Adam and I ventured back into the world of Resident Evil for the RE5 DLC, Desperate Escape. Josh and Jill go up the hill, try to escape an onslaught of Majini, they fetch a pail of water….or, no that’s not right.
Getting back on track, head past the break to find out just what we thought of this DLC.
TJ: I will start off by saying, Desperate Escape is hard. No, it’s fucking hard. I couldn’t even beat it alone it was so hard. Was I playing on veteran? Of course I was. It is relentless non stop action. Playing alone I got my ass handed to me repeated times. So what did I do? Naturally since it was about 5am and no one else was up to play with me, I got pissed and quit.
Adam: I played it on Easy first (otherwise known as the Wussy Baby difficulty), then tried Normal, and finally Veteran with the help of a friend. After about a dozen failed attempts at beating the episode of Professional, I’ve pretty much given up. This isn’t the good type of hard, where you feel like you’ve outsmarted the game or actually accomplished something after you make it to the next checkpoint. Instead this is less of a game and more like an endurance test. The worst part about is that there’s nothing unfamiliar here, this episode could be mistaken for any of the chapters in the main game, just now you get to experience it with two new characters with, dare I say, much cooler execution moves. Desperate Escape really doesn’t bring anything new to the game; the environments are mammoth industrial facilities carved out of mountains, the enemies you’ve fought before (only now there’s just a lot more of them), and there are enough explosions and intense helicopter escapes to satiate the appetite of the action hungry child within every one of us.
TJ: I must say Jill’s double knee drop is by far my favorite execution move. Desperate Escape pretty much crams all the most ridiculous intense action from the regular game and hits you with it all at once.
Adam: No sir, when you come up behind an enemy Jill jumps on their shoulders and breaks their neck with her thighs. Now that’s hardcore. Capcom even redid Leon’s famous Suplex move from RE4, only now it’s been improved and now it’s Josh doing the suplexing. The idea of improvement of existing ideas extends to the rest of Desperate Escape as well. The action sequences in this episode are done better than most of the sections in the actual game. It’s frantic, the level design is outstanding, and you’re rewarded for exploring the labyrinthine levels (usually with score emblems, ammo caches, or new guns). The finale is derived from the Mercenaries mode, and it works.
TJ: Oh yes! The thigh neck snap, I was only lucky enough to pull that off once. It makes me want to put a ring on Jill’s finger even more. The finale was definitely fun, and I definitely preferred it over the Wesker fight in Lost In Nightmares. The main area of the game was sort of layed out like an insane maze. And in said maze are these huge metal doors that you need to blow up to get through. And right when you see the 1st door they give you a huge indication you need to make your way to one of the rocket turrets and blow the door up. They don’t however tell you if you find a rocket launcher you can use that. So don’t waste your time roaming trying to make your way to a rocket turret if you find a standalone launcher.
Adam: This episode’s ending is much better than that craptacular Wesker fight in the last DLC, and while Desperate Escape takes about at long to complete as Lost in Nightmares, it’s much faster paced. You feel like you’re running out of time, and spending too much time in a certain are can really cost you, especially since you spend a good portion of the time split up. It also costs as much as the previous DLC and what you get is a little over an hour of very refined action that will leave you wanting more.
TJ: There are more baddies than you can wave a stun rod at. At most points in the game the enemies just keep coming non stop. And you don’t just fight regular majini. They throw executioners, big mans, chainsaws, and plenty more at you. They don’t pull any punches. The just mercilessly beat you.
Adam: That got so annoying. I’ve always hated it when games simply send out wave after wave of enemies to pad the game’s length. With that said, there was one little touch that I wanted to see in RE5 when it first came out that actually ended up in the DLC: the ability to swap guns with your partner. It’s such a little thing, and with the armory they throw at you over the course of the episode it’s practically a necessity, but I hope it becomes a mainstay. I always want to be able to give my gun to my partner and not being able to makes me sad. So thank you Capcom, for not making me sad.
TJ: I suppose they didn’t do the weapon swapping in the main game because of the achievement that goes along with it. Let’s say I have one of every weapon in the game, and upgraded them all, all the way. Well I could pass all my guns over to you and then bam, huge long hard to get achievement unlocked for you with no effort.
Adam:You may be right, but if that is indeed the case than that’s the wrong way to go about designing a video game. Gameplay should come first, and making sure the game is fun should be top priority. I would’ve rather had them get rid of that achievement and give us the ability to swap weapons with our partner, because that ability makes sense. Achievements are icing on the cake, they should come last. Oh, and on a completely unrelated note: I may have made a connection where there wasn’t one but the music in the Desperate Escape main menu sounded like Terminator music. Not the duh duh duh, duh duh (that’s the only way I could think to recreate the music in text.), the other famous tune. Toss in the RE5 disc, listen to the music, and tell me if I’m just hearing things.
TJ: I haven’t seen that in a while haha, I’ll have to look into it though. Or I’ll just call you crazy and that’s that.
Adam: I understand the need to fill a ‘plot hole’, if you can even call it that, in the Resident Evil 5 story, but Lost in Nightmares proved Capcom can take a piece of the story that’s shrouded in mystery and make it interesting to reveal. Unfortunately, Josh is the only interesting element in this episode (story wise, at least). You don’t come across any surprises, plot twists, or dialogue sections that keep me interested in anything other than the action. In Lost in Nightmares I constantly found myself searching every nook and cranny to glean as much info from all the notes and documents I could find. As a filler to the main game’s story, this episode just doesn’t hold up.
