Resident Evil 8: Shadows of Rose is the first Resi set in the future and nobody cares?
OK, mental arithmetic! Resident Evil Village is set in 2020. In Shadows of Rose, you play as Rose, Ethan’s daughter, who was just a baby in Village (and then broken down into pieces for you to find and puzzle back together). Here she is 16 years old. Means that this massive expansion, like the post-credits scene, is set in Village 2036. A first Future-Resi, that is. It’s just that you don’t notice anything about it.
I’ve already played the DLC, which will be released on October 28th, and I have to say that it was surprisingly close to Village. Down to the setting – the Dimitrescu Castle – and a certain obese character recurring this time as a villain. If I didn’t know better, I would decree this parallel to the events of the eighth part. Then again, I only played an excerpt and, above all, didn’t see the start of the expansion. What I do know – and can say – is that Rose is probably not really physically in this place, which has undergone quite a few “changes” over the course of the last game.
Rather, it is a visualization of her attempt to rid herself of her uncanny mushroom powers. The narrative counterpart to every Super Mario level, so to speak. In any case, it’s all very surreal when this teenage girl confronts a remnant of the Black God mushroom and her own supernatural nature. She meets people who seem unfamiliar to her, receives ghostly, written messages from which objects can sometimes materialize – but otherwise experiences strikingly similar things to her father Ethan.
There’s masks to find that act as keys when using them in busts, collecting medicinal herbs, and of course lots of right shoulder shooting. A new element is the black slime that spreads, sometimes preventing Rose from moving freely in the arenas. With her Mold powers, she can then destroy the source of this mean soup from which opponents called Face-Eaters peel themselves: buds of flowers that seem to have grown straight out of hell.
Gameplay-wise, what’s happening here is all fairly familiar, as is the fight against the Face-Eaters, although their attack animation of slowly sucking Rose’s face off is done quite grossly. The playing time should be in the mid single-digit hour range, which is quite okay for a 20-euro expansion with some additional goodies. What I keep asking myself: How does the game deal with the problem that dream, vision or VR scenarios always bring with them. Then again, Rose should be allowed to achieve her goal. This can also be an exciting driving force for the plot.
What else? Oh yes: Mercenary mode adds Ethan Winters, Heisenberg and a shrunken Lady Dimitrescu as playable characters and you can now experience the main adventure in the more classic third-person view, which might also be worth a look. Those are a few nice extras that fluff up the expansion to impressive proportions.
Nevertheless, I have to admit, as far as the pleasant Village is concerned, I’ve been sitting on my packed suitcases for a long time to leave this village behind me. I’m ready for Resident Evil’s storyline to turn its back on the Mold menace as well, and I look forward to what’s next. But this one round is still possible, I think, especially since the additional episode should end up in the mid-single-digit hour range and end the narrative thread about the Winters family. The last souvenir, so to speak, that I put in my pocket before I leave.
Which should probably bring us back to the present from 2036, at least once we’ve gotten past Resident Evil 4 Remake. I’m excited to see what the future really has in store for “Resi”.