Shadows Of Rose Hands-On Preview – Familiar Territory From A New Perspective

Please note: This DLC/preview deals with events following the end of Resident Evil Village so if you’re yet to play or finish the main game, turn back now.

It really wasn’t until Resident Evil 7 (and subsequently Village) that the franchise found a fan in me, so my experience with most of the third-person entries have been fairly limited. That said, I jumped at the chance to check out a little under 30 minutes of Resident Evil Village’s upcoming Shadows of Rose story expansion at Tokyo Game Show last week, set 16 years after the end of the main game and starring Ethan Winters’ daughter, Rose, as the playable protagonist. It also marks a shift in perspective from first-person to third-person, adding a whole new feel to the familiar ground you’ll re-tread here.

My demo session reportedly had me near-ish to the start of the game, with Rose trapped in a version of the very-recognisable Castle Dimitrescu. Though the locale was quite fresh in my mind having also just played Village on the PS VR 2 at TGS, both the fact that this instance of it is a kind of manifestation of the real thing brought about by the ‘Megamycete’ as well as it being played from a third-person perspective meant that it was also an eerie, bizarro-world version of things. Not least because the Duke, once quite the amicable gentleman and shopkeep, is now sporting a disturbing mask and seemingly acting out the villain role.

 

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It wasn’t a simple case of navigating all the rooms and hallways I’d committed to memory in Village either, as the palace is covered in a deadly, mouldy goo that impedes Rose’s progress at every turn. It was a good way to make exploring the Castle feel new again and throw in some classic environmental and traversal puzzles to open up new paths. Eventually, Rose gets access to some of the very powers she’s here to try to suppress and finds a way to drive the mould away in certain conditions which leads to more of that distinctly Resident Evil gating that’s generally fun and satisfying to overcome. I started the demo quite defenceless but eventually after gaining access to the enemy-freezing power, and a handgun, I started to feel a little better equipped.

While Ethan inevitably seems to become an unstoppable, geared-up machine in his adventures, I’m hoping that Shadows of Rose keeps things a little more tense in the way that I experienced in the demo. With just a handgun and very limited ammo it definitely felt more like what I understand of the other third-person RE titles where you’re always just on the edge of a grisly death and split-second decisions over fight or flight can have big ramifications. The mouldy boys that I faced are shambling, faceless goons but they’re plenty unnerving, especially the fact that they can spawn from nearly any surface and if they manage to grab you they’ll to suck your very soul out through your face holes.

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Overall, I think what really impressed me in my short time with Shadows of Rose is how deftly Capcom’s designers (and the RE Engine) can switch the perspective up within the same game and have it feel as though it couldn’t be played any other way. While the third-person option is actually headed to the game’s main campaign as well, I struggle to fathom playing through Ethan’s story that way just as much as I couldn’t imagine Rose’s working nearly as well the other way around. Rather than just pull the camera back and call it a day, Capcom really seems to understand where the advantages lie over the shoulder and how to retool their existing worlds and systems to take those advantages in full.

There’s a lot to unpack here with very few answers in such a short session. Answers to questions like, why is this manifestation of the Duke such a bad dude? Where are the messages and voices coming from that seem to be guiding Rose through this whole ordeal? What will the implications of everything going on here be? These are things that I’m very excited to find out once I can play through Shadows of Rose in full.

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The Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion, which contains the Shadows of Rose story as well as new content for The Mercenaries mode and the third-person update for the main campaign, launches on October 28 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC. 

A new, Gold Edition boxed copy of the game will also be available that includes the base game and the expansion. You can grab that at the below:

  • Resident Evil Village Gold Edition – EB Games – $69.95 – PS5 | PS4 | Xbox
  • Resident Evil Village Gold Edition – JB Hi-Fi – $69 – PS5 | PS4 | Xbox
  • Resident Evil Village Gold Edition – The Gamesmen – $69.95 – PS5 | PS4 | Xbox

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