Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares nanoreview

18 02 2010

This is the latest bit of DLC for Resident Evil 5.  It’s 400 MS points and contains what Capcom have said is about an hour of gameplay, so weigh up for yourself whether you think that’s value for money on the face of it.  The game is set just before a flashback when Chris and Jill confront Wesker at Spencer’s mansion and basically plots how they got from the front door to the room where the battle takes place.  It also contains Excella and Barry (Motherfucking) Burton as playable characters in Mercenary Mode.  I played through this last night with Pod, my cohort from On Deadly Blog, and we had a fucking great time.

The first part of the level is basically just a 3D remake of the first few rooms from the original Resident Evil, but now you can run about them and explore instead of moving through pre-rendered backgrounds at fixed camera angles.  Pod’s a lot more heavily invested in the RE series than I am so he got a lot more out of just looking at the mansion, which I imagine a lot of other player’s will as well.  The first enemy you meet is maybe only halfway into the DLC so before that it’s all just exploration and sound design.  It successfully builds tension because you’re fucking waiting for an enemy to show up and the longer that doesn’t happen, the more anxious you become.  There was a bit where a window smashed and it scared the shit out of me; I was expecting a Licker to come through.  It was nice to do runny about put thing A into slot B puzzles with someone there.  There are the usual diary entries knocking about and we ended up reading them aloud to often hilarious effect.  There’s one wonderful moment where you have to play Moonlight Sonata again, but there’s a pretty tragic Diary Entry in the room as well, so we did the obvious thing: read the diary with a backing of Moonlight Sonata, trying to keep to the flow of the music.  It was awesome.

Things pick up a bit later on.  There’s a deathtrap or two, which were great, particularly as both players panic at the same time as they rush to save one another.  The enemies are pretty scary, but we did start calling them “Ron Burgundy” and you’ll see why.  There’s a sequence later on where you have to use teamwork to take out a couple of enemies.  It’s a sequence that really demands communication but you don’t know exactly what to do at first and you’re under pressure.  It was great to be able to share that feeling of panic and confusion and then work out a joint solution.  The sequence really demands communication in order to beat it and it’s one of the most enjoyable co-op experiences I’ve ever had.

The last boss is a bit silly, but it’s fine.

The only other thing I would say is that I enjoyed this principally because of the coop partner I had.  We were able to joke the whole way though it and laugh about the tropes that kept popping up but all of that was without ruining the atmosphere at all.  If you can find someone to play with who understands the genre and the medium then this will be a fantastic, if brief, experience.  I really would like to see more puzzle-centric coop games in the future.  I definitely got my 400 points worth.

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