Resident Evil 5 may have been the black sheep in the series’ main line-up (that’s excluding the Outbreak, the Chronicles, and the Survivor games), but that didn’t mean it wasn’t one of the best action/adventure titles to come out last year. While I could go on about how fantastic Resident Evil 5 is – seeing as how it is easily in my top 5 games of all-time – I’ll merely refer you to the review.
It has been a little under a year since Capcom has given Resident Evil 5 owners anything but the controversial “Versus” mode released April of last year. “Lost in Nightmares” is one of two reported downloadable episodes for the game. The pack includes a semi-new chapter in the main game’s storyline – sort of a prequel – that will help establish why Chris is overly butt-hurt about losing Jill throughout Resident Evil 5‘s narrative, as well as a remixed variant of the game’s “Mercenaries” mode called “Mercenaries Reunion” that features new characters.
“Lost in Nightmares” is essentially the prologue to Chris’ adventures with Sheva in Africa. It is set in Ozwell E. Spencer’s mansion – which should look familiar to those who have played through enough of Resident Evil 5‘s main story – the CEO of the infamous Umbrella Corporation. The episode has BSAA-edition Chris and Jill as they infiltrate Spencer’s mansion in order to apprehend the frail, old, God-complexed cripple.
Nostalgic Feelings All Around
The gameplay in “Lost in Nightmares” still retains the action-oriented handling that players have come to expect from Resident Evil 5, but there is definitely this feeling that Capcom was constructing this episode in throwback fashion. Feelings of isolation and dark, cold interiors were staples to the Resident Evil series and they are ever present here. Puzzles pertaining to “fetch” quests and looking for something to “fit in this square recess” also make a more prominent return. Chris even mentions in-game of the unhealthy obsession Spencer has with cranks.
“Mercenaries” Mode Still Rocks…
“Mercenaries Reunion” is just more of the same “Mercenaries” mode that came with the retail package, only now players can take control of new characters. Chris and Sheva are still in the mix with different attire (Heavy Metal, Warrior and Fairytale, Business Woman; respectively), as well as Josh Stone, Excella Gionne, Rebecca Chambers (Resident Evil 0), and Barry Burton (Resident Evil). “Reunion” also features two new enemy types: infected dogs can now be found in “Mines” and the overgrown spider-like creatures from the marshes can be found in “Public Assembly”.
…But What is the Point of “Reunion”?
Sure, “Reunion” is fun… but what is the point? It would have been much better to integrate the new characters and enemy variants into the pre-existing “Mercenaries” mode. Creating this new mode now thins the number of available players online between those who bought the DLC and those who didn’t. The number of Resident Evil 5 players online are already dwindling without having them split between two game modes that are essentially the same.
Short Episode is Short
The episode itself can be finished in under an hour – if you’re slow. There are little-to-no cutscenes in “Lost in Nightmares” and enemies are actually a rare treat. However, the enemies that are in the episode can easily be taken out with a bit of teamwork, and the mansion’s layout is linear with no reward for exploration.
No Lasting Value
Besides “Mercenaries Reunion”, players won’t see themselves revisiting “Lost in Nightmares”‘s narrative. Unlike Resident Evil 5‘s main story features, players can’t upgrade weapons or transfer items to-and-from the game’s inventory system. Then again, there is NO point in doing so – seeing as how there is nothing really to shoot at!
“Lost in Nightmares” is a complete fan-service throwback. Period. There is no real substance to be found here for shelling out the $5 (400 MSP) to download this content, unless you are either: a) a die-hard fan of the series; b) wholly interested in the new characters offered in “Mercenaries Reunion”; or c) really interested in what happened at Spencer’s mansion after the constant reference made to it in the main game’s narrative. The added chapter lacks any real challenge, and because of that – there is really no point to playing through it.
While “Lost in Nightmares” is definitely not what I was looking for in additional content for Resident Evil 5, it was certainly… interesting to experience, though not worthwhile. For those of you still holding out hope for some substantial content (like me), “Desperate Escape” will be available March 3rd.
Review based on the Xbox 360 version.