TJ: That was one of the things that I really loved about Lost In Nightmares, and when you make it into the Tri-Cell/Umbrella labs in Resident Evil 5. The reading. Sounds super boring right? Nope. It’s a great way to uncover back story, and to really get your mind wandering. Like when you read someones journal as the slowly go mad because of a certain virus taking over their system.
Adam: And unfortunately, that element is absent in this episode. While Desperate Escape may be lacking in the story department, the characters, specifically Josh, are more interesting. I like Josh, I think he was the perfect character to fight alongside Jill and I truly hope he joins the Resident Evil cast because I’m sure he has a very interesting backstory to explore. He has this almost bizarre kindness about him that makes him fun to interact with but when it comes to it, he can hold his own. With that said, his story should’ve been fleshed out more, even if it was to only expand on his friendship with the overly zany helicopter pilot. I realize you only have an hour to let us know how Josh and Jill (went up the hill, err, sorry) escaped the facility, but I’m a story whore so I would’ve liked to know more.
TJ: I didn’t really think too much into the story of Desperate Escape until you said that, but yes! Resident Evil has made us into story whores. With constant teasing and hinting, and documents to read. It’s not enough to just throw us into a situation with no back story. No how or why.
Adam: Well, I’ve always been a story whore, and the more times I use that term the more unusual it sounds. I think I can blame the other major horror series, Silent Hill, for making me expect something interesting story-wise from the games I play. Then BioShock came along and turned me into a complete Story Slut. Ok, now I’m pushing the term too far.
TJ: Street walking story whorin slut. Now I took it even further! Desperate Escape was hard. But, it was manageable. And honestly if there were not any rocket turrets it would have been a breeze. It was almost like the mind controlled majini knew where I was going to run before I got there and always nailed me with a rocket. It’s luck of the draw what weapons you find and where you find them. One of the things I really didn’t like was you could spend time collecting magnum ammo like I did, and never actually find a magnum. With the craziness of the level, and the design of it, I couldn’t take my time searching the area up and down. And that’s one of my favorite things. I’m a scavenger. I want to bust open every crate, open every locker, get all the guns, ammo, herbs, I want EVERYTHING, and I don’t care if I don’t need it. But you can’t do that unless I suppose you play it on amateur. You have to constantly haul ass, no time to stop or you will get destroyed.
Adam: I stopped picking up magnum ammo when I realized you only get the gun once every dozen or so times you play the episode. It’s ridiculous to give us ammo for a gun you’ll never let us use. There are enough things to worry about when it comes to item conservation to also have to think about when I’m going to get my damn magnum. Okay, gun rant over. I’ve said it before, but this isn’t anything new, and while I think it’s done a bit better, there’s nothing unfamiliar here to anyone who hasn’t played the main game. There has to be more to Resident Evil than helicopters and explosions, especially the latter, which this episode has a lot of (some might say an excess). This DLC could’ve been mistaken for any one of the levels in Resident Evil 5 because of its unoriginality. Does it work within the confines of the game you’re playing? Yes. Did Lost in Nightmares do the same thing while managing to give us a unique experience? Yes. So maybe the problem lies with me in that I’m simply an old fogey who wants Resident Evil to return to its glorious survival horror/zombie infested roots (but not the inglorious tank-like controls and deliciously cheesy dialogue roots). I guess that’s all a long winded way of saying they could’ve told us how the duo escaped in a more interesting way than they fought through legions of bad guys and waiting exactly five minutes for the helicopter arrive.
TJ: We have become old fogeys. Which is fine. But we have come to expect greatness from the Resident Evil franchise. (Barring some of the spin off mobile games ect) And in the main games they have delivered every time. Recently in different ways. And that is the main problem. Yes Resident Evil 4 was amazing. Yes, Resident Evil 5 was also amazing. But we are tired of it really. And as much as I would like to say that doesn’t sway the way I, or any fan of the entire series views and rates RE5 but it does. We miss zombies. We miss being scared. We miss the unknown.
Adam: Well, maybe not every time. Are you forgetting the very forgettable Resident Evil 3?
TJ: I did actually like Resident Evil 3. I mean, comparably it’s almost just like Desperate Escape. In RE3 they’re like here’s a bunch of zombies, RUN! Then, when you least expect it BAM Nemesis right through a wall. Pretty much through the entire game.
Adam: While seated comfortably in a different genre than Lost in Nightmares, Desperate Escape is what we’ve come to expect from the new Resident Evil. It’s void of zombies, puzzles, and the only time you’ll be scared is when you hear your partner enter dying state when you’re too far away to lend assistance. In the end, it took a hole in the main story that had the potential to be interesting but failed to fill the hole in an interesting way. God, that sounds bad.
Final Score: 3.5/5 Skulls
TJ: I feel like I would have given Desperate Escape a better score if it had been released before Lost In Nightmares. Desperate Escape throws a ton of action at you all wrapped up in a small hour long package. If you didn’t have enough action in the game itself, this is the DLC for you. But if you’re like Adam and I, you had too much action and no zombies, so you are more craving something like Lost In Nightmares. I know there were no actual zombies in Lost In Nightmares, but it’s still so much more of what we wanted. I spent more time being frustrated I was getting blown up by rockets, or gashed by a huge axe than I had having fun.
Final Score: 3.25/5 Skulls