We’ve been having fun revisiting some previously released games recently because they all received new content. Today, we’re discussing the Winters’ Expansion for Resident Evil Village, the Bloody Ties DLC for Dying Light 2 Stay Human, the new bundle of The Weeknd songs for Beat Saber and Citizen Sleeper – Episode REFUGE.
Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion DLC review (PS5)
We’re already eagerly anticipating the Resident Evil 4 remake that’s launching next year, but loved diving back into Resident Evil Village with the new Winters’ Expansion, which launched alongside (and as a part of) the Gold Edition of the game just before Halloween. Having played and reviewed the base game before, we took a look at the new content on a PlayStation 5.
Without spoiling too much, one of the most intriguing characters in Resident Evil Village was Rose – whom we had to save but appeared to play a larger role in a larger and mysterious story that was left untold. The “Shadows of Rose” story expansion contained in the new Village DLC aims to answer at least some of the questions associated with Rose, fleshing out what this teenage girl is about and what special powers she has.
While story content isn’t the only thing in this expansion (you can now also replay the original campaign from a third person perspective and additional characters are available in Mercenaries mode), it’s definitely the highlight here – although for a $20/€20 package it’s relatively short with about three hours of gameplay. Capcom managed to cram a lot into those three hours though, with puzzles to tackle, some terrifying moments and some nerve-racking combat with a toned back arsenal of weapons and the ability to magically slow down enemies at your disposal.
And while Shadows of Rose unfortunately doesn’t include new locations (you revisit the castle through some kind of mental projection), it does succeed in making Rose feel like a far more meaningful character – one who wants to live a regular life away from the torment she was cursed with. There are still questions that linger after completing the new story so we’re wondering if there’s more to come from the Winters family. If there is, we’ll be eager to dive into it – this may be a short return to Village but it’s a well-produced one.
Dying Light 2 Bloody Ties DLC review (PS5)
Techland certainly hasn’t been sitting still since they released Dying Light 2 Stay Human at the start of the year. After a couple of free content updates and patches, they’ve now released their first major paid expansion with Bloody Ties. It’s available for all systems – we tested it on a PlayStation 5.
At the end of 2022, Dying Light 2 still ranks among our favorite games of the year, so we were looking forward to Bloody Ties to see if it would reignite the same spark we felt at the start of the year. Whether that’s true for you will probably depend on how you go into it though, as it wasn’t what we thought it was going to be. With so much emphasis on narrative choices in the core campaign, we expected Bloody Ties to be similarly structured, but it focuses on different aspects.
Having said that, there’s still a story component here, where you get drawn into a sort of underground bloodsport and the secrets behind the organization that runs it. And while interesting enough, it doesn’t elevate itself above some of the main game’s side quests/stories either, in terms of storytelling. Instead, this underground sport is much more of a gateway to a series of challenges that takes you to Carnage Hall, a new location in the game.
From combat to traversal, these objectives are both diverse and challenging, and to guarantee a level playing field you’re only allowed to wear standard outfits. It’s fun stuff if you’re into the more competitive and challenging elements of the game, and the cosmetic items you get as a reward will appeal to some players as well. If Dying Light 2 was more of a narrative experience for you then Bloody Ties might be underwhelming though, so be mindful of your expectations going into it.
Beat Saber – The Weeknd DLC review (Quest)
Rhythm-based gameplay remains a big thing in VR, and when it comes to high profile music tracks it’s safe to say that Beat Saber is this generation’s Guitar Hero/Rock Band. They just released what’s arguably their highest profile selection of tracks thus far, with ten tracks by Canadian sensation The Weeknd that can be purchased as a bundle or individually.
In addition to the new tracks, Beat Games has also released a new custom environment to go along with the new music, as well as a few new in-game elements that help bring everything to life. These mostly include new variations of existing objects like lasers, which now no longer have to be static but can actually move around.
Song-wise, this is a fantastic collection of hit songs that span the artist’s rise to fame over the past decade or so, with number one songs and collaborations with the likes of Daft Punk. The Weeknd’s music is generally feel good music that’s not overly exhausting to move around to either, so we had a fantastic time playing with the soundtrack on offer. We wished that “In Your Eyes” had made it too, but couldn’t identify a track we would have eliminated for it either.
With tracks like Blinding Lights, Save Your Tears, Starboy, I Feel It Coming and Hurricane, this is probably our favorite music pack for Beat Saber thus far. Part of us hopes that Beat Games will explore past artists as well though – we’d love to see Michael Jackson, Prince or a disco edition. Fingers crossed! Until then, we’ll be chasing high scores with this new pack.
Citizen Sleeper – Episode: REFUGE review (Xbox One)
Here’s a game that initially slipped through the cracks for us, as Citizen Sleeper was extremely well received when it launched earlier this year for Xbox, PC and the Nintendo Switch. We can now agree that it’s a masterful example of digital storytelling within a sci-fi environment, and what’s exciting is that its developers (Jump Over the Age) have recently launched REFUGE, the second free post-launch content pack for the game.
The currently planned post-launch expansions are actually a trilogy, of which REFUGE is the second part. As we only recently discovered Citizen Sleeper, we had only just completed the main story before embarking on the new content, which was easy enough to get through with our experienced characters but will probably prove to be more challenging if you decide to tackle it earlier on (or on a later replay).
We also felt that, by nature, REFUGE did not provide the ‘hook’ that the first part of a trilogy has to lure you in, not the satisfying end you’ll probably reach when part 3 launches. For that, we’ll have to wait until early next year, so if you haven’t jumped (back) into Citizen Sleeper, we’d recommend waiting a little bit. This is a great experience that was built on the foundations of tabletop RPGs but has been brought to life in digital form really well – and did we mention it includes free post-launch DLC?