If Resident Evil Village was proof Capcom isn’t afraid to change the sort of enemies its survival horror franchise has to offer, then DLC Shadows of Rose is evidence the developer can do the very same for its main character. Ethan Winters’ daughter Rose may use the same weapons her father became accustomed to, but she has a superpower that forms a good basis for the follow-up to our 2021 Game of the Year. This is more of that superb horror gameplay, with a twist.
Set 16 years after the events of Resident Evil Village, the otherworldly abilities inherited by Rose are becoming so much of a nuisance that she wants to rid herself of them. In a 30-minute session at Capcom’s UK headquarters, this urge to expunge her skills marks a return to Castle Dimitrescu. The famous lady of the manor is long gone, however, replaced by The Duke — or at least a third-party entity that could be controlling the merchant. Once he knows you’ve entered his domain, a legion of enemies that wouldn’t look out of place in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is sent to stalk you.
Emerging from the ground in great piles of goo, it’s this substance that represents the biggest differentiator between the Castle Dimitrescu you explored in the base game and what stands before you in Shadows of Rose. It has the very same layout, but the hallways are blocked and the black liquid covering much of the grounds will swallow you whole.
As such, it’s a familiar setting — but not quite a homely and welcoming one. The switch back to the third-person camera perspective might throw you through a quick loop, too. Shadows of Rose controls just like remakes Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 now, but it feels like there’s a tiny bit more weight to movement. Rose takes longer to adjust her bearings compared to Leon S. Kennedy and Jill Valentine, and aiming and shooting are equally more difficult. You quickly get accustomed, though, and it feels like Resident Evil Village was always meant to be played this way. It actually will be an option too, with the original title updated with a third-person camera on the same day Shadows of Rose releases.
The main objective of our demo was to obtain a special item (we can’t name it exactly) from a new statue located in the main hall of Castle Dimitrescu. In order to gain access to it, three masks had to be located and placed on the stone figure. This sets up a classic Resident Evil puzzle where you’re free to explore the concrete fort and its grounds outside. However, you can only go so far until Rose’s power has to come into play.
She can actually destroy the black goo covering the castle by targeting its core and doing… something to it. Either way, it turns the ooze to dust and opens up the passageway it was blocking. The mechanic sort of turns the DLC — or at least this section of it — into a mini Metroidvania: you’ll use the power to open up new areas and source more ammo and healing items. In the closing minutes of our demo, the ability is upgraded for use on enemies, freezing them in place for some easy headshots.
Another supernatural mechanic in Shadows of Rose doesn’t come from the protagonist herself, but rather the environment. At several points throughout the demo, an invisible entity converses with Rose via gold messages written on walls and objects. They warn her of danger, hint at where to go next, and even summon bullets and herbs for her. We have no idea who this person — or thing — is, so presumably, it’s something that’s expanded upon later in the story. An interesting feature we’re looking forward to learning more about, though.
With these powers and mechanics in hand, you’ll settle into the comfortable routine that comes with any modern Resident Evil title of shooting, looting, and surviving. With the same map and inventory system as the base game, it’s business as usual as you rummage through rooms to find items, clues, and puzzle pieces — all in the aid of working towards your objective. The gameplay loop hasn’t changed in any dramatic fashion, but you have more things to consider and new, unusual ways to interact with the survival horror.
Our 30-minute session with Shadows of Rose likely only scratches the surface of what the DLC has to offer, but it has whetted our appetite enough to where we’re eagerly awaiting returning to the world of Resident Evil Village. With new powers, new puzzles, and new areas to explore, Shadows of Rose will avoid the trap so many expansions fall victim to: providing more of the same. This isn’t just a collection of the base game’s greatest hits; it’s a whole new, worthwhile adventure. Shadows of Rose is shaping up excellently; we’re looking forward to uncovering its secrets come Halloween.
Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose is a piece of DLC for the base game that can either be played through the Gold Edition, or by purchasing it through the PS Store if you already own the PS5, PS4 title. It’s priced at £15.99/$19.99 and comes bundled with more content for the Mercenaries mode and the third-person camera for the original game. This will all become available on 28th October 2022.
Are you too looking forward to returning to Castle Dimitrescu? Pack your shotgun in the comments below.