GameCentral goes hands-on with the new story campaign for Resident Evil Village and what may be the return of Lady Dimitrescu.
It must just be the pandemic playing tricks on us, but it seems a very long time since Resident Evil Village first came out, even though it was only May 2021. We don’t think it was many people’s favourite entry in the series – it certainly wasn’t ours – but it was a solidly enjoyable game and given how good some of the DLC was for Resident Evil 7 the idea of getting some for Village is a welcome prospect.
Capcom announced the DLC last June but until very recently there was no clue as to what it was. Now it’s been revealed that the Winters’ Expansion (Winters is the surname of the protagonist and his daughter Rose) consists of three main components: a new third person mode for the main game, new stages and characters for Mercenaries mode, and, most significantly, a brand new story campaign called Shadows Of Rose.
We got to play around 30 minutes of Shadows Of Rose, which uses the new third person view and takes place 16 years after the events of the main game. Whether this is going to be the setting for all the games going forward isn’t clear (although the end of the main game does imply it) but here you take control of Rose Winters, who is possessed of unspecified ‘powers’ that she apparently wants to get rid of.
We started a short way into the campaign, but it seems the story involves Rose entering the ‘consciousness of the Megamycete’ in order to rid herself of her abilities. Helping her is a new character called Michael, who can only communicate with her via written words that appear floating in mid-air before you. There’s also a reference to someone called ‘K’ but who they are is a mystery.
Whatever the details of the backstory, what the campaign boils down to is exploring the castle of Lady Dimitrescu as you’re pursued by the minions of what seems to be an evil doppelgänger of the Duke. Said minions look almost, but not exactly, like the Molded from Resident Evil 7 and have a nasty habit of sucking Rose’s face off if they catch up with her.
There’s also a sort of liquid, fungus growth on some of the floors, blocking your way and killing you if you stay in it for too long, while many of the doors (including the main ones out of the castle) are barred by fungus growth emanating out of a central, flower-like core.
One of your first tasks is to locate a power-up that gives you the power to destroy these cores, allowing you access to more of the castle. Other growths have formed in such a way that you can’t see the core, which seems to suggest a mild Metroidvania element, or at least something like Dark Souls where you loop back to an area of the map via an unexpected route.
A second power-up gives you the ability to stun the Molded (or whatever they’re called) and destroy them from afar, but this relies on a quickly depleting power bar. Of course, you can just shoot them, but ammo is in short supply and it’s often necessary to craft it using component parts.
We didn’t see any location that wasn’t in the original game, so we’ve no idea whether there will be new areas, but the third person camera worked absolutely fine even in the small cubby holes and tunnels that were originally designed only with a first person view in mind.
The graphics are just as fantastic as before, with ray-tracing and other advanced features available on the PlayStation 5, which makes the game look even better than we remembered.
How long the DLC will be is not clear. The castle took around two or three hours to complete in the original but the pacing of Shadows Of Rose is completely different. There are far less enemies around, at least in what we played, than the parent game – which was almost a straight first person shooter at times. By comparison, the DLC is much closer in style and tone to the Resident Evil remakes.
Whether that will evolve as you progress we don’t know but while we saw no sign of Lady Dimitrescu or her daughters we’re sure they’ll turn up at some point. While it seems as if Capcom is setting Rose up to be the series’ next main protagonist there’s still no other clue as to what form Resident Evil 9 will take, but it’s likely Shadows Of Rose will give some very clear pointers.
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