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Shadows of Rose brings the Winters family saga to a dramatic conclusion. The expansion was released on October 28th and includes Heisenburg and Lady Dimitrescu as mercenary playable characters, a new third-person camera option for Village’s story mode, and the story expansion, Shadows of Rose.
After the events of Resident Evil Village, we are now in the shoes of Ethan and Mia’s daughter, Rose. This tale takes place in her mind, where Rose looks within herself and the megamycete to relieve herself of her powers so she can pursue a normal life. We learn very quickly that this is not like Village as the gameplay is more akin to the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes. It features many new gameplay elements, including unique abilities that only Rose possesses.
Rose is a very likeable character, and, being a 16-year old girl, she struggles with abandonment and being treated differently because of her powers. Thus, her entire motivation for exploring herself is to simply attempt to live a normal life and “fit in.”
Within the gameplay you will use Rose’s powers to open new paths through the environments and freeze enemies, among other things. Sadly, the majority of the expansion only utilizes a small portion of her powers, making Shadows of Rose bittersweet. By the end of the short campaign, you see the full potential of Rose’s abilities, and it is genuinely a fun and epic experience utilizing these new mechanics.
Besides these new mechanics, you can expect the typical Resident Evil experience of solving puzzles, finding items that unlock other items, and gaining access to new areas, which are all elements that the series has been known to utilize. Also, weaponry is very scarce this time around as the focus for Shadows of Rose is its narrative and not necessarily its combat.
While the gameplay feels very familiar, I often found myself using the new mechanics to bypass enemies, making me realize just how fearsome and threatening some of the creatures in Shadow of Rose are. The expansion definitely provides an experience that Resident Evil fans will find familiar, but it adds just enough for it to be new and refreshing. Though, be warned ahead of time, the game doesn’t do the best job at explaining the new mechanics, so be sure to keep tutorials on in the settings even though they can take a lot of space on the HUD.
Resident Evil has always had its roots planted in science to explain the horrible things you often encounter in the titles. From the T-Virus, to Uroboros, there has been an explanation commonly rooted in conspiracy-riddled lore while accompanied by too-cool-for-school villains like Albert Wesker. Capcom does something much different here with Shadows of Rose’s story, being rooted in the paranormal and allowing Village to explore themes and concepts of horror in a way that Resident Evil fans may not be accustomed to.
Approaching Rose’s story in a more psychological horror setting, we are afforded the opportunity to get to know Ethan Winters’ daughter in a more personal way. The game utilizes Resident Evil 7’s Baker home and Resident Evil Village’s setting to help explore what happened after the events of the prior games. Though we have been to all of these places before, they have never looked better. Thanks to Village’s attention to detail and excellent graphics, everything looks great and can be quite terrifying at times.
Shadows of Rose has provided some of the scariest moments I’ve ever experienced in the long-standing series. To be as spoiler-free as possible, an unnamed portion of the expansion had me on the edge of my seat and even got a few jump scares out of me, which I proudly deem difficult for most horror titles. While also being very in-your-face scary, this portion really shines because it takes one of the scariest parts of Village and evolves it to be downright diabolical.
With Shadows of Rose eliciting about three hours of your time, I found its story compelling, but it really doesn’t hint to what could come next. It doesn’t expand on things we didn’t already know or could conclude ourselves. However, the ending does tie up loose ends and provides a nice sense of closure.
Once you complete the expansion, there really isn’t a reason to replay it, either, due to a very noticeable absence of collectibles. In other words, it doesn’t provide the contents of a big, meaty, and filling sub sandwich. It teeters more towards a thin lunch meat sandwich that was scrapped together from the fridge. Its contents are very tasty and enjoyable, but the sandwich is so small that you’re left wondering if you should make another sandwich or grab some chips.