Wow... what a MANSION!!
Lost In Nightmares is the second piece of DLC for the acclaimed action-horror title, Resident Evil 5. It adds around 40-60 minutes extra for the main story of Resident Evil 5 as well a few new additions to the Mercenaries minigame. While not an especially substantial piece of content, it more than delivers on the amount of quality people have come to expect when it comes to Resident Evil, and with such a highly modest price, it's made easy to stomach.
Lost In Nightmares stars players as the original and most iconic of Resident Evil duos, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, amidst their mission to apprehend Ozwell E. Spencer. Brief moments were given via flashbacks in the main game, but now you're given the chance to play through from the moment they enter the Mansion.
Unlike RE5, Lost In Nightmares strays far from the usual high-tension action. In fact there's hardly much in the way of enemies to contend with. Lost In Nightmares focuses much more on setting a gloriously nostalgic atmosphere with plenty of throw-backs for old school RE fans to squeal with glee over. From the perspective of how Chris and Jill open doors, to even a certain classical piano tune that Jill will play to solve a puzzle. It's an hour long train ride through a seemingly never ending array of fan-service, and for the most part, it works pretty well.
The story on its own doesn't cover much ground, and instead prioritises on filling in a little more backstory on the man of the hour, Spencer himself.
The gameplay itself is primarily focused on exploration of Spencer's latest in his comically large array of creepy mansions, which also coincidently just so happens to resemble the Spencer Mansion from the original Resident Evil. There'll be a number of cranks to turn, emblems to find and a piano to play, all in good ole RE fashion. Admittedly some of the aspects seem to stand out a little too much, almost like CAPCOM were trying to force the veteran RE players to go through that warm sense of ''Ah the good old days''. Sometimes it more so gives the impression that CAPCOM are shouting the references down your ear, and it would have been more so effective if they could have planted more callbacks within the background.
Otherwise the only few niggles I had is one that carries on from the original RE5 and that's the presence of the coop. It's the one notable hurdle that kept Lost in Nightmares from reigning in as a what would have been a wonderful bundle of nostalgia. Should you decide to play this on your own, what with the gameplay focus taking a stark switch from action to survivability, the AI now more than ever only seems to get in the way. CAPCOM have also implemented a few comprises for the sake of the coop, however, such as should you be grabbed by the enemies that patrol the mansion's halls, you'll require your partner to come and save you otherwise it's game over -- no QTE's to wiggle yourself out of this one. It's a thrilling excuse to inspire cooperative play, but even still the AI sometimes will be too busy doing something else and it's a nuisance to have to die only because your partner (human or otherwise) simply couldn't get you to time.
The pack ends with a rehash of the Albert Wesker boss battle found in the main game, and it continues to suck just as much as it did in the original. Annoying abundance of QTE's required to avoid his attacks, which can be incredibly hard to press in time at that, and the agility and overall aggressiveness of Wesker just feels out of place when put against the comparatively clunky controls. This was one part in particular were playing solo may turn into a test of patience as you continually try to save your AI partner over and over.
Even still, Lost In Nightmares gives an atmospheric ride into showcasing a mix of the old and new and how Resident Evil could potentially look if it were to revert to its survival horror roots with some more modern-day conventions. There's the odd jump-scare, plenty of well done atmosphere and a lot of actual survival this time around. As such it is an absolute must play for the veterans and maybe even any RE5 fans so as to give a window into some of the older traits of Resident Evil. Just a real shame it has to be so short; by the end of it, I was left wishing Resident Evil 5 had more chapters akin to this.
Replay value for Lost In Nightmares isn't particularly high, since with so few enemies there'll be little difference if you were to play through again. Though the arrival of the Guardians that eventually begin hounding you is somewhat randomised each time, just to add an extra sense of unpredictability, which may still give you the opportunity to be caught off guard during a following playthrough. There also exists multiple difficulties and even leaderboards now to boast your scores. The option to play as Jill once completed in single player might warrant a second play through as well. But overall I can imagine for most that once the hour's finished, that's it, Nightmare over.
Along with Lost In Nightmares, there is also a remix of the Mercenaries minigame, now titled Mercenaries Reunion. It's just as fun and addictive as it's always been, however one such flaw is that it acts as a separate mode to the original Mercenaries. While It may give you the first time ever to play as the well loved Barry Burton and, strangely enough, the ability to jiggle around as Excella Gionne, they're all that's available. You can buy two new costumes, one for Chris one for Sheva, which will add two new characters, but even still, you'll only find yourself at the moment with just four characters to choose from. No new maps, weapons and the fact that I can't have STARS Wesker and STARS Barry teaming up is a disheartening omission that's tough to ignore. Why they couldn't just have the new characters act as additions to the already set up Mercenaries mode, I don't know.
Mercenaries Reunion will look to pick up once the Desperate Escape chapter arrives with two more characters and costumes, but until then it's a little dry.
As a whole, for its price range, Lost In Nightmares is a fair deal. The Lost In Nightmares chapter is memorable though a lot shorter than most might have expected, especially with the amount of the promotion it got. Fortunately it's a quality hour and the fact that I'm wishing for more only speaks to how great it is. Mercenaries Reunion is a little peculiar in why they didn't pack it all together with the original Mercenaries, but playable Barry Burton?! I can learn to forgive.