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Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose (PS4)

Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose (PS4) - Review

by Evan Norris , posted on 24 October 2022 / 6,531 Views

Reviewer's Note: This review contains SPOILERS for Resident Evil Village.

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

Shadows of Rose takes place 16 years after the conclusion of Village. Ethan Winters' daughter, Rose, is now a super-powered teenager who's working in some undefined capacity with Chris Redfield and struggling to live a normal life. When the opportunity presents itself to tap into a piece of the fungal Megamycete from the base game and, in so doing, potentially remove her unwanted powers for good, Rose jumps at the chance. Soon she's 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 satisfactory coda to the events of Resident Evil 7 and Village, and provides a platform for Rose to process her trauma and grief. The not-so-good news is that it unfolds in a very clichéd way. The "I want a normal life" plot-line has been done many times before and, in several instances, has been done better. Still, it's hard not to root for Rose, who's been through a lot.

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

This traditional Resident Evil gameplay works fairly well, with a few drawbacks. Combat is a highlight. Rose has a limited set of firearms/explosives, but she can pair those weapons with her superpowers to great effect. Early in the DLC, our heroine will learn to use her abilities to not only destroy molded blockages but also to stun monsters, allowing her to either escape or line up a couple of head shots. She has a limited number of charges, so you'll have to think strategically about when to use a power, when to spend valuable bullets and shells, and when to simply run for your life.

The absolute pinnacle of Shadows of Rose takes place on the way to, and on the return path from, the second mask. It's here where players must delay an unstoppable brute, contend with shuffling molded creatures, and unlock a way forward all in real time. It represents the kind of dangerous improvisational gameplay that makes the series so special. 

Regrettably, these scenarios are rare. In most instances the flow of the game feels guided and, in some cases, scripted. There are a few too many on-rails chase sequences, and an abundance of clues and helping hands. The most obvious of these is "Michael", Rose's helper in the Realm of Consciousness. Michael is a mysterious figure who cannot speak nor take physical shape, but relays helpful messages to Rose. It creates an interesting narrative dynamic, but also robs the DLC of some of its dread. Having a "guardian angel" nearby means you're never truly alone. 

Now, the developers who crafted Shadows of Rose do find a way to introduce a generous helping of horror later on in the adventure, when Michael's messaging is blocked. There is a sequence so terrifying you might find yourself frozen in fear. For anyone frightened of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who, you've been warned.

One thing that won't cause any panic: the game's running time. This DLC comes in at a pleasantly-surprising four hours, about 35 percent as long as Village. There are also three difficulty settings, for folks who want to experience Rose's journey more than once.

In terms of graphics, Shadows of Rose looks as great as the base game, although you might tire of seeing the exact same settings and backdrops from Ethan's European adventure. Sound design is as impeccable as always. The creaks, groans, and faraway wails in this campaign will provoke a deep unease and sense of impending doom.

In the end, Shadows of Rose cannot compare to Resident Evil Village, one of the very best games of 2021. It suffers from clichéd situations, recycled environments, and overly-guided gameplay. That said, it's a fairly good DLC that wraps up some loose ends, provides closure, and introduces some interesting mechanics and monsters. Those who can't wait to return to Village and learn more about the Winters' legacy will enjoy this campaign for what it is; other fans less invested in the mythology of the franchise should be just fine sticking with the excellent base game.


VGChartz Verdict


6
Decent

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

Read more about our Review Methodology here

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2 Comments
SuperNintend0rk (on 24 October 2022)

It's a shame this didn't turn out better but adding a third-person mode to the main game still makes it worth it for me.

  • +2
LivncA_Dis3 SuperNintend0rk (on 25 October 2022)

Agreed

  • 0