The other day the first bit of Resident Evil 5 downloadable content was released. Besides the addition of Barry Burton and Excella as playable characters in the Mercenaries mode, Lost in Nightmares features a prequel chapter to the game. It takes players back to the last mission that Chris and Jill went on together as they went to track down Ozwell E. Spencer, the last surviving founder of Umbrella.
The moment Lost in Nightmares is booted up, fans of the series will feel a rush of nostalgia. The layout to the European mansion is strikingly to the mansion from the first game. A very familiar feeling will return to you as you stand in the wide open entrance foyer. If it’s one thing Lost in Nightmares provides it’s atmosphere. Corridors are long and shadowed, thunder rolls in the distance, and bloodstains of victims splatter on the walls. Though of course no Spencer Mansion would be complete without a hellish prison buried beneath the foundation.
The gameplay feels like a hybrid between the Resident Evil 5 and original Resident Evil gamplay. While naturally the control scheme follows Resident Evil 5 though this time the camera feels more focused. Due to being in tighter places, like hallways and small rooms, the camera tries to “force” the player to keep it within a limited amount of space even though it is free roaming. This gives off the feeling of it trying to return to its fixed camera roots without actually being a fixed camera. On top of that, small “door opening” sequences have returned. Instead of being able to bust and kick the door down, it now opens normally with the camera sliding through as if it were replicating the original door loading screens from the previous, early titles.
However, while Lost in Nightmares has solid gameplay and feels like a trip to the past… and while it’s great to see Jill and Chris working together… Over all, it was disappointing.
One thing Capcom said that Lost in Nightmares would bring is the return of a fear factor. A couple cheap scares are scattered throughout the mission, but nothing too terrifying or surprising. One in particular is completely obvious but at least it was good fan service. I will say that it does have a tense grip on you, it’s not in the sense you’d expect. The darker levels of the game didn’t feel as dreadful as they could have, only giving a small taste of what the series use to be.
Much like the originals, Lost in Nightmares focuses more on puzzles. However, the puzzles are few and far between. They are also extremely simply to figure out making the game feel like it’s handing you the answers. This is a constant problem I have with Lost in Nightmares; it’s too simple. The levels are very linear and straight forward with almost no room to explore. While I do understand that this is only an add on, I do wish it was a bit more open over it’s current state of limiting you on where you can go.
Not only that, but in all honesty, you could probably beat it without firing a single bullet at an enemy. The amount of enemies in Lost in Nightmares is extremely sad; only a few parts half way through it have enemies. The classic “bait and run” technique works perfectly fine on them, meaning you can dodge them and run through the level without needing to deal with them.
The most tense part of the game happens to be when you are stuck in an area with three of the certain type of enemy chasing you. You get separated and lost your weapons, causing you and you’re partner to be quick on creating a strategy on your feet. This part of great for the first ten minutes. After you kill one of the enemies and realize you need to do it two more times… The charm wears off and the repetitiveness shows…
Over all, Lost in Nightmares feels like a work-in-progress demo. It offered some fan service and revived a dead feeling, but it has some flaws that really pull down the quality of it. There was potential here that just wasn’t filled.