Tuesday, July 5, 2011

DLC review: Resident Evil 5 - Lost in Nightmares

Lost in Nightmares allows players to experience firsthand the events that led to Jill Valentine going MIA. Jill and Chris Redfield are sent to investigate the estate of Ozwell E. Spencer, former president of the Umbrella Corporation. For the sake of better explaining the DLC, I am going to assume anyone playing Lost in Nightmares has already completed Resident Evil 5. If not, fair warning: some spoilers lay in store.

As some of the flashback cutscenes in Resident Evil 5 indicated, Jill and Chris encountered Wesker at the Spencer estate immediately before Jill's disappearance. So players will already know the ending of the Lost in Nightmares story before going into it. It might seem a bit odd of Capcom to build DLC around this, but the final product is actually quite well-polished and provides an interesting look into the transitions that take place from the early games to the more recent installments. Notes lying around the estate provide insight from both Spencer and his butler, exploring their plans for Umbrella's research and concerns about Wesker.

The gameplay uses the same basic mechanics of Resident Evil 5, though the setting aims more for the spooky nature of the original Resident Evil. The Spencer estate is host to a number of puzzles and traps that players must overcome - or in some cases use to their advantage. The shooter mechanics remain intact, though there isn't a lot of ammunition lying around and the few enemies players do encounter are able to take quite a beating before they go down. The final boss fight is a triumphant payoff, though some may find it to be a bit lengthy.

The moody lighting and stormy weather outside the estate emphasize the more classic horror theme of Lost in Nightmares. Guardians can be seen slinking off in to dimly lit areas of the estate's lower levels. A piano can be heard, but when Chris and Jill go to investigate, there is no longer any sound, nor anyone playing it. Aside from these thematic elements, though, there are a number of carefully-planned adrenaline rush scares. Enemies will come crashing through walls, while the acquisition of certain items will trigger a trap that players must rescue either themselves or their partner from.

Lost in Nightmares will take a little under an hour and a half to complete, depending on the difficulty setting and how long players spend searching for treasure and key items. The only drawback to this is that the DLC does not offer a save feature. It's a very well-written piece of the larger Resident Evil universe, even though it doesn't throw any major twists at players. For those who wants to extend their Resident Evil 5 experience, or for anyone who enjoyed the Resident Evil games of yesteryear and wants a quick fix, Lost in Nightmares is a worthwhile investment.

My rating: 10 (out of 10)*

*(rating applies solely to downloadable content, not its inclusion with the content on the original game disc or other downloadable content)

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