IT’S been a couple of weeks since Capcom dropped the Resident Evil Village DLC, Shadows of Rose and the additional extras as part of the Gold Edition release. And needless to say, there is a lot to unpack, and it is worth the wait.
The best place to start with the Gold Edition of Resident Evil is with third-person mode. Much like Resident Evil Biohazard, Resident Evil Village was in first-person and when the announcement of the game, I admit I wasn’t really a fan of that. Why? Because I conceded to the fact that I am a big old scaredy cat.
I know many people have said Resident Evil Biohazard was a return to survival horror for the Resident Evil franchise, and I agree with that. However, just when it comes to that game, my fear says a big nope! The first-person mode was a significant factor in that. I like my peripheral vision.
But Resident Evil Village rolled around, and I played it, first-person and all. Needless to say, I loved it. So diving into a new game in third-person mode, I wondered if I would still be caught off guard as I did in the initial release. And I have played first-person mode in Resident Evil Village a lot! But unfortunately, the game became a slight addiction after my first playthrough, to the point that I was still playing it with a wonky mouse that would change my gun if I turned too hard, leading me to come up with my own challenge. But I digress.
Resident Evil Village Third Person Mode
Playing third-person mode doesn’t take away from the horror side of the game. Enemies tend to feel like they are moving fast enough that they can still catch you off guard, and my most hated segment of the game, House Beneviento, still gives me that sense of dread and pulls completely non-girl squeals of fear out of me at turning the corner at seeing giant baby fetus. Capcom has managed to succeed in doing this by cutting off your depth of vision. You only see so far down the hallways before it goes pitch black. In reality, your torch should be able to shine further, but you’re essentially drugged at this point, so to hell with reality.
One little side note, and I’m surprised Capcom didn’t put an effect on this. But when you leave House Beneviento, your guns just do this weird pop back into existence when you go to equip one. So having your rifle or shotgun do what looks like a bizarre glitch return to your back can cause a little laugh. I think it would have been more normal looking if your guns faded back in as the words ‘Recovered lost belongings’ appeared on screen or, better yet, when the camera shifts into first-person view for the cut scene with the mantle with the next flask coming up on the screen. The latter being the more ideal transition.
One of my little nitpicks with the third-person mode is that sometimes the interaction command is delayed, mainly in House Beneviento. And when you’re in a state of panic, it is more annoying than a fear reaction.
I also found Chris’ run animation a little odd. It was almost like Chris had been sitting on his legs for so long. They’d gone numb before he started running, but that was only during the section where he was running through the village. The animation did seem to be more natural from the fight with Urias onwards.
So besides those minor things, Capcom did great with shifting the game from first-person to third-person.
Now we delve into part one of why everyone dived back into Resident Evil Village. The DLC, Shadows of Rose.
Shadows of Rose
So the main story of Resident Evil Village ends with the cut scene 16 years later, and now teen Rose Winter visiting the headstone of her father, Ethan. Not to mention some threatening words to one of the BSAA escorts from Rose when he calls her Eveline.
Now, I give a warning now for going into this DLC. If you have Trypophobia (a strong fear/disgust for clusters of holes/bumps or irregular patterns) or Automatonophobia (Fear of human-like figures, i.e. dolls, mannequins etc.), don’t even think about playing this DLC. These two phobias are pretty much the entire enemy system of this DLC. But, on the other hand, if you have seen the modern seasons of Doctor Who, all I can say is you’ll have Weeping Angels deja vu.
You start the game off as the 16-year-old, Rose Winters, meeting up with Chris’ operative that we met at the end of the main story, Canine. Otherwise known as Dion “K” Wilson. K seems to care about Rose as he asks how Rose is doing at school and scolds her when she calls herself a freak, trying to reaffirm that she is not a freak.
From this, we learn that Rose does not like her powers, as it causes her to be an outcast amongst her peers, and she has no friends. In a section of the game, you come across young Rose’s diary that depicts that as Rose was growing up and going to school, Rose’s powers caused adverse reactions that caused her to be teased.
