X360A Review: Resi Evil 5's Desperate Escape

Nate Gillick

Desperate Escape bears several similarities to the Lost in Nightmares chapter released less than a month ago. Both chapters are short - taking less than two hours to complete, both offer a pair of new characters to use in the Mercenaries Reunion mode, and each expands on story elements mentioned in the main retail game. With so much in common, one would think that the level of quality between the two chapters would also be on a similar level, but Desperate Escape's biggest surprise may be how vastly superior it is to the chapter released before it.

The chainsaw majini makes an explosive entrance.

After Chris freed Jill from Wesker's mind control in the later chapters of the main game, he and Sheva set off to board Wesker's ship and take him down, leaving Jill behind. Teaming up with BSAA agent Josh Stone, Desperate Escape follows the pair as they make their way through the Tricell facility to the helicopter they'll eventually ride to Chris and Sheva's rescue at the end of the game. With the most intense action of any sequence in Resident Evil 5, Desperate Escape truly lives up to its name. Majini seem to come without limits, which means players will be under attack for almost the entire length of the chapter, and must thus juggle self defense with item gathering and moving forward in the level. Enemy variety is excellent, with most regular majini types, as well as the chainsaw majini and heavy machine gunners making appearances.

Players will constantly be on edge as the level design frequently forces players to split up so one player can clear the path for the other. In the face of unending attacks, having to be separated from your partner can be particularly nerve-wracking. While the ending of Lost in Nightmares felt phoned in, the finale to Desperate Escape is a triumph. To escape, Jill and Josh need to survive against an onslaught of enemies in a contained rooftop battle as a timer counts down to zero. In our playthrough on Veteran, we fought hard, but died several times in the face of such stiff opposition before succeeding. Despite its short length, Desperate Escape's story provides the best 60-90 minutes of action in the game without a doubt, easily making it worth the price of admission.

Rebecca packs a mean punch. Who knew?

Like Lost in Nightmares before it, Desperate Escape brings two new playable characters to the mayhem of Mercenaries Reunion. This time players can play as Josh Stone and S.T.A.R.S. agent Rebecca Chambers, each of whom seems to cater to different skill levels. For more advanced players, Josh offers a greater level of challenge. Armed with an M92F handgun and the M3 shotgun, Josh can't seem to dish the hurt the same way Excella or Barry from Lost in Nightmares can. While he does have three frag grenades and a rocket launcher to handle sticky situations, he still feels underpowered compared to other characters. For advanced players, take him on as a challenge; everyone else should shy away. Rebecca on the other hand has to be the most "noob-friendly" character in the game. Armed with an MP5 and the Jail Breaker shotgun, Rebecca can dish out the hurt, and carries with her an almost obscene amount of ammo from the start. Add in the fact that she carries two health sprays, and she has all the makings of a character who can hold out for a long time without having to hunt for ammo or items. With Rebecca, racking up high scores is really rather easy.

Desperate Escape has five new achievements worth an additional 100 points, with this list not differing much from the one in Lost in Nightmares. Both have achievements for completing the chapter, doing it on Prefessional, and doing it with an S rank. At least Desperate Escape mixes things up a bit with achievements for taking out 150 enemies in one playthrough, and killing 3 Agitator Majini in one run. It's certainly nice to see a couple different types of achievements, but the new achievements are hardly revolutionary.

Facing non-stop attacks for virtually the entire length of the chapter, players will not be able to breathe easy until the credits roll. Providing truly intense action, Desperate Escape is absolutely worth the price of admission alone, while the additional 100 achievement points and two characters for Mercenaries Reunion are merely the icing on the cake.

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