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Resident Evil 5: Desperate Escape
Score: 77%
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/Survival Horror/Adventure

Introduction:
Resident Evil 5: Desperate Escape is the second set of RE5 DLC in so many months. Similar to Lost in Nightmares, Desperate Escape adds another hour-long chapter to help fill in some of the game's back story, this time focusing on the events between Jill's rescue from Wesker and arrival with Josh Stone en route to her reunion with Chris and Sheva.

Whereas Lost in Nightmares provided a throwback to the older-style Resident Evil experience, Desperate Escape takes a complete 180, bringing it more in-line with the action-oriented RE5. As a fan of the first set's throwback gameplay, I was less than excited with the return to the "new" RE style. The DLC is entertaining, but falls pretty short of providing what I would call a "must play" experience.


Gameplay:
The return to action-oriented mechanics causes Resident Evil 5: Desperate Escape to feel more like an extended game of the Mercenaries mini-game rather than a proper RE experience. The DLC offers no new enemies and relies mostly on timers, shooting and tactics if you want to survive. It's a great idea, except shooting and tactics were two of RE5's weakest elements, so building around them is a bit like building a coastal city below sea level. You can do it, but it's probably not the best of ideas.

The reliance on tactics makes Desperate Escape better suited for co-op play than a solo run-through. It's possible to make it through the chapter with the help of an A.I.-controlled partner, but the entire experience is a little more frustrating and not nearly as fulfilling. The A.I. isn't very helpful and tends to get in the way, so you're better off keeping all the good stuff for yourself and letting the A.I. wander around on its own.

Desperate Escape includes access to the new Mercenaries Reunion Mode and offers two new characters to take into the timed zombie-slaying mode. This set of DLC gives access to Josh Stone and Rebecca Chambers. Josh brings some much-needed heavy firepower to the fight, while Rebecca has a nifty shotgun.


Difficulty:
For an idea of just how many zombies Resident Evil 5: Desperate Escape tosses at you, look no further than the Trophy list. One of the easier to accomplish Trophies challenges you to kill 150 enemies, a tall order for something that lasts around an hour. Under the "traditional" style of play, this would be a daunting task, but for an action game, it's easy. Most of this has to do with the over-abundance of ammo, herbs and grenades. They're everywhere. The only time ammo becomes an issue is during the last section. Incidentally, this is also the DLC's most entertaining section, which should provide a bit of a clue as to what works and what doesn't for the series.

Most of RE5's holdover issues -- A.I., item trading -- are still around and a little more obvious here than the last set of DLC. There are workarounds to both issues, but the best option is to grab a friend.


Value:
For fans of the more action-oriented RE formula, Resident Evil 5: Desperate Escape will prove entertaining. Otherwise, you can skip out and not miss much beyond two new characters for Mercenaries Reunion. Desperate Escape provides very little in the way of new content. No new enemies, weapons or memorable moments. There are certainly a few well-paced action sequences, but the entire experience is lacking the "quirk" that made Lost in Nightmares enjoyable.

If you're holding out for Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, your patience is rewarded. Desperate Escape is okay, but not worth the price unless you're an ardent fan of the series or want new characters for Mercenaries Reunion.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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