In all honesty I have no idea how Capcom wants to progress the Resident Evil series, especially after the recent showcase dedicated to the fourth chapter seemed to confirm that series of leaks that appeared shortly before the release of Village. Those rumors claimed Capcom's willingness to rewrite the history of the chapters prior to Biohazard, in such a way as to make the whole plot more understandable and free of all those holes that have inevitably arisen over the years.
Now I don't know whether or not the Winters dynasty is part of this macro design conceived by Capcom but there is no doubt that after the events of Village, carrying on that narrative vein is a very difficult bet to win. The reasons for such great difficulty can all be found in "Le Ombre di Rose" (or Shadows Of Rose for English speakers), the first, and apparently only, expansion of Resident Evil Village.
This additional content, at least according to its creators, was created precisely to conclude the events related to Winters (and note well that I deliberately used the singular), the problem is that in trying to do it something must have gone wrong because, at least narratively speaking, the shadows of Rose puts very little meat in the fire, resulting in little impact within the story and discovering the side of a series of highly subjective judgments that I already imagine appearing on the portals dedicated to fans of the series.
Personally, I didn't appreciate many of the solutions chosen by the writers, some of which even went from being "initially weak" to "bordering on absurd" as the story progressed, but I'll try to explain myself better without ruining the surprise... ah, that's if you're wondering why I'm not reviewing the entire package offered by Resident Evil Village Gold Edition, or simply from the Winters Expansion, I'll leave you a handout a few paragraphs below to make you understand why it makes sense to analyze almost exclusively the content most awaited by all of us.
The (many) shadows of Rose
The Shadows of Roses begins sometime in Ethan Winters' daughter's teenage years, almost as if to make fun of those players who were waiting for nothing but answers following the ending of the previous chapter. The incipit is essentially very weak and merely introduces us to K, a member of Chris Redfield's team, who in the throes of a series of conversations bordering on the Teen Movie suggests to Rose a solution to get rid of her powers, which have always caused problems in relating to people.
The plan proposed by K. is simple: to bring Rose into contact with a peculiar portion of the Mutamicete, to be able to physically enter her memories and find a peculiar crystal capable of permanently eliminating his powersmaking her a normal girl again. That's right, you read right... but don't worry because if you too have the same confused expression at this moment that I found, as soon as I understood where Rose's shadows were going with this, know that as the story progresses everything will have a sense.
We just have to hope that that "sense" convinces you because, in my specific case, I found it totally devoid of any impact within the story told up to now by Biohazard and Village, making me perceive it more as a trivial narrative pretext created to test the waters and try to understand if the character of Rose, and the playful solutions created around her, can really interest fans of the series.
However, net of having felt like a guinea pig, I can tell you that the trivial narrative incipit also serves as a pretext for reproducing places, and faces, already seen in Village. Precisely in this aspect, the shadows of Rose, recycles a lot and between known settings and characters that take on completely new connotations, offers a constant sense of deja vu or, in case you have decided like me to do yet another run of Resident Evil Village to experience the third-person mode, it may even seem redundant and lacking in originality.
To end this wave of negative points (yes, in this case I decided to liquidate them all, or almost, before going on to describe the good things) there is longevity. Shadows of Rose, on normal difficulty, lasted me three hours, with a couple of game overs attached and a few moments spent loitering in the play areas looking for some secret... which obviously wasn't there.
It is a very limited expansion (perhaps even more than what the developers declared), decidedly linear and which can be closed easily in an hour when you know what to do and where to go. Perhaps for many it will not be a negative point but if you are hungry for Resident Evil, and you have decided to buy this expansion mainly for this chapter, this is undoubtedly an aspect to take into consideration.
From proiettili and Mutamiceti
Finally coming to the positives (yes, there are), Shadows of Rose is a damn playground. While it is true that Capcom has exploited a very trivial narrative device to "give the La" to the events of the story, it is also true that thanks to it it has been able to experiment far and wide with situations, exploiting this expansion as a huge test bed for any playful solutions to be implemented in the future.
first of all, Rose has supernatural powers at her disposal, which have been conferred on her by her only half-human DNA, which allow her to interact with certain elements present in the settings (yes, I'm trying not to anticipate anything given the short duration of the expansion) and of slow down enemies to be able to hit them better with the various guns (very few) at his disposal. From the trailers it seemed that the focus on the girl's supernatural powers would have been more invasive but I can assure you that, net of some excessively trashy moments, the balancing was done with care and Rose will never take on the characteristics of a War Machine.
