Shadows of Rose” find a way to introduce a generous helping of horror later in the adventure when Michael’s email is blocked. There’s a sequence so terrifying that you might find yourself frozen in fear. For all those who are afraid of the weeping angels of Doctor Whoyou have been warned.

One thing that won’t cause panic: the game’s runtime. This DLC arrives in a pleasantly surprising four hours, about 35% as long as Town. There are also three difficulty levels, for people who want to experience Rose’s journey more than once.

In terms of graphics, “Shadows of Rose” looks just as good as the base game, although you might get tired of seeing the exact same settings and backgrounds from Ethan’s European adventure. The sound design is as impeccable as ever. The distant creaks, moans and moans of this campaign will cause deep unease and a sense of impending doom.

In the end, “Shadows of Rose” cannot be compared to Resident Evil Village, one of the very best games of 2021. It suffers from cliched situations, recycled environments, and overly guided gameplay. That said, it’s a pretty good DLC that fixes some issues, provides closure, and introduces some interesting mechanics and monsters. Those who are eager to return to Town and learn more about the Winters’ legacy will appreciate this campaign for what it is; other fans less invested in the mythology of the franchise should just stick with the excellent base game.

This review is based on a digital copy of Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose for PS4, provided by the publisher.

Learn more about our review methodology here

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