Co-op Review: Resident Evil 5′s DLC, Lost In Nightmares

Adam and I have joined forced once again for another co-op review. Today we delve into the wonderous world that is Resident Evil 5. We got a chance to play the new DLC “Lost In Nightmares”, over and over and over again. So head on past the break and see what we thought.

Adam: Resident Evil 5 recently had some DLC come out that was supposed to fill in some of the plot holes in the game’s story, namely the flashbacks where Chris lost Jill in their fight against Wesker, as well as Josh and Jill’s (ran up the hill, er, sorry) escape from the Tricell facility. Well, the first DLC pack is out, TJ and I have beaten it, and decided that this is (mostly) what we’ve been looking for. Is it perfect? No, but it is damn good.

TJ: Perfect? Shh. No one says perfect anymore. Could it be? Did it break the mold of the mold? I want to say it. I want to say it real bad. But I digress.  Technically nothing is perfect, but I do have to say to make this DLC perfect they are missing just one thing.

Adam: Zombies. At least that’s the only glaringly obvious thing that I felt was missing. As I explored what could easily pass for a replica of the Spencer Mansion from the original Resident Evil, solving puzzles and not knowing what was waiting for me around each corner, only two things kept me from forgetting I was playing Resident Evil 5. The first was my partner who, if you’re playing alone, tends to hover over you like a dog expecting a treat. The second were the lack of zombies. I just knew I would run into one and before I did I’d hear the telltale moaning and shuffling of feet as it closed the distance between us. I’d raise my gun so I could fire a bullet into its brain and then… nothing. No zombies, no dragging of feet, no pitiful wails of a once-human creature searching for food. It was truly disappointing.

TJ: At every turn in that creepy mansion, I thought, this is it. Zombie. Nothing. I searched the mansion, heard weird noises. Almost died. No zombies. I went under the mansion into the very creepy holding cells of experimented on patients. There were somethings down there. No zombies. I almost thought yes, those things are zombies. But they weren’t. I went further in to find a heaping helping of a new large creature, but no zombies. In case you haven’t caught on to my theme, the one thing, and I mean only one thing missing was zombies. Being in that mansion I craved zombies, and I did not receive. However, despite the lacking of the undead, I loved Lost In Nightmares. It wasn’t as long as I would have hoped but it didn’t really matter. It kind of gives me hope that we will be in for something similar in Resident Evil 6.

Adam: You kind of touched on one of my other issues with the game: the lack of enemy variety. Sure, the episode takes less than an hour to complete, but there was really only one true foe and you had to just keep fighting it over and over again. Then they’d mix it up and throw two of them at you, but it just wasn’t enough. I felt they should’ve thrown in at least one other threat to break up the repetition.

TJ: Absolutely. Walking down a familiar corridor and then in the distance you hear dogs barking and I thought “Here it comes, zombie dogs.” But nothing. Yet when I walked through the familiar mansion doors, I felt at home. I felt safe in an unsettling way. When you start the game you ask yourself, “Wait, am I in the mansion from Resident Evil 1?” No, unfortunately that mansion is a distant memory. But you are in a mansion that looks strikingly familiar, with a lot of locations looking the same as well. Lost In Nightmares should be called Lost In Memories. You don’t go in all guns blazing. You go in with a few locked doors, and a few unlocked doors. Just like you used to. You go in needing to search those unlocked doors for the right pieces and parts to get those other doors unlocked. I LOVE this. It made me so happy. You’ll have to excuse me while I gush like a nerdy fanboy. Which isn’t far from the truth.

Adam: That was actually one of my favorite things about this episode; the first third consists entirely of exploring and solving puzzles inside an eerie environment. I loved that they took puzzles and even traps from past games as a sort of homage to Resident Evil’s glorious past. True fans of the series will notice the little things like one of the scariest moments from the first game that shows up, in some way, in this episode, or that you can investigate the mansion’s front doors three times to change the camera to the static one from the series’ past. Hell, even opening doors brings with it a hint of nostalgia when the camera switches to the first person as you walk through. If anything, Capcom did a great job in giving us a taste, or a tease if you will, of what a true next-gen Resident Evil experience could be.

