The Winters’ Expansion is a hefty DLC that gives players more to do with Resident Evil Village. The expansion doesn’t just add a new hearty story to bring Capcom’s survival horror ride full circle. But it adds some new ways to enjoy the single player campaign with a revamped Mercenaries mode that somewhat improves from launch.
Of course, Capcom’s main DLC highlight includes Shadows of Rose. Without spoiler, I highly recommend players beat the main story before playing this shorter expansion. Players become Rose, all grown up after the main events of Resident Evil Village. I won’t give away the details on what makes Rose so special. But Capcom and its writing team do a great job of pulling players deeper into Village’s lore. More importantly, Shadows of Rose tells an even stronger story on its own without connections to the bigger Resident Evil universe.
Rose’s survival horror adventure serves up more of the action from Village’s campaign. But The Winters’ Expansion also adds new twists and a deeper level of suspense that will change how players can see some parts of Ethan Winters’ story. But the DLC is far from perfect, since it does have a habit of rehashing some familiar elements players have come across before.
While Capcom buries its original frights early on for a typical trip down memory lane. Shadows of Rose still finds new ways to keep players on their toes with challenging enemies, some deadly and others that require smarter fight-or-flight decisions. Puzzles are also driven by some stealth and Resident Evil’s own brand of scavenger hunts in haunted places. Despite the DLC story’s departure from bigger series lore, Shadows of Rose very much feels like a solid new chapter for Resident Evil.
“The Winters’ Expansion adds more to the fun, tension and replayability Village sorely needs.”
Shadows of Rose also gives a satisfying closure players didn’t know they wanted after beating Village the first time. There are enough thoughtful quotes from characters to keep the story focused on Rose. Some of my favourite moments from Village don’t even include combat and Capcom throws in some relatively fun scares for variety. Shadows of Rose neatly stitches all of its levels, cutscenes and thrills together in a short length without losing players. This makes the DLC feel even longer than three hours. Capcom packs their greatest hits for gameplay and variety in Shadows of Rose, making it a highly replayable piece of DLC.
The Winters’ Expansion also brings in a highly requested third-person mode into Village. It’s a fun and new way to see the main story over Ethan’s shoulders. Capcom has also found creative ways to keep Ethan’s face a mystery and seamlessly transition from first-person cutscenes. Even with new animations to spruce up third-person, Resident Evil Village still can’t escape its first-person shooter design. Things feel less scary as a result and players have better awareness that draws out Village’s surprises.
Ethan feels more robotic to play from over his shoulders. It’s a step back from Capcom’s rebooted Resident Evil games that nailed the third-person design. But players who don’t like the new perspective can easily toggle it off in the game’s settings. But players can still appreciate some of those mechanics trickling into Village. It’s worth noting that Shadows of Rose is presented entirely in third person and feels more appropriate for The Winters’ Expansion DLC.
The Mercenaries – a replayable arcade horde mode included at launch – now feels more realized with an update. The mode was Village’s weakest link from a lack of content, characters and variety. The Winters’ Expansion adds “additional orders” to fill in those gaps. Here, I had more fun playing Village’s set pieces as Chris Redfield, Lady Dimitrescue and Heisenberg.
Though they already feel too powerful for any werewolves and zombies to feel like real threats. The Mercenaries: Additional Orders still adds a satisfying blend of action that brings out Village’s engaging combat. But as players level up their characters and high-powered weapons, The Mercenaries starts to feel stale again.
It was only a matter of time until Resident Evil Village – Capcom’s eighth main entry in the survival horror series – got the Gold Edition treatment. At an extra price on top of the full game, players can get the most definitive version of Resident Evil Village yet. Surprisingly, Capcom serves up a DLC that feels as polished and high quality as its base game. This comes as great news for players who’ve completed Village’s masterfully crafted story which picks up from Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Here, The Winters’ Expansion adds more to the fun, tension and replayability Village sorely needs.