The Resident Evil franchise took a radically different direction with its fourth incarnation when it leaped from its survival horror roots into the realm of action horror. Resident Evil 5 continued this trend, and because it offered a different sort of twist on the nail-biting tension that the long-running series is famous for, it just wasn't the same for some fans. If you've been lamenting the loss of the classic Resident Evil gameplay, or you simply want to experience something new in its dark and deadly-virus-filled world, the Lost in Nightmares downloadable content pack is exactly what you're looking for. For 400 Microsoft points ($5), this creepy and atmospheric adventure includes thrilling moments, exciting action, and some great surprises.
During his Kijuju assignment in Resident Evil 5, series veteran Chris Redfield reminisces in a cutscene about the tragic mission that ended with the death of his longtime partner, Jill Valentine. Lost in Nightmares is the complete story of Chris and Jill's last adventure together, which includes a number of details that Redfield left out of his abbreviated retelling. Having finally tracked down the elusive founder of the Umbrella Corporation, Ozwell E. Spencer, Chris and Jill infiltrate his illustrious mansion to apprehend him, but of course things are never that simple. The Spencer Estate--which the Arklay and Antarctica mansions that appear in Resident Evil and Code: Veronica were modeled after--is a dark and twisted place filled with lethal traps and worse.
Lost in Nightmares is a return to the classic survival horror gameplay of early Resident Evil games. Doors open up slowly and ominously in a first-person perspective, there are plenty of story-related documents to read, and there are puzzles and traps everywhere. Despite having a partner with you at almost all times, Lost in Nightmares is a creepy and haunting journey that keeps you on your toes and makes you question what is around each corner. Monstrous new anchor-wielding enemies stalk you through the mansion grounds and subterranean chambers, and a woefully short supply of ammunition encourages you to make every shot count. To make things even more interesting, the quantity and types of extra weapons available and even the placement of some of your predators are randomized. And if that weren't enough to satisfy your craving for traditional Resident Evil gameplay, fixed camera angles and classic tank controls just like those in the first game can be activated as a hidden bonus.
However, as enjoyable as the Lost in Nightmares campaign may be, there's not much of it. It might take you over an hour your first time through, but skilled players can push their way through to the end in as little as 30 minutes. There is some replay value to be had, though, courtesy of the randomization of the mission, its self-contained leaderboard, and its multiple difficulty settings. As with Resident Evil 5, offline and online co-op are also supported, and Jill becomes available as a second playable character the first time you beat the campaign. Lost in Nightmares also comes with a new version of the Mercenaries minigame, called Mercenaries Reunion, which adds new characters Excella Gionne and Barry Burton. This version of the time-based Majini hunting game introduces some slight tweaks to the standard format but is otherwise very similar to the original.
With its heart-pounding moments, scarce supplies of ammunition, and old-school puzzles, Lost in Nightmares delivers an entirely different experience than Resident Evil 5. The Spencer Estate is all at once fresh and familiar, and it offers unique challenges to series fans both old and new, in spite of its small size. Whether you've been looking for a more traditional survival horror experience or you just want a new reason to dust off your copy of Resident Evil 5, Lost in Nightmares is a great investment.