TJ: I’m glad you pointed that out about the front door trick, it really paid homage to the past, and if you are brave enough you can play the entire DLC with a fixed camera. One major problem I did have lies in the final battle with Wesker. It was probably the most annoying thing and biggest problem I had with Resident Evil 5. And they made it the last battle in Lost In Nightmares. He continues to pummel the ever living fuck out of you, and times when you think you should be able to give him a punch or a roundhouse leave you up close and completely vulnerable. He then beats you mercilessly and on occasion PUNCHES THROUGH YOUR CHEST. No, if that’s how it’s going to go down, then he should start the battle punching you through your chests and just end the game completely throwing the Resident Evil 5 story out the window.

Adam: I couldn’t agree more. I felt that Lost in Nightmares had just spent the last 45 minutes building up a great, intense atmosphere and then fell apart at the end by reminding us that we’re playing the action game that is Resident Evil 5. Spoiler alert for those who haven’t beaten RE5: When Wesker died I was admittedly a little sad that the franchise had just lost its best villain. Even that God awful fight at the end of the game didn’t sully my disappointment at Wesker’s death, but having to fight him, in all his Matrix glory, again in this episode made me happy he’s gone because he’s no longer an interesting villain. I think I lost interest in his character because he’s unstoppable. Not literally of course since you kill him at the end of RE5; but by the end of the game he had become a over the top, teleporting, malicious grinning weirdo that I no longer cared about.

TJ: That was (RE5 spoiler ahead, then again the game has almost been out for a year, and you shouldn’t be reading this if you haven’t played the damn game yet) one of my favorite things about Resident Evil 5. You wipe out Wesker and he is gone. No hand lifting up after everything is over. No waiting till after the credits and seeing him survive somehow. He is gone. And yes he was the greatest enemy in Resident Evil. But he has run his course and way overstayed his welcome. I’m glad to see him go.

Adam: I’m glad I wasn’t the only one expecting to see Wesker give us the Thumbs Up sign as he sank into the lava because that would’ve been excellent. Lost in Nightmares is exactly what Resident Evil 5 could’ve been and definitely what it should’ve been. It’s intense, creepy, well paced, and a subtle tease at exactly how good a true next-gen Resident Evil experience could be. This is more than just a reason to dust off your copy of the game; it’s also an extraordinarily successful attempt at rekindling my love and admiration for this series. As you explore the familiar mansion with an equally familiar friend, searching for ammo and clues as to what happened, I guarantee you’ll remember exactly what made you fall in love with this franchise over a decade ago.

TJ: I will admit, that familiar awesome feeling I got from the Lost In Nightmares DLC I got once in Resident Evil 5. When you get into the Tricell Facility (Formerly the Umbrella Facility), and you start reading old documents and journals, and then the Lickers make what I thought was an amazing comback.

Adam: That section was the only real Resident Evil moment that Resident Evil 5 had.  The rest of the game had you tormenting zombiefied villagers and dodging stray bullets from way overarmed non-zombies, so the Tri-Cell facility ended up being the only section of the game that felt even borderline scary (though I’ll admit those creepy ass dogs with the vertically split heads did freak me out).  I know Lost in Nightmares wanted to stay away from the non-zombies so I’m actually really surprised we never fight a Licker (or six) in the episode, because I feel they would’ve been a great fit (and Capcom wouldn’t have had to create anything new).

TJ: It’s good to know that for the most part Capcom hasn’t completely forget about it’s roots. Even with the co-op Lost In Nightmares was great and though I didn’t realize it so much until right now, yes this is how Resident Evil 5 should be. You can technically still make an uber creepy Resident Evil game and make it co-op.

Final Score 4.5/5 Skulls

Adam: Capcom, you’ve teased me. You’ve given me a taste of what Resident Evil could be like today. Please stop making below average light gun shooters for the Wii and ditch the Gears of War with non-zombies idea so you can better focus your efforts on giving me, I mean us, a real Resident Evil game. I want horror. I want ammo conservation. I want puzzles. I want Chris to look like a normal sized human being and for Jill to stop trying to mimic the look of the Dead or Alive chicks. And most of all, I want fucking zombies.

Final Score: 4.5/5 Skulls

Just in case anyone at Capcom is reading this, feeling all proud of yourself as you look over the success of Resident Evil 5 while taking a sip from your Zombie (the drink, not the flesh eating undead) and that eloquently written conclusion didn’t quite drive the point home, hopefully this helps:

Source: Dead Pixels Video Game News For Partners