We have known for a while that Resident Evil Village DLC was coming, but none of us knew what to expect from it. There was the feeling that perhaps the expansion would be more of a prequel. After all – spoiler alert… weewooweewoo… spoiler alert – following the ending of Village (seriously, spoilers incoming, don't make me use the siren again) Ethan Winters died. More accurately, he died during the events of Biohazard, and was just a weird spore man for a significant chunk of Biohazard and all of Village, an explanation that's so nutty I have three friends who are allergic to it. Village saw him dead for realsies though, buried and everything, with his daughter Rosemary visiting his grave while under the care of shady government officials, all after a timeskip that takes her from a babe in arms to a teenager. It's on Rose that the DLC sequel, titled Shadows of Rose, will revolve around.
Rose is subject to the reverse of her father's fate in Village – while Ethan is alive but not really, Rose is dead but not really. We are told that Rose is dead and churned up into pieces, with the game tasking us with assembling the pieces of her into a macabre jigsaw to bring her back. Except she was never dead in the first place, and neither was our wife who was shot dead in front of us, but we are, which makes the whole thing even more ridiculous. Aside from all that, the breakout star of Village was Lady Dimitrescu, and given that she dies in the first couple of hours (playtime, as always, varies heavily with Resi games), a prequel is the only way to get her back on board.
But we're ploughing forward with Rose. The expansion will see Rose try to rid herself of her powers (she's a weird spore baby, not getting into that granola any further right now), by visiting a metaphysical world where she meets – and possibly fights – her own doppelganger. It's clear part of this world is actually Castle Dimitrescu, so we might see Lady D back anyway, but it doesn't solve the problem that I'm just incredibly bored of the Winters by now. Ethan is a frankly terrible protagonist, with zero defining traits or personality. He is a throwback to the video game stars of the '90s and '00s, all generic white men with the charisma of a slice of bread – the great irony being that Resident Evil was ahead of the curve and traditionally had great leading lights even as the medium as a whole floundered.
Ethan's reactions to everything are underplayed and snooze inducing. His hand is chopped off, and his only reaction is to sprinkle goo on the cut and swivel it back into place. This is supposed to be a hint that Ethan is not quite what he seems, but Ethan drops the moment so completely, with zero curiosity about his own apparent invincibility, that the moment is fumbled. When he finds out the truth about himself, his reaction is similarly nonplussed. I'm glad he's dead and I never want to see him again. Rose might turn out to be a great character, and it's not fair to judge her on the one scene she's had thus far, but she is indelibly tied to Ethan. He is almost guaranteed to show up in this expansion, along with Lady D, as a subconscious portion of Rose's mind. It was bad enough when Arkham did that with Joker, and folks, Ethan Winters ain't Joker.
The Winters played an important role in Resident Evil's history. After the mess of Resident Evil 6, Ethan's turns in Biohazard and Village got the wheels back on track. I thank him for his service. But now it's time for him and his whole family to die. For real, this time.
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