Back in May 2021, we were all dodging Covid and enjoying the latest instalment of Resident Evil. Resident Evil Village blew me away and was given a 9/10 for its efforts. Consequently, when the Winters’ Expansion DLC was announced, I was very excited. This excellent addition focuses on 2 unique game modes. The first sees the return of Mercenaries mode, the second adds a fresh storyline with an unlikely protagonist. As such, it incorporates some mindless arcade fun and a new but familiar adventure experience.
Developed and published by Capcom Co, Ltd. this is a horror adventure title. Furthermore, it is story-rich, and gory, and has a wonderful blend of evil and wicked characters. Alongside this, it retains many much-loved mechanics while delivering some original elements along the way. If you’ve played the base game, you’ll experience many of the excellent locations again. Now, this may seem a bit lazy, but it is not. Instead, the developers have twisted each area to complement the fresh tale and the new protagonists.
Winters’ Expansion: an unlikely protagonist.
Shadows of Rose explores a story 16 years after the original. You control Rosemary Winters, Ethan’s daughter. During the original story, she is but a mere child. However, now, she has some unusual powers. With psychic abilities, Rose is a tough adversary. Furthermore, her twisted experiences within the familiar locations are brutal, haunting, and unbelievably scary. Her DLC runs for around 3-4 hours and comprises 3 key moments. The first and the last are nothing unusual and follow standard Resident Evil tropes. However, the middle section is phenomenal.
During this time, you’ll enjoy some delightful stealth elements. Here, the story truly shines and the horror moments pop. Without spoiling it for you, there are plenty of jump scares, eerie experiences, and a fantastic and fascinating plot. Talking about the story, this 3 or so hour endeavour ties in nicely with the base game. Consequently, fans of the series can devour some interesting lore while closing off a few loose ends.
The first and third sections concentrate on the usual shooting, searching, and minor puzzles. As such, this happens to be the weakest part of the DLC. However, it was still a fantastic experience, so I had zero complaints.
Mercenaries mode is fleshed out.
Where Winters’ Expansion excels is the enhanced Mercenaries mode. Here, you’ll work through new maps and master 3 characters. Chris Redfield is fully loaded and ready to go. Next, you can tackle monsters as Karl Heisenberg. However, some work is required if you wish to use Lady Dimitrescu. In order to play as this vampiric beast, you must “S-rank” any of the available levels. This is no mean feat, so don’t expect to wield ungodly powers immediately.
Thankfully, the additional content makes this excellent mode feel more complete. With an array of weapons to improve and individual character traits to master, it gives you something to get your teeth or fangs into.
Winters’ Expansion changes the perspective.
When playing Shadows of Rose, you’ll explore the world from a third-person perspective. This new viewpoint can also be used if you wish to revisit the main story. Now, this may be a godsend for over-the-shoulder adventure fans, but I wasn’t so keen. For me, this ruined the claustrophobic and eerie atmosphere. Furthermore, it made the combat feel clunky and aiming with each gun wasn’t great. Accordingly, it was disappointing, and I certainly won’t be using it if I replay the main story.
The audio, on the other hand, was amazing! The excellent acting, striking cinematic, and booming weaponry was phenomenal. This wasn’t surprising, as the base game was an audiophile’s dream.
Darn this new viewpoint.
Mostly, the controls were great. The normal responsive inputs and well-considered layout make it easy to play. Yet, the new viewpoint makes some of the key elements unnecessarily clunky. This was both disappointing and frustrating, and something I wouldn’t expect from the franchise.
Frankly, Shadows of Rose was too short. Though I enjoyed its stealth mechanics and the story, it was over too soon. Thankfully, the Mercenaries option adds plenty of longevity and replay value. Because of its arcade nature and moreish scoring system, you won’t want to put it down. On top of that, who doesn’t want to unlock Lady Dimitrescu and run amuck?
Winters’ Expansion was great but flawed.
Winters’ Expansion does a great job of mixing things up. I adored the stealth mechanics and the Mercenaries mode. However, I wish that the story portion of this DLC was longer. Moreover, the third-person perspective wasn’t needed. If the developers unleash more content, I’d love to see more depth. Yet, I still loved it and I recommend that you buy it here! Will you complete the Mercenaries mode, or will you piece together Rose’s story?