25th February 2010 - No doubt Resident Evil has been around for a long time. In fact Resident Evil gets around in general; it’s been on almost every platform imaginable including the arcades and looks like staying around a while longer. The story is starting to get wound up in knots and Resident Evil 5 was met with despondent cries that the series had been dumned down. Can the first DLC Episode re-kindle our fervor or is it deader than Milla Jovavichs’ movies?
>The following, may contain spoilers<
See what I did there; Milla Jovavich is the one in the Resident Evil movies, usually the last thing to go before a franchise heads south, though fortunately Capcom released Resident Evil 5 and the first next gen outing was rather excellent. Designed for co-op from the ground up it provided both an addictive online selection of gameplay and some tense co-op zombie infested action. The new DLC: Lost in Nightmares, doesn’t.
In theory I applaud what Capcom have done. Just in case any one missed the previous games, lets take them all the way back to Resident Evil One, except not, stick the player in a spooky haunted mansion with lots of puzzles and just a couple of really big bad guys.
Lost in Nightmares apparently fills in a memory gap that exists between Resident Evil 3 and 5. Chris Redfield is mopping up the last of evil bio-genetics Umbrella and ever faithful Jill Valentine is along for the ride. The bad guy from Res Evil 5, Albert Wesker is actually the 13th failed experiment of the mad scientist who owns the castle and is loose with awesome Matrix style moves. Cut-scenes in 5 actually show you what happens next, so it baffles that they even made this episode. And so, because the DLC is shorter than the time it took to write this review, here’s a list of problems in no particular order:
As much as I like the feel of a haunted mansion and it really does bring back memories of the first two original games, and it is nice to have Jill Valentine back; Res Evil has evolved as a medium since then. Being stuck in 3 or 4 rooms collecting pass-codes and pulling levers to unlock more doors to access more levers to get the final pass code to disable a trap…is just a little tedious. Cute, and rather nostalgic but also half the episode and not a zombie in sight.
Without co-op the partner AI is at best annoying. Not only will she not use the shotgun or sniper if you give it to her, she only ever uses the pistol! – Wait that’s the same thing. Further for the first half of the DLC you are stuck with her as she always tries to stand where you are, on top of you or inside you. The girl has some serious space issues that should have been fixed in the year or so this game has been out.
Maybe I’m a bit slow, but it took me a while to figure out why I couldn’t save. That’s right, you have to play the DLC all at once or start over lest you decide to turn it off. Luckily it is short, bizarrely the episode is literally a missing level of the game (sort of) and so as with Resident Evil 5 you play each chapter and are scored and ranked only after you finish the whole thing.
Did I mention the lack of enemies? It’s like the last year never happened. There is basically only one enemy type in the game; A big lumbering hulk with throw-down axe that is a lot weaker than the big lumbering zombie in Res Evil 5.
The first half of the game has no enemies; the second half has no guns. That’s right; there is a small middle bit of mazes where you get to collect your guns, and then they take it all away from you leaving you in a muddy mess under the castle running around looking for puzzle pieces. Each area has a different color and matches a colored lever with a colored piece. Lure the hulk in, kill, rinse and repeat.
So there you have it. Not only does the level end with the same cut-scene from 5, but it doesn’t explain anything more after. I mean seriously, I don’t care how they got into the mansion I’m more interested in how Jill turned into a super human half zombie killer. It’s blatantly disappointing.
After exiting from under the mansion you are given; a pistol- to kill the boss, I mean trigger the cut-scene. So ‘skill’ involves dodging and shooting him with your pea-shooter until the scene is triggered.
In the end, they really could have doubled the length of the story, showing exactly how Chris escaped and how Jill and Wesker survived. And if you’re wondering, no, the second DLC doesn’t explain it.
It is not all moaning and groaning though. Res Evil 5 looks great and so does the environment. There are some suitably gory dungeons and some more information about the back-story of the bad guy that never dies, Wesker. It is a rather brief trip down memory lane and at best reminds you of just how much fun Res Evil used to be before being over-run with a plethora of politically incorrect zombies.
The Mercenaries Reunion
So unless, I missed something the Merc Reunion mode is based on an old res evil online mode or co-op or even single player if you want. Again, if you played Res Evil 5, you will know the maps backward and in this case, it really helps. It’s basically an elite ‘hardcore’ mode of the online in Res Evil 5.
You get a new bevy of characters, with new ‘heavy weapon’ load-outs, like flamethrowers and Gatling guns. You will need them, because the timers in the levels, which you break to increase time and multipliers have all been tweaked. There is a lot less health and a lot more enemies. Also each level as best as can tell, has less time in total to collect kills.
The maps are the same ones from the main game and no new levels, like the mansion from the DLC! appear. In fact the only new thing about this mode of play, besides the load-outs is the slightly fetish costumes for the characters. All the levels are locked again and won’t be accessible until you rank an A on the previous one. Even playing as Jill is unavailable in the story until you finish the game
It is almost a little unforgivable just how much Capcom tries to string you along with the content here. For sure, they released the character costumes and models free of charge, but trying to fob off Mercenary reunion as new is not worth it. Strangely Res Evil 5 updates when you install this and adds another bunch of hidden menus for all this content. It makes no sense why the current Mercenaries mode can not accommodate the new mercy models and game mode, because the maps are the same! Even unlocked character models appear in their own menu instead of updating the already exiting list of player models to perv on.
The new weapon load outs are great, and you do get a lot of bang for your buck downloading it all, but a ‘fantasy’ cos-play outfit, leather fetish metal costume and ‘naughty’ business attire are a strange combination for killing un-dead. It is more (and more) of the same great stuff we were given in Resident Evil 5 and yet, leaves you feeling- ripped off.
This is only half the story; the second DLC ships next month. It fills in another ‘gap’ actually during Res Evil 5 where uber evil Jill escapes with the African dude. Expect more of the same but with better action. If you and a mate are hard-core and simply ‘must’ play it, it’s all a lot of fun but otherwise consider wiping your memory, and picking up the Gold Edition, which includes the new DLC and every thing else including Resident Evil 5 to play over again.
AAG Single Player Score: 6/10
AAG Multiplayer Score: 5/10
- Tries to capture the feel of older Resident Evil games
- Looks beautiful
- Has the ‘classic’ horror feel of being alone
- Way too short
- Poorly designed gameplay
- Merc Reunion is not much of a reunion
Reviewed & Written By Ian Crane