Review: Resident Evil 5 DLC Special

April 1, 2010, Author: Ray Willmott

In my eyes, Desperate Escape is a different kind of DLC. While Lost in Nightmares is dedicated to creating tension, faithfully recreating the roots of the series and focusing on the introduction of the villain, Desperate Escape prefers to place you in the middle of a hostile situation and forces you to fend for your life against oppression. If Lost in Nightmares provided the atmosphere, then Desperate Escape provides the action. The change in pace for both DLC really works well and perfectly mirrors all the aspects of the Resident Evil series that made it so popular in the first place. To give you some perspective, at maximum, you will face around ten-twelve enemies (on Professional) in Lost in Nightmares whereas in Desperate Escape, you’ll find yourself fighting at least two hundred (on Veteran).

The story in Desperate Escape is weaker; in fact the whole premise of it is simple and unnecessary. It basically serves as filler to finding and fighting Jill in Resi 5 and the conclusion of that, re-uniting Chris and Jill and then leading to Jill informing Chris of Wesker’s weakness and eventually meeting him in the chopper at the game’s conclusion. We, as fans, could have done without knowing about the events in-between these meetings; it doesn’t serve any grand purpose to the overall story arc, aside from establishing how the characters got from A to B and establishing a bond between Jill and Josh. However, unlike the chemistry between Chris and Jill in Lost in Nightmares, this is quite different and is more about horrific events throwing two people together to survive, each gradually developing some compassion and consideration for the other. Jill is an interesting character and it is always good to learn more about how she developed into the persona she adopted in Res 5. However, this whole campaign, while it deals with Jill’s rehabilitation from her dark tendencies, really does miss the boat and could have made some narrative hot points, instead of leaving them cold.

The developers obviously decided that Jill shouldn’t discuss any of the events during Resident Evil 5 in Desperate Escape; they don’t feel a need to. Instead of being reflective about what she has done, about the reasoning behind her mission, Jill just seems to straddle on through Majini after Majini, deadpan and focused. Perhaps that is her method of rehabilitation, perhaps she likes to keep her thoughts personal, especially since she has only just met Josh. However, one can assume one of the main points of these campaigns is to show Jill before and during the events of Resi 5, and while we see so much confidence from her in LiN, she seems like she could be a completely different person with the same name in DE.

In that sense, this really loses a sense of continuity with Lost in Nightmares, because that had a purpose and linked up quite well with the events of Resi 5, giving perspective to the main story. Of course, we all know that Desperate Escape wasn’t made for its story, but rather just giving an excuse for the hardcore gamers to get some more bang for the buck!

As for Josh, while not a series regular, he instantly gives you the feeling of being a loyal accomplice. You feel like he’s there to help, even though the meeting between both he and Jill is a little unusual with him just finding Jill unconscious on the floor. The trust that they put into each other so quickly is either a great reflection in Josh’s character and how comfortable he is in working as part of a team and that Jill can recognise that, or that simply, the writers didn’t have the time allocated to them to make any more of the scenario. Probably the latter.

If nothing else, watch out for Josh’s spear-tackle, because that will help his character to stick in your memory. Seriously, this guy puts Goldberg to shame! Awesome …

While you won’t be struggling to figure out the plot points in this game, you will find yourself in situations that mirror some of the more tense moments of Res Evil 5 in Desperate Escape. Remember those times when the Chainsaw wielding crazy man is running towards you with his wood-cutting apparatus whirring in anticipation of sawing through your bones, and the large guardian with the extremely big mallet grabs you by the throat and squeezes the life out of your contrastingly minor form? Those moments are back and they’re as intimidating as they’ve ever been. You will feel your palms clam up, your heart pound in your chest and make involuntary yelps of anxiety as you run around the map, trying to get some distance, looking for the most strategic place possible to pick your shots and hoping that as your clip runs down; you will get the killing blow before you’re completely empty. If those weren’t bad enough, this time you’ll find rockets being fired at you by Majini on launchers. The projectiles will knock you down to the ground and leave you prey to the zombie like entities nipping at your heels in a seemingly endless number.

In addition to the single player or co-operative content, there is also the Mercenaries Reunion mode, which is no different from the Mercenaries mode you’ve played before, except that it introduces cast from previous instalments of the Res Evil franchise and implements them into the game, giving them a new set of moves. For those that have not played Mercs, it basically involves you and a team mate, taking on hordes of Majini on a set map from the game and surviving for as long as you can. By taking down a Majini, you add time to your game as you go. Both pieces of DLC offer you new characters to use in Mercs, each with their own special moves and traits.

Of the two, Desperate Escape is the weaker content. While Lost in Nightmares was a fun return to form of Resident Evil games of old, Desperate Escape just seems to be an excuse to kill an endless number of Majini and reach a rescue point. You might even be confused if I were to compare this to Left 4 Dead, but the similarities are certainly there. That said, as a co-operative experience, this game shines and is dependant on teamwork in just the same way as LiN but for very different reasons. By standing around aimlessly, you’re inviting Majini of all types to rip your body to shreds, but with effective teamwork and understanding how to use the environment to your advantage, you can own the battlefield. This DLC is action-packed and the fast pace will keep you on your toes, if that’s what you like, you’re going to love Desperate Escape.

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