A couple of weeks back we brought you our hands-on impressions of Lost in Nightmares, one of two new downloadable episodes due out for Resident Evil 5. Lost in Nightmares tells the story of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine traversing through the Spencer Mansion en route to a pivotal encounter with archvillain (and sunglasses-wearing world record holder) Albert Wesker. More recently, however, we've been spending some time with the other new DLC episode, Desperate Escape. Just as Lost in Nightmares seeks to flesh out some of the events hinted at in Resident Evil 5, so does Desperate Escape. This episode shows Jill Valentine and BSAA agent Josh Stone on a frantic mission to get the hell out of Dodge, which in this case is the utterly zombie-infested Tricell facility.
If Lost in Nightmares is a vintage-inspired return to the narrow hallways and atmospheric tension of early Resident Evil, Desperate Escape is a swift turn in the opposite direction. Here you'll find zombies galore and wide-open outdoor areas. And while it's set at nighttime rather than in broad daylight, there's a certain similarity to the main RE5 campaign in terms of how bombastic and over-the-top the action can get. The enemies themselves aren't the main threat--the burlap-masked chainsaw types are the worst ones we encountered--but the sheer number of them at once can be pretty intimidating.
The chunk of Desperate Escape we played took us through the first couple of environments of the game. The first area was an outdoor complex of metal walkways, ladders, and tanks--a very industrial sort of level that offered a lot of hiding spots for our shambling foes. After successfully navigating this area, it was on to another environment that brought us to a narrow alleyway with a wrecked truck and a whole lot of explosive red barrels. This area acted as a sort of standoff point where we were holed in at a dead-end alley while zombies--regular ones, superstrong obese ones, and chainsaw ones--came at us from every surrounding direction. There wasn't a ton of room to maneuver, but the bunched-together nature of the enemies and the abundance of explosive barrels allowed for some efficient uses of ammunition during those rare instances when we weren't getting our head chainsawed off.
Altogether, Desperate Escape looks like a nice complement to Lost in Nightmares. There's sort of a yin and yang relationship between the two downloadable episodes, with one being the slow, tense return to the Resident Evil of Old and the other playing like Resident Evil 5. Both episodes will be available on Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition when it arrives on March 9, while Lost in Nightmares can be downloaded on February 17 and Desperate Escape on March 3. The latter two dates are for Xbox 360. PlayStation 3 downloads are a day later, respectively. There's no word yet on dates for a PC version.