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Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares
Score: 80%
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Survival Horror

Nearly a year after its release, Resident Evil 5 is seeing a set of four DLC add-ons. Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares is the first of these DLC add-ons for Resident Evil 5.

Clocking in at just over an hour, Lost in Nightmares adds a full chapter's worth of gameplay to the core game. The new chapter follows Jill and Chris in a semi-prequel/ backstory for Resident Evil 5 as the two explore a very familiar looking mansion belonging to Umbrella Founder, Ozwell Spencer, who long-time series fans may (or may not) remember from the first game. While investigating the mansion, the two find an old lab and its inhabitant. It's pure fan service from the get-go, but also brings a new play style and an upgrade for Mercenaries Mode.

In a nod to the original game, Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares places more emphasis on puzzles than combat. Most of the chapter could be considered a nostalgic parody of the first game. There are loads of little in-jokes traded between the two characters as you explore the mansion and other minor "features" that have since found their exit from the series, like crests, out-of-place key hunts and opening door animations. There's combat as well, though not in the hard-nosed action style players have grown accustomed to. Instead of picking up an arsenal's worth of weapons, Jill and Chris have a limited stock at their disposal and must rely on old-style tactics.

The lack of weapons doesn't hurt the gameplay, though the lack of enemies does. Typically, the "shock value" in Resident Evil comes from knowing that a horde of enemies (or greasy Europeans) is waiting just around the corner. That sense is gone here and replaced with tension of knowing a trap could be sprung at any time. It's more psychological horror and less "jump-scare" horror. You'll only face two types of enemies throughout your adventure: some stock enemies and new breed of monster that's every bit as terrifying as some of the core game's bigger baddies. A few zombies for nostalgia's sake wouldn't have been unappreciated. The anticipation of fear works, but it doesn't kick into high effect until the latter part of the mission, leaving the first part pocked with dull moments.

Lost in Nightmares also includes a revamped multiplayer mode, Mercenaries Reunion. This set of DLC includes the first two additional characters for the mode, Barry and Excella. Barry is a straight up solider, while Excella brings an automatic pistol and grenade launcher to the party. Mercenaries Reunion includes both online and split-screen support, as well as leaderboards and trophies.

Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares is more intense than difficult, at least during the second part of the chapter. Rather than facing enemies head-on, you have to set up ambushes in order to trap enemies. Of course, they're doing the same to you, setting up a bit of a cloak and dagger scenario. Setting up and avoiding traps isn't overly difficult. There was rarely a time where I would consider myself lost, but the dynamic is interesting enough that I wouldn't mind seeing it expanded on in future releases.

Unfortunately, Lost in Nightmares comes with all of RE5's holdover issues. If you weren't a fan of babysitting your A.I. partner or the hassle of trading items, you'll find no relief. It's not an issue while exploring, but will make a few encounters unreasonably hard.

If you traded in your copy of RE5, you can either pick up one cheap or wait for Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, which will include all four pieces of DLC. Personally, I like the option of choosing my DLC. Only Lost in Nightmares and the follow-up, Desperate Escape, include story elements while the other two are costumes and character packs for Mercenaries.

Either way, the additional content is worth checking out, though series fans will get more out of the purchase. Newcomers will likely get a bit of a thrill out of the new "catch me if you can" mechanics, but some of the nostalgia will be lost. Still, Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares is worth a purchase.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Related Links:

Sony PlayStation 3 Zen Pinball Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Table Microsoft Xbox 360 Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares

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