Lost in Nightmares, the first installment of DLC content for Resident Evil 5, is both a gift and apology from Capcom. Every feature is either a light touch on the backs of longstanding Resident Evil fans, or an endorphin surge for new ones. Lost in Nightmares contains two main features: The full prequel story of Jill and Chris's assault on Spencer's mansion, and a new Mercenaries mode: Mercenaries Reunion.
Resident Evil games have had additional side stories since Resident Evil 2, but until RE5 they have been free. Resident Evil 2 had The 4th Survivor, a story about the fourth soldier to survive William Burkin's attack in the opening cinematic, and Resident Evil 4 had Assignment Ada, which was Ada Wong's mission to collect Plagas samples.
Making these additional side stories accessible to everyone makes sense for today's gamer, but to unlock The 4th Survivor you had to beat Resident Evil 2 twice, both times in less than three hours, without using first aid sprays, using any saves (though according to some you were allowed one), or dying. Even if you unlocked The 4th Survivor, you weren't a practitioner of ideal Resident Evil gameplay. Fortunately, to unlock Lost in Nightmares all you need is money.
These side stories are designed to challenge players. Sadly, Lost in Nightmares, loses its challenge in its accessibility. What it does offer is a return to what made the old games scary: an eerie mansion where it's too dark to see your enemies and a look at events that were previously only told in cutscenes during the main game. This is Capcom's first gift and apology for those who said Resident Evil 5 wasn't scary enough.
The second gift/apology from Capcom is the camera Easter Egg. (if you prefer to find this out on your own, don't read the rest of the paragraph) If you want to play in the camera style of the original Resident Evil games, go to the door you begin at, and investigate it three times. The camera will then change from behind your character to fixed perspectives that choose new angles on each game screen. This old camera style was designed to deliberately obstruct your view; you'd be more afraid to go forward, if you couldn't see where you were going.
The new Mercenaries Reunion mode is a different, but equally satisfying, throwback. Playing Mercenaries for the first time in Resident Evil 4 was a moment of renewed terror and exhilaration. During the main game you were only ever attacked by six enemies in close proximity, but Mercenaries drowned you in an unhindered flood of zombies. Resident Evil 5's Mercenaries mode just wasn't like that — until now.
Capcom makes this work utilizing a simple motto: Less time and more killin'. The tempo of the music is faster. No more meticulous routes. No more careful planning. Just pure, frenzied fun. Essentially, what it offers is more cleavage and more shooting.
Mercenaries Reunion features four playable characters: Excella Gione, Business Sheva, Warrior Chris, and Fairytale Sheva. While Excella players top the leaderboards, the most exciting character is Fairytale Sheva, whose arsenal of shotgun, machine gun, Magnum welcomes the frenzied onslaught of enemies.
The stage design for Mercenaries Reunion is the same as the main portion of RE5, but the location and amount of time from bonuses is less. Consequently, while you'd think with more zombies available the highest scores would be drastically higher, they're actually about the same.
Capcom's Lost in Nightmares side story might not achieve the depth of previous titles, but its Mercenaries mode is the best yet, and will set a high bar for Resident Evil 6. Apology accepted, Capcom.
Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language. This game can also be found on: PS3. It can be purchased either separately or combined with the main title in Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition.