Resident Evil Village Winters’ Expansion Review

Get your claws on Lady D in the Winters' Expansion

By Paul Hunter

A year and a half after Resident Evil Village impressed us with its GOTY-quality offerings, Capcom is back this Halloween with the highly anticipated Winters' Expansion. This pack bundles together the fan-requested third-person mode for the campaign, The Mercenaries Additional Orders featuring two new stages and three new playable characters, and a continuation of the story in Shadows of Rose.

Priced at $19.99, does the Winters’ Expansion deliver the next must-play experience for Resident Evil fans? Let's find out, here are three things I liked about it...and one I didn't.

Liked: Third-Person Mode

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard took a considerable risk by taking the traditionally third-person horror series into the first-person, but it ultimately paid off and helped revitalize the franchise after the underwhelming sixth entry. Resident Evil Village continued with the first-person perspective, delivering an amazing campaign filled with action and terror.

The Winters’ Expansion finally lets us experience Ethan Winters' harrowing journey in a third-person over-the-shoulder perspective. As a big fan of classic Resident Evil games, it was exciting to revisit iconic locations such as Lady D's Castle or Heisenberg's Factory while being able to see all of Ethan's actions in clear view. House Beneviento was great, too, as I found the third-person view made this location slightly less creepy—fine by me since I'll happily tone down that terrifying baby chase segment.

Anyone who's played the recent Resident Evil 2 or Resident Evil 3 remakes will feel right at home with Resident Evil Village's third-person mode. The controls are similar to those remakes, although your character's movement and the camera are a tad jankier, unfortunately. You can also tell the game wasn't originally designed with the third-person in mind, such as how hard it is to see walking through the first snow section. After tweaking a few settings I was able to get the third-person mode feeling 'right', so I encourage you to tinker and optimize the controls.

Resident Evil Village introduced new combat mechanics like guarding and kicking, and for the most part, they translate well into third-person. It takes some practice getting the perfect block angle on enemies, but I adjusted fast. Thankfully, I don't rely on blocking much, having unlocked most of the infinite ammo weapons over my many run-throughs of the campaign. The new perspective also lets you see some never-before-seen animations, including when Ethan is attacked by enemies.

All considered, while the third-person experience is a step down from the recent super-polished remakes, considering this game was originally built for first-person, what Capcom has achieved here is pretty impressive. With the upcoming PlayStation VR2 mode, there will be three different ways to play RE Village—a remarkable feat. (I had a chance to play the game on PSVR2 at this year's Tokyo Game Show and it was awesome!)

Liked: New Playable Mercenaries Characters

Yeah, I'm one of those players that got every trophy in Resident Evil Village but couldn't bother getting the S-rank in every Mercenaries stage. But with the new Mercenaries Additional Orders expansion, I've been having a blast with this mode. The DLC adds BSAA agent Chris Redfield as a new playable character and he's extremely powerful, borderline OP. Chris comes with a powerful arsenal of guns, along with a Straight Punch and Left Hook utilizing his robust strength. He also gets an Onslaught gauge that when full increases Chris' movement and reload speeds, plus his attacks do a lot more damage. I was able to S-Rank the initial three stages with relative ease using Chris.

You can also unlock Karl Heisenberg, another formidable playable character and one of the four lords serving Mother Miranda. Heisenberg wields a huge hammer and has the ability to manipulate magnetic forces to send metal scraps or blades at enemies, or pull them near you using a magnetic field. He can also construct terrifying Soldat Jets to join him in battle and order them to smash and explode your opponents.

The final unlockable character is the one we've all been waiting for: Lady Dimitrescu. As expected, she's extremely deadly with her deadly talons, but she can also conjure throwable vintage vanities or summon insect swarms to exterminate your foes. Lady D also has a Thrill meter that allows her to slam down hostiles, while also increasing her movement speed and talon damage. Once you fill the Thrill meter you can call upon her daughters to join the fray and demolish enemies.

The three new playable characters add a lot of excitement and replayability to the Mercenaries mode. It's cool, too, that you can also unlock new perks for characters by S-ranking levels. The Winters’ Expansion further adds two new stages, the Bloody Village and Bloody River, giving you more fresh content to play and even greater replayability.

Liked: Rose's Mold Powers

The showcase new addition in the Winters’ Expansion is the story continuation featuring Rose Winters, 16 years after the events of Resident Evil Village. Rose's roughly three-hour campaign is played in the third-person, similar to the main campaign.

Rose's gun arsenal is limited compared to Ethan's—she only gets a pistol and a shotgun, which was a bit of a letdown. However, she has access to an expanded set of 'mold' powers, primarily the ability to freeze enemies by targeting their weak spots. I'm so used to Resident Evil's norm of throwing grenades and firing guns so it was refreshing controlling a character with supernatural powers.

The main enemy you'll face during her campaign is the frightening Face Eaters that can grab Rose and suck her soul out. Rose can use her mold freeze ability to kill these creatures, but you have to employ this power sparingly since it has extremely limited ammo. You can also freeze Megamycete spores to eliminate their tangled roots and goopy sludge, effectively clearing new paths to explore. Although I'm not sure I'd want to play through a full-length campaign with Rose's supernatural-power focus (I prefer traditional guns and grenades!), it was a nice change of pace for the series.

Didn't Like: Rose's Campaign Story

While I enjoyed Rose's unique new abilities, the actual campaign story was average at best. Taking place a decade and a half after Ethan's story wraps up, Rose is on a mission to enter the consciousness of the Megamycete in search of a cure for her mold powers.

Shadows of Rose takes you on a mind-bending trek through warped versions of Lady D's Castle, House Beneviento and the village itself. The sequence of events has its highlights, such as a great pit battle against the Masked Duke's fiercest Face Eaters, plus a mega creepy stealth segment where you need to avoid killer dolls. Quite honestly the action is great and the pace is snappy.

The complaint I have though is that this campaign doesn't progress the Resident Evil Village story all that much, and seems primarily to be an introduction to Rose (perhaps as a lead protagonist in a future title?). You do get a heartwarming moment with Ethan and Rose, plus you get some closure with Eveline. Just don't go into this DLC story expecting revelations. The best part, really, is after playing Shadows of Rose the final sequence in RE Village where Rose visits Ethan's grave before getting into the car takes on new meaning, given the underlying new subtext.

The Verdict

Resident Evil Village Winters’ Expansion is a great add-on with its new third-person mode and new story campaign, but I thought The Mercenaries Additional Orders was the best new content. Not only was I able to get better results using Chris, Heisenberg and Lady D, but these characters are just a blast to play as. If you enjoyed RE Village, I'm convinced you'll be lycan this DLC expansion.

Final Score: 8/10 - Great

Resident Evil Village Winters’ Expansion details

Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Survival Horror
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

A key was provided by the publisher.