As for the gameplay, the shadows of Rose takes up what was seen in the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3, combining it with the innovations introduced with Village. The result is convincing gunplay, combined with a series of solutions that go perfectly with the third person and which, thanks to the potential offered by the plot of this expansion, are perfectly contextualized. Indeed, in the shadows of Rose there are discrete puzzles and heart-pounding moments, as expected, but they are shamelessly mixed with stealth sections and moments that you would never expect to find in a Resident Evil.
I have to say I enjoyed the variety of situations offered though I would have preferred to see them made in new settings or with floor plans, at least, different from those already seen in the Village. I'm not kidding when I tell you that in some sections I had more anxiety because I remembered what had happened to me in the Village, rather than what was about to happen to Rose.
Where is the Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition review?
So, let's be clear right away. If after the mass of excellent evaluations that Resident Evil Village obtained in its debut, you still haven't played it, there are two things: either you hate the series (so why are you reading this review) or do you hate the first person (and in this if you are doing well to read this review).
Excluding the first option, in the second case it makes no sense to review a title again which, by introducing the third person view at a lower price, some additions to the mercenary mode and a handful of hours of expansion, can in no way depart from the vote previously obtained. For the same reason, if I were to rate the full package, I couldn't judge Rose's shades solely which, for many players, is the driving reason for buying the Winters Expansion.
Now that this point has been clarified I can tell you very briefly that the third-person view, introduced in Village, works but is not without its imperfections. A wider FOV makes many details of the environments less clear, as well as some situations designed to have a certain impact in the first person, take on much less frightening connotations once lived "over the shoulder" of the protagonist.
Undoubtedly it is an interesting addition as well able to bring those who are allergic to first-person games closer to this chapter but however well done, and especially if you compare Village to any third person chapter released in the last 3 years, you can perceive that the situations offered don't blend perfectly with that type of view.
As for the innovations introduced in Mercenaries, they still fail to make it comparable to the editions released previously. The new characters work more as a way to easily get an S-rank within the various maps that, really, to offer new stimuli to play with. In the same way, the new hellish scenarios offer interesting challenges but nothing really attractive or that can keep the player glued for hours in front of perhaps the weakest edition of one of the most loved game modes by fans.
All these additional elements, even if individually they may not be exciting, go to create a package that, combined with the original game, offers so much to those who have never had the opportunity to play Resident Evil Village, which is why analyzing it, precisely, in its entirety would have made no sense.
Let me be clear, the RE Engine has proved, over the last few years, one of the best graphics engines around and even in Rose's shadows it shows itself as I remembered it. The problem in this case is another and it is all to be found in the facial animations, and not, of the protagonists. During the cinematics the various characters appear unrealistic, their expressions do not fully convey the emotions and the movements seem stiff and unnatural, much more than in the past.
As for the animations during the game phases, there is nothing to say apart from that an attentive eye can notice an excessive recycling of animations, taken from the previous two remakes, as regards Rose and most of the Mutamycetes that populate the various play areas. Wanting to delve into the design of the enemies I would find myself in difficulty for a moment because on the one hand I didn't appreciate it the constant use of a couple of enemies known to connoisseurs of the saga, while on the other I appreciated a couple of new entries created ad hoc for some stages of Rose's journey. The ones that really didn't convince me, however, are the boss fights. Few, with dynamic phone calls and, in the specific case of one in particular, almost entirely recycled from the main game.
Finally, the work done in terms of optimization of the game is commendable which, on PlayStation 5, offers the same excellent performances already offered by Resident Evil Village. 60fps, dynamic 4k and instant uploads make the experience pleasant in every aspect as well as the Spanish dubbing, although it is not always incredible in the final result, it is well acted and in line with the emotions expressed by the various characters.