Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion review for PS5, Xbox Series X, PC

Platform: PS5
Also On: Xbox Series X, PC
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: Disc/Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I?m not going to lie. When Resident Evil 7 was first announced, I was very skeptical. Little did I know that it would easily become one of my favorite games, not only in the franchise, but also on its own. There is so much that worked incredibly well in the new 1st person view, and the camera was one of these main mechanics that elevated the experience 5 years ago.

Then in 2021, and we were giving a fantastic follow up in Resident Evil Village, which you can read full my review here. It took a lot of what worked in Resident Evil 7 but brought in more puzzles and action, which to me wasn?t over the top like RE6? Again, the best part of the game for me is how well the 1st person camera works for this part of the franchise.

Something I tend to do with Resident Evil games is replay them a ton, and Resident Evil Village was no exception. So, you could image my excitement to see we were getting some story DLC with the “Gold” edition of the game —  AS IS TRADITION. This new DLC includes some extra Mercenaries characters like Lady Dimitrescu & Heisenberg, RE:Verse, the online multiplayer game which was initially supposed to be released with the original release last year, and Winters? Expansion.  One of the biggest new features is the inclusion of a 3rd person mode for the entire main game as well.

Since the story isn?t any different, we won?t dive too much into the main story, but briefly talk about the new mode. The biggest question I had was does it work? For many, this was a return to form for Capcom and the beloved franchise, but did we need the change? There was a vision for this story and for me, I?ve grown attached to the new camera and viewpoint, but was willing to see how it changes the experience.

Honestly, it works surprisingly well. On the flip side, you can tell the work that had to go in to blend some scenes that simply were designed for 1st person and adapt to the traditional modern RE camera. What Capcom did, was do some appropriate camera adjustments when going into said scenes. Keep in mind that many of the scenes have direct interaction and contact to Ethan so the new mode would take you out of the experience. So the camera will zoom in and for in game cinematics, you go back into 1st person, and this helps elevate this hybrid mode.

Capcom never intended on showing much of Ethan?s visuals since the initial premise was supposed to portray you as the player. People have grown to like Ethan as a character and Village helped solidify him as one of the fan favorites in the series. You never actually see his full face as this mindset is still in place I feel. This new mode is a welcome addition to the game and plays a larger part in the DLC which is only in 3rd person. Newcomers of the game may enjoy this mode more than veterans that have played it last year.

We?re now going to discuss the main new story DLC ?Shadows of Rose?, which will contain spoilers if you have not completed the main story and somehow have avoided trailers.

What an incredible piece of story DLC this is. It?s important to say this now, because it?s not without its faults and the biggest is the extremely short completion time… and I want more of this in so many ways.  Many readers know I?m one of the “Resident” Resident Evil reviewers here beside my Podcast Co-Host and fellow Gaming Age Editor LegendPoP Paul R. (No Pun Intended lol)

Survival Horror is easily my favorite genre of games harking back to 1990 with my first experience being ?Alone in the Dark?. I?ve played so many amazing and extremely terrible horror games, but the PS2 era was peak survival horror for me. (I promise there is a connection) Players from this time will know the popularity of this and some of the games that were part of it.

The games I truly loved were not as popular back then but have become increasingly popular to collectors. Some of those were Rule of Rose, Haunting Ground and Clock Tower 3. When playing the Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion “Shadows of Rose” story DLC, I couldn?t help thinking about how much it felt inspired by games like these and not necessarily Resident Evil games of yesteryear.

There are supernatural elements, creepy environments, and evil creepier enemies as you progress through the 3 hour or so story of Rose Winters. The game takes place 15 years after the end of Village and is focused on Rose trying to get rid of the powers she was born with. There are indeed some true Survival horror elements like limited ammo and plenty of enemies to keep you on your toes, decent puzzles like in Village. Depending on when you played Village last, the locations you visit may feel like a retread as you visit various areas from the main game with a few twists in how you progress.

There are some newer mechanics that include using Rose?s powers to access new areas and some new puzzles that work well with the design of the new content. The challenging part is to speak about parts of the DLC without spoiling them as this was the main reason I enjoyed it so much. So go in blind if you can, and prepare for some seriously creepy stuff that had the hairs on my neck standing up (you will know when you experience them).

The story itself is a proper closure to the Winters? story and leaves us with the ?Where do they go  next? mindset. If you are a fan of Village, you will enjoy your time with the story DLC and the cost of admission is worth it for the Rose story and 3rd person alone. I?m not a huge fan of the newer Mercenaries mode and would have welcomed the 3rd person here as well as there is lots of grinding to unlock the two new characters, and for me, by the time I unlocked the 1st, I didn?t want to play anymore.

Overall, Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion is an enjoyable excuse revisit to one of my Games of the Year entries from 2021 and I recommend checking it out. It’s not perfect but it does have me begging for more of this. I?m going to pitch it now in case Capcom sees this review: Resident Evil Revelations 3: RE Gaiden Remake – we need more Barry and Leon, introduce some of the elements from Shadows of Rose, and we are in business!

Note: Capcom provided us with a Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: B+