13th March 2010 - On the back of the last DLC for Resident Evil 5, Lost in Nightmares, we unpack the last of the content on the Gold Edition and run screaming through the trenches in an episode straight out of the initial game: In the immortal words of Arnie: “Get to the chopper!”
If someone downloading these Res Evil 5 episodes suddenly got the feeling that they were in the middle of someone else’s story and that maybe they had been ripped off from downloading the full game; then they wouldn’t be far wrong.
Both Lost in Nightmares and Desperate escape are essentially missing parts of the larger Gold Edition. Think of it as a directors cut. The Gold Edition of Res Evil 5 actually has two extra chapters that were not shoe-horned into the original game. But the poor folk, who 1 year ago couldn’t wait, can now download them and then pay for extra character loadouts and costumes as well.
Depending which side of the rotting corpses you fall on, Desperate Escape will either be more of the same DLC you have already played, as opposed to the ‘refreshing’ Lost in Nightmares or, it will be a welcome return to actually shooting things against the clock as the odds are stacked against you.
Picking up right in the middle of the Resident Evil 5 story, Chris Redfield and new partner Sheva have just been reunited with Jill Valentine; long since gone and generically modified with some uber cleavage scars in all the right places. Chris and Sheva escape only to leave Jill to wake up with a new partner Josh Stone ready to extract her from the field. Straight up, Josh is a much more competent AI partner as he will actually heal you and or shoot and conserve ammo. That said he still can’t throw a grenade for the life of him or use mines leaving the player controlled Jill to do the dirty work. That’s right; you get to look at the back of Jill as she parades her stilettos and cat suit through the trenches that separate the facility from the air-field.
It’s a war zone, but also a demo. Because of just how short these episodes are, and despite more scope of Gameplay- it can still be nailed in less than 2 hours, they tend to serve as a taster to the bigger game and none more so than Desperate Escape. There are basically 3 zones and the last one is pulled straight from multiplayer with 6 minuets on the clock and no where to run. But the areas in-between are literally a mash up of trenches and mud and gun torrents, something that was sorely missing from the main game. It’s like D-Day at Normandy with zombies as Jill and Josh run through and climbing walls and blowing up doors.
Get to the chopper. This seems to be the first time in Resident Evil 5 where you didn’t have to kill everyone to progress. Basically for each area there is one objective and it usually involves finding a key on a dead body, once you have that key there is no point to stick around and you can just run through to the next area. This negates even collecting points as every dead body seems to drop ‘points’ with bosses dropping ‘large points’, but once you relies that the infected will keep coming you’re better off running away because health is scarce and ammo worse.
Zombie mounted rocket turrets. Not that it’s not cool for zombies to have you pinned in a zigzag across a map with giant exploding rocket turrets, but you would think your AI partner could at least help! While the player is trying to get behind the turrets to use them to blow the door to the next bit, Josh is getting his head handed to him. Even when he is right next to a turret and there is a command for ‘your partner’ to use it, he will flatly refuse: Shame on you Capcom for making a game that only works in co-op.
The final countdown. Unlike Lost in Nightmares, where you were supposed to be alone and Wesker said barley a word, Desperate Escape will see you contact Chris and Sheva and also introduces Joshes’ pilot. Without spoiling too much, the end has a twist but also mostly recreates the epic ending of Resident Evil 5, except not. At least at the end of 5, even as you were exiting the game you were allowed one final finger to the zombies as you took over the rocket launcher and blew the place to hell. Well the same thing happens in this level, except there’s no satisfaction; a small gripe but one that would have rounded out the experience nicely. The final amounts of bosses are ridiculously overwhelming though.
Speaking of which, Capcom have once again not included any new levels in the Mercenaries Reunion mode. The Mansion of the first DLC would have worked perfectly and it is bizarre that the final section on this one is not included as a map in multiplayer/co-op. It is already essentially a mercenaries’ map with a timer and everything, so why stiff us with the same maps we’ve had all year! Included in this bundle is the option of forking over more monies for two more ‘heavy’ units in the mercenaries’ mode, which is still really fun, if not getting a little repetitive.
This may well be the last time, we ever mention it, but there are still a few more things to add. Since the last DLC just under a month ago, not a lot has changed except mercifully the final two characters are available:
‘Heavy metal’ Chris and ‘Naughty office worker’ Sheva.
For this review we didn’t explicitly download and/or pay for them although we can tell you that this load out for Chris should come with a nice big Gatling gun. This leads us to balancing. Mercenaries re-union, for all intents and purposes was designed to be an ‘elite’ hardcore core mode, harder than the first version and thus the heavy weapon load out were to compensate- they don’t. There’s no way to see the inside of a zombies head quicker than with either an automatic assault shotgun or – a Gatling gun.
New character model Rebecca, taken from the obscure Resident Evil Zero, is both a self medic and an ace with said shotgun. The first halves of the levels are ridiculously easy, as the ammo drops are all for the shotty and she packs a plethora of health.
Rather than aim for a tightly controlled hard experience, Capcom have instead lavished fan service by allowing you to pay to unlock the higher level equipment and cut sick with a friend across all the maps. There was never much incentive to do a map over as, if another map is unlocked it means literally that you scored the highest on the previous map and can move on.
All said and done, Resident Evil is still ridiculously good looking and the maps so well designed that they never actually get old. You can always shave a few more seconds off your time or try out different weapon combinations with a friend. It’s just a shame that they didn’t charge us for new maps instead of new costumes.
It’s surprising just how much fans are eating this up, and just how much life both Resident Evil 5 and the Mercenaries Reunion has in it. After all this time there is still a lot of fun to be had playing, either alone or with a buddy. The online is addictive and the formula simple, but nailed perfectly.
Desperate Escape really works best as a taste of the bigger picture and the overall story. The main characters are all introduced as well as a feel for all the different enemy types. As a whole package, the game is gold.
Resident Evil 5 is a must buy. Its approach to shooting mechanics and enemy is unique if not a little old-school and it simply looks gorgeous. It would be nice to see Capcom release all this DLC on one disc for consumers rather than separate transactions all the time, but otherwise you can find it inside the Gold Edition. Lost in Nightmares tries to stays true to the story while Desperate Escape fills in the gaps. If you were disappointed by Left for Dead 2 in Australia, then this is for you.
AAG Single Player Score: 7.5/10
AAG Multiplayer Score: 5/10
- More of the same Resident Evil 5 action
- You get to play as Jill
- New characters introduced
- Too short
- Partner AI still an issue
- Merc Reunion is not much of a reunion
Reviewed and Written By Ian Crane