MWN Mini Reviews: Resident Evil 5 – Lost in Nightmares

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If you didn’t know already, the first piece of upcoming DLC for Resident Evil 5, Lost in Nightmares was released today. The DLC chapter consists of Chris and Jill’s time in the Spencer Mansion before the encounter with Wesker that Chris mentions during a cut scene in the main game. It also begins the extended Mercenaries mode by giving you Barry Burton, of the first game and Sandwich fame, and Excella, one of the game’s antagonists. Rebecca Chambers of the first game and its prequel is also available, but needs to be unlocked. Being a big RE fan, it has been a day one purchase of mine for a while, especially with the similarities between Spencer’s mansion and the original game’s mansion. Hit the jump for a short review on the chapter itself.

From beginning to end, I could definitely see that this was a piece of DLC for past fans. The Spencer Mansion is an obvious one. The similarities in design and layout that can clearly be seen by anyone who played the original game or its remake and there are other, more trivial nods to the game that started it all to be found (note: Click the front door three times). Only some of it provides anything to the game but it’s just nice to see some acknowledgement of the game’s roots. There is also a much larger emphasis on the horror aspect, especially when you reach the underground jail section. It’s certainly not the bright shanty houses of Kijuju, that’s for sure. Some of the design even had a passing resemblance to Silent Hill, although on a much smaller scale in terms of gore and dismemberment.

Of course, the horror aspect would be nothing without the feel of hopelessness, and the DLC does this by ignoring the larger emphasis on action seen since Resident Evil 4 and returning to the survival focus of the older games. The new executioner type enemy seen in the screens of the game are much harder to defeat than you’d imagine, and the worst part is that there’s more than one of them. Combined with a lack of resources, it’s more wise to just run away from them than actually try and kill them. It reminded me of the courtyard sections of the original game, where there’s not much choice other than to just run away from the zombie dogs. Disappointingly, there are no true puzzle elements in the game, which would have really helped, especially with the lack of action in the DLC and it would have gone hand in hand with the other classic elements. There is also the fact that there is a too much of a lack of action and it would have been nice to have more of a balance between action and survival.

To conclude, the DLC is pretty good. The layout design is up there with anything in the main game and it was nice to get away from Las Plagas and Uroboros for a bit and just chill out Chris, Jill and big mansion. However, while the game does have some nods to the past, its ultimately short-lived, as you only play in the mansion for a short time where as the rest of the game takes place in the underground prison. It took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to finish the DLC on Veteran (hard) so there is also length to consider. Most of the game does lend itself to that type of re-playability that you can see in the likes of Portal but the end section doesn’t lend itself well to this. You’re also left with more answers than questions, as you never find out what the executioner enemy is or how it got there. However, at only 400MSP/£3.40, I was pleased with what I got. It doesn’t add anything to the RE5 story, but if you’re a big fan of RE5 then you should like this.

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