K takes Rose to his lab after advising there may be a way to help Rose. First, she needs to obtain an item known as a Purifying Chrystal to get rid of her powers. But the catch is; she will need to retrieve the rest of Miranda’s research from inside the consciousness of a Megamycete sample; they’ve just had that lying around for 16 years.
And from here, we start the game as Rose dives into the consciousness of the Megamycete.
Shadows of Rose is roughly 3-4 hours long in playtime if you aren’t rushing, and the creepy vibes are genuine with this. In most locations, you are shrouded in darkness with nothing but a torch of some form to light your way. Unfortunately, lit areas don’t tend to stay that way long.
This section is a trypophobic’s hell as the main enemies and residents of Castle Dimitrescu are creatures called Face Eaters. The name tells you what happens if you get caught.
Though we are exploring Castle Dimitrescu, fans of the tall lady will be disappointed as she does not make an appearance, but in her stead, we have the return of The Duke. There is just a little something off with him.
We also end up with our guardian angel, ‘Michael,’ who aids us where he can through words on the walls throughout the game.
And as it is a trope in video games for characters who want to relinquish their powers before they can do that, they need to get stronger, and Shadows of Rose continues with that. But you don’t solely rely on your powers to get you through, as you acquire a handgun and a shotgun during your play. Of course, you don’t get an arsenal as Ethan does, but the two guns and your powers are enough if you reserve ammo.
The game pushes you with a sense of dread as it recommends you run from some enemies rather than fight, but Rose isn’t particularly fast. On the other hand, Ethan and Chris move more quickly than Rose and are also much more powerful, so you can sometimes feel a bit of a loss.
After making your way through Castle Dimitrescu, you hit the second main section of the game; House Beneviento.
Now, if you thought being chased through a house by a giant mutated fetus calling out to you in the dark was horrifying. Well, note that earlier in this article, I referenced the Doctor Who creature, The Weeping Angels.
House Beneviento remains to be my location of pure terror. The Mia dolls from the main game make their appearance again, and Rose has to deal with mannequins of mummy dearest.
I can’t stress how Rose’s lack of speed adds to the dread you feel during this section, as you can either run fast and hope for the best or play it cautiously, which may make the game harder for you as you will be caught off guard.
This is just the first half of the DLC, and needless to say, we get a few visits from some old ‘friends’ for the rest of our time with Rose.
There have been mixed feelings with the ending of the DLC among the wider RE community, but for myself, it ties things up nicely. Without going into spoilers, I can see why people wanted it to end differently from how it did. However, it follows the same old tropes for any character wanting to get rid of their powers.
Next, we look into The Mercenaries Additional Orders.
The Mercenaries Additional Orders
When Resident Evil Village was released, and we got The Mercenaries mode (a score attack game), and everyone was extremely excited because The Mercenaries has been missing in the past few Resident Evil games. Like many others, I always looked forward to it after completing the game’s main story.
Though RE Village’s The Mercenaries was different from previous iterations. Previously you’d have several other maps, but you would have a choice of 3-4 different characters to play as, each with their own specific loadouts.
RE Village’s The Mercenaries, you could only as Ethan Winters. Also, the way the maps work in this iteration of The Mercenaries changed, as you would have multiple maps per area to complete before getting your ranking.
The Additional Orders DLC for The Mercenaries comes with additional stages. But, more importantly, you instantly get access to a new playable character in the form of Chris Redfield and two additional unlockable characters in the Lords, Karl Heisenberg & Alcina Dimitrescu.
Compared to Ethan, Chris is slower, but his firepower is much more robust, as you experience when playing him in the main game. Though I am a person who prefers speedier characters, I thoroughly enjoyed playing as Chris. Yes, he is slower, but his lack of movement speed is balanced out by his ability to take out with faster and much more powerful attacks. And Chris has what’s called an Onslaught Gauge, with increases with more kills you make. With Onslaught Mode active, your movement speed and other stats like fire rate, overall attack power and reload speed temporarily increase. It seems all that boulder-punching training Chris has been doing really paid off.
