Thursday, March 8, 2012

DLC review: Resident Evil 5 - Desperate Escape

While Lost in Nightmares focused heavily on the classic horror aspects of Resident Evil, Desperate Escape does the opposite, presenting a short side story brimming with the tense action that Resident Evil 5 is so frequently noted for. It's also a considerably shorter DLC package. Whereas Lost in Nightmares had a slow pacing centered around solving puzzles and defeating a few particularly strong enemies for more than an hour, Desperate Escape runs for approximately forty-five minutes (depending on the difficulty setting).

The story picks up with Sheva's longtime friend Josh Stone finding Jill Valentine not long after she was rescued from Wesker's control device. Jill has some valuable information for Chris regarding Wesker, while Josh has a contact with a helicopter that can provide them a lift out of the area, which is crawling with Majini. The two will have to fight their way through the plagas-infested horde to get to safety, and each area layers on to the presentation of an uphill battle (both figuratively and literally). Despite the sizeable number of Majini that appear in Desperate Escape, this feat is quite easy. Only a few sections present noteworthy difficulty, adding turrets and a handful of the stronger Majini into the mix.

This DLC is entirely devoid of any puzzle elements. Any keys players need to acquire will be placed immediately preceding the door they unlock. However, certain gates are barred shut and players will need to temporarily leave their partner behind to unlock them. But only one of these is presented at a particularly tense moment, leaving the rest to seem somewhat trivial. The element of challenge best represented in Desperate Escape is supply management. Players will need to determine who gets what weapon, and what ammo they are going to use as there is not an abundance of health or ammo throughout.

A new character named Doug is introduced early on, a friend and colleague of Josh's. He serves primarily as a plot point, being the pilot of the helicopter that is en route to pick up the two lead characters. Near the end of the DLC, Capcom tries to draw some emotional connection between Doug and the player, which ultimately falls flat due to the fact that the experience is so short.

Desperate Escape is an interesting experiment on Capcom's part. In many ways, the tense atmosphere of this DLC is reminiscent of The Mercenaries mini-game. But as a side-story to Resident Evil 5, it is significantly lacking in a few areas. The whole scenario presents an adrenaline rush, but not a single scary moment. It's also not that difficult, though Capcom might have been able to mask the lack of a challenge by including quick-time cutscenes - again, these are entirely absent, though there are a few segments that practically beg for them to have been incorporated. Given the fact that Josh and Jill's run to safety is territory that was more familiar to fans of Resident Evil 5 than the incident at the Spencer Estate prior to the release of the DLC, Capcom did a decent job. But it is just that - a decent job; nothing outstanding here.

My rating: 7.25 (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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