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Resident Evil Village: Winter’s Expansion(Review)[Weirdo Wednesday]

When the 8th game in the mainline of the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise dropped last year, ‘Village’ was a huge hit. Continuing the story of the 7th with Ethan Winters, who is trying to enjoy a nice meal at home when his wife is shot & his daughter is kidnapped. It isn’t long until we realize that his daughter is a huge piece in an ever-evolving puzzle of biological symbioses & supernatural creatures. The first-person horror-shooter has since sold over 5 million units worldwide and received high acclaim from game critics and consumers alike. Naturally, the world was immediately hungry for more. Almost a year and a half later, they have finally delivered with the DLC content – The Winter’s Expansion.

The new downloadable content came with 3 main selling points: the all-new story add-on titled ‘Shadows of Rose’, a new and improved Mercenaries mode featuring new playable characters, and the chance of playing the main game in a brand new 3rd person perspective instead of the original 1st person.

‘Shadows of Rose’ was the main selling point for me, for it continued the story about 18 years into the future where we see the daughter, Rose, has grown from an infant into a young woman. She is struggling to fit into society due to the mysterious powers she was born with. In an effort to rid herself of them, she traverses into the consciousness of the mold that lives within her and gives her power (which is precisely the same mold that causes all of the characters in RE 7 & 8 to mutate). Inside, she enters layer after layer of places from the main storyline but with some key differences. She enters Dimitrescu’s Castle, the basement, and a few other levels that are wonderful surprises if you haven’t already experienced them. Instead of lycans roaming the grounds she must defeat these humanoid-mold creatures that are trying to exhume her soul – which results in some truly disturbing cutscenes and action sequences. It has a short runtime but covers a lot of ground where it can. And the 2nd-to-last chapter of it had some truly scary moments and images. My wife struggled to watch me play this one part that involves a dark hallway, a flashlight, and this strange stomping noise…

The mercenaries mode is one that has existed in the RE Universe for quite some time now. Essentially, you get to select a level from the main game and try to do a speedrun where you are killing multiple respawning enemies, collecting weapon/upgrade tokens, and reaching an end goal point. Each level contains 3-5 sublevels which makes your grand total after the fact the main goal of the run, which can be used as ingame currency to buy things such as collectable art work, infinite ammo, special edition weapons, and much more. The DLC gives us 3 new playable characters: Chris Redfield, Heisenberg, & Lady Dimitrescu. Each one adds a unique feel and play style to the fun game mode.

Lastly, the addition of the 3rd person take of the main story line. For many people, this alone sold them the DLC. I personally prefer the game in 1st person, but for many, this gives them a chance to minimize any motion sickness, play as a more traditional contemporary game, or just kind of slow the action intensity down. I enjoyed playing the game again from a different perspective, but it wasn’t such a big deal for me.

The verdict: As with all DLCs, there’s a balance here between the pros and the cons. All of the content mentioned above are welcome additions to the game that allow new players multiple angles to approach it from and enjoy, while also allowing original fans an excuse to re-enter the world of the game. ‘Shadows of Rose’ was a necessary addition that serves as a real ‘bon voyage’ to this specific chapter of the Resident Evil Universe that circled around Ethan Winters and his family. It contains some familiar-yet-different levels and functions, and also provides some of the scariest moments in the entire game. It has some beats in the story that feel a bit strange or repetitive, but overall, it does a good job. The Mercenaries & 3rd person additions are all great and add to previously existing content that was already a blast to play.

Overall, it’s a great DLC and I’m so glad it exists. But, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. After such a long wait between the original release and then this DLC, I wish we had gotten more. The Resident Evil 7 DLC came in multiple chunks – known as the Lost Footage Collections – and had like, 7 or 8 different expansions or minigames to go through of all types. One included a sadistic version of ’21’, one was an escape room, one was an actual ‘after the story’ add on, and so much more. Whereas here we ONLY get one real addition to the actual game. For what it is, I enjoyed it. But man… I really wish we could’ve gotten more. If you were a fan of Village, this is definitely worth a play. But unless you were already a fan, I don’t think this will reel anyone in for a first try – with POSSIBLY the exception of the included 3rd person playstyle.

4/5
“Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition” & the stand alone “Winters’ Expansion Pack” are available on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC, Switch, & Stadia.

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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