Now the part that everyone was looking forward to as part of the Additional Orders DLC for The Mercenaries; unlocking the Lords, more importantly for most – Lady Alcina Dimitrescu.
Before doing this, you must unlock the two new stages in The Mercenaries by achieving an A rank in the initial four stages. Doing so will give you access to The Bloody Village stage. Get an A ranking on The Bloody Village stage, and you’ll unlock The Bloody River. This is by far the most challenging stage of the game and for a good reason. You end up fighting multiple of the game’s most brutal enemies. You must learn to adapt to take them out as quickly as possible using your weapons and the environment. On the plus side, when it comes to unlocking the Lords, you only need to pass the stages on Normal difficulty. So yes, the game will unlock all the stages on a hard mode for those who love a challenge.
Luckily, Heisenberg is the easiest, as you only have to achieve an “A” ranking on all six stages, and with a bit of practice, you hit that in no time with Chris.
Heisenberg is a great character to play if you are all for getting in the enemy’s face, as his primary weapon is his giant metal hammer. However, it seems a little silly that an almighty Lord needs to take two swings of a hammer that no one else can lift to kill a skin-and-bone enemy.
I found myself using Heisenberg’s projectile saw blades, which you can charge up on enemies over the hammer because, as you would expect from something big and heavy…it’s slow. A charged-up saw blade can take out your average enemies with one shot.
For the more challenging enemies, you have one of his rocket monsters as Heisenberg’s heavy hitter, but as you can expect, there is a cooldown on how often you can use it. If you could go crazy with it, it would make The Bloody River stage pretty easy.
Following the fun I had with Heisenberg and the many rounds of replaying The Bloody River level. The Queen of Resident Evil thirst traps became available once I hit that S ranking.
Lady D does not disappoint in the thirst department. Unfortunately, she’s not as tall as she is when we run away from her in the game. They had to make her smaller, or there was no way she’d be able to get through the village. You do have to crouch at some points to get in doorways.
In saying this, you can get some idea of what Lady D would see if she just happened to come along and decided to trample you.
Of course, Alcina’s weapons of choice consist of her extended nails. You know, those things that cut your hand off when you play as Ethan early on in the base game. She also has two projectile attacks, the one with the lowest cool-down being a bug swarm attack. Lady D also has a projectile attack, which consists of pulling her vanity out of thin air and throwing it at enemies. It is quite an effective move with a decent amount of damage.
I have yet to mention that with each attack you land, you slowly build up Lady D’s thrill meter. And let’s just say, don’t play this around your parents. Lady D gets a little excited when her thrill meter goes up, and if you max it out, you can activate an attack much like Heisenberg’s rocket monster, but in Lady D’s case, one of her daughters will appear and attack the enemy to shreds.
To help Lady D, you can pick up her unique lipsticks, which will boost her Thrill meter. A challenge can be to keep Lady D’s thrill meter maxed out as it doesn’t act the same as Chris’ Onslaught mode, which will remain maxed out until you use it. One upper hand that Lady D has compared to Heisenberg is that Heisenberg doesn’t have a way to recover from his wounds. So Lady D gets to enjoy glasses of Sanguis Virginis, her favourite wine/blood mixture, as a source to regain health.
Bringing in the additional levels and characters into The Mercenaries was needed, as only having one character to play initially did cause The Mercenaries to run dry and not have the replayability its previous iterations did.
Resident Evil RE:Verse
RE:Verse – In my review of the Resident Evil Showcase, I mentioned how, from the look we got at the reworked RE:Verse, it looked to be the right decision. Though having the additional characters is not a disappointment. But, unfortunately, what Resident Evil Showcase provided us and what we got were not the same. RE:Verse feels like that Capcom, sadly, just put a fresh coat of paint on a failing rust bucket.
RE:Verse sadly is still the mess from the beta and means that Capcom is still on the downward spiral regarding their PvP games related to Resident Evil. In the matches I played, there was no level matching. As a newbie, I appeared to be matched with higher-ranked players, and playing with clunky controls took a lot of work. More than two stages are a must to keep the game relevant.
With the roadmap Capcom released, I hope they stick to it and make much-needed improvements to the game.