X360A Review: Resi Evil 5's Lost in Nightmares
Written Tuesday, February 23, 2010 By Nate Gillick
Almost a year after the release of Resident Evil 5, Capcom has decided to bless us with the first of two new downloadable episodes for the game. Lost in Nightmares gives players the opportunity to play as Chris and Jill as they fight their way through the Spencer estate, leading up to the battle with Wesker referenced in one of the original game's cutscenes. Because Lost in Nightmares is treated as its own side episode, players will not be able to bring in their powered up weapons or infinite ammo from the core game, which helps preserve a level of challenge to the mission.
Jill better be circling around...
The opening segment of the chapter has players traversing back and forth across the mansion, looking for crests and cranks to open doors and progress deeper into the level. It evokes a feeling of reliving the original Resident Evil, but backtracking across the small area quickly grows tiresome. The latter areas on the other hand provide much better action. When Chris and Jill encounter a new enemy not seen in the core game, Lost in Nightmares' tension level skyrockets. Only vulnerable to shots to its eye along a hump on its back, this hulking new adversary will require wise flanking tactics to take out. Capcom did a great job designing the areas to allow players to exploit this weakness, with enough branching paths to allow players to lure the enemy one way while the other player circles around.
While it can be intense fighting two, three, or even four of these beasts at once across the estate's dungeon areas, it's disappointing that this new foe represents the only enemy type players will encounter on the road to the final battle. Fighting Wesker likewise disappoints, as this boss battle feels completely phoned in. Wesker's moves and tactics are virtually the same as the main game, with not nearly enough done to differentiate this battle from the others. Factor in its brevity, and you have an anti-climax to an overall short episode.
For fans of the Mercenaries mode, the new Mercenaries Reunion offering will provide the meat of the Lost in Nightmares package. Mercenaries Reunion offers players slightly retooled versions of each map, with some item locations or enemy types changing, and new characters to bring to the chaos. Excella Gionne and STARS member Barry Burton come with this package, each with their own weapon loadout. Not shipping with the Lost in Nightmares DLC are the Warrior Chris and Fairy Tale Sheva skins which can be purchased separately for 160MSP in the Costume Pack 1 DLC.
You're watching the kick, right?
Excella's M93R handgun can shred Majini with its three-shot bursts, while Barry's Samurai Edge will kill a Majini in just two or three shots. When faced with a truly target-rich environment, Excella can open up with her AK-74 or pull out a grenade launcher with flash rounds to assist in a retreat. Players to use Barry have a S&W M29 Magnum to make short work of the big enemies, or can retreat to a safe distance to work over the crowd with the Dragunov. Both characters feel equally capable of bringing swift death to the enemy, so the choice between who to play boils down to personal preference. Why not give them both a spin?
Lost in Nightmares offers 100 additional gamerscore across five achievements: competing the chapter, doing it with an S rank, on professional, finding all the hidden score stars, and inflicting enough damage on Wesker at the end will net you all the points. Each of these achievements is essentially a new version of one of the core game's achievements, just applied to this specific chapter, so the lack of originality is disappointing. It would have been nice to see at lease one tied to the new Mercenaries Reunion mode.
With a campaign chapter lasting about an hour, and only two of the eight Mercenaries Reunion characters available with it, Lost in Nightmares feels like a paper thin package. Although the new enemy provides some solid action and intense moments across the levels that are well designed to exploit its weakness, it would have been nice to encounter more than just one enemy type. The overly short, phoned-in feel to the final battle with Wesker left a sour taste in our mouth, which the fun of tooling Majini with Excella and Barry couldn't quite remove. Truth be told, Mercenaries fans may find enough to love this DLC, but gamers looking solely for a good story mission will feel short-changed.