Behold ye all lovers of horror and action alike. The survivor horror-turned-action shooter franchise, Resident Evil makes another comeback, this time in the form of an extended version of its 2009’s excellent action-oriented iteration, Resident Evil 5. Featuring even more infected African natives to shoot down, bits of competitive multiplayer, a familiar spooky mansion to roam about in, and the return of a fan-favourite female protagonist, is this mysteriously suffixed Gold Edition truly worth the upgrade?
[singlepic id=1944 w=450 float=center]
The first bit of the new content which comprises the package is the DLC pack titled Lost in Nightmares, which seems to have been created solely keeping the fans of the classic franchise games in mind. The roughly one hour long chapter has Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine investigating the spooky Spencer Mansion from the very first game. The atmosphere of the mansion is quite eerie, comprising of dark, long corridors lit up by frequent lightning with an equally creepy, ghastly courtyard outside visible through windows.
The mansion leads to an underground dungeon-like pathway, which plays host to a new enemy type previously unseen in RE5. Taking a diversion from the usual run and gun gameplay of Resident Evil 5, this level is fairly puzzle-based, requiring the protagonists to find keys and turn cranks to progress. The enemies are extremely limited and anyone who remembers the mansion cutscenes from RE5 can almost guess the ending, which comes with a dose of déjà-vu. For fans who thought the original game was too action based, this would come as quite a delightful treat.
[singlepic id=1947 w=450 float=center]
The second episode, Desperate Escape, is almost a complete turnabout from the first, going back to the action of RE5, where the series seemingly diverted towards in its fourth iteration. While Lost in Nightmares features a mere handful of enemies, Desperate Escape almost throws half the un-dead population of Africa at you (killing 150-plus of which nets you a trophy). Playing as Josh Stone, accompanied by Jill Valentine, you must try to escape the heart of the Majini infestation to get to the choppa. You slay the natives left, right and centre in this hour long chapter, which comes off as a longer version of the Mercenaries mode. Personally, I would have been happier had the second episode also felt like Lost In Nightmares, but the mindless slaying of the masses did manage to keep my attention long enough to see it through to the end.
Also included in the Gold Edition is a new multiplayer mode called Versus, which pits up to four human players against each other or in teams of two. Consisting of two distinct modes (each having its own team version, making it a total of four), this is the first time that the Resident Evil series has featured competitive multiplayer. The first mode, Slayer, puts the player in maps from the single-player campaign with clear instructions to kill everything in sight in order to rake up points. This plays like a normal deathmatch, except for the fact that it includes hoards of zombie bots.
[singlepic id=1946 w=450 float=center]
The second mode, Survivor, is similar to Slayer mode, with the exception being that points are only awarded for dealing damage to the human opponents, while dodging the confusedly roaming Majini. Only two characters are available at the beginning, and more characters are unlocked as you attain higher scores. There are also environmental hazards scattered all around the maps which come in quite handy for kills since the enemies are no longer slow moving zombies, but instead agile human opponents, against whom the original ‘run-or-gun’ mechanics don’t handle so well. Although this mode only supports one player per console, if you are an RE5 fan with multiplayer as your forte, stop sacrificing those puppy dogs already; your prayers have been answered.
The final inclusion is a revamped version of the Mercenaries mode, called Mercenaries Reunion. The only new element, however, is the addition of 8 characters – two each of Chris and Sheva with alternate costumes and weapons, Josh Stone and Excella Gionne from RE5, and Rebecca Chambers and Barry Burton from past Resident Evil games. All eight characters are unlocked from get go and each has his/her own weapons pack and melee move to add some variety.
[singlepic id=1948 w=450 float=center]
Do note that the single-player campaign needs to be completed before you can play the two episodes and Mercenaries Reunion (click here for our Resident Evil 5 review), and the unlocked unlimited-ammo perks do not get carried over. As much fun as Mercenaries mode was, Mercenaries Reunion doesn’t really implement anything noticeable to stand out, apart from showcasing Sheva in a titillating fairy-tale costume, which some teen fantasies must be made of.
Overall, even though the Mercenaries Reunion mode comes off as tad disappointing, the inclusion of the three new modes adds a substantial amount of gameplay to the original game. If you have yet to pick up one of the finest action games of last year, this is the definitive edition to get. However, if you already own a copy of RE5, you may want to consider the fact that out of the new additions, Lost in Nightmares is the only bit of content that appears uniquely fresh. Then again, if you do own RE5 and are thinking of picking this up, you love the action gameplay enough already, in which case the Gold Edition is right up your alley.
(+) Nearly 2 hours of new story mode chapters
(+) Fans of the original horror environment rejoice, Lost in Nightmares is just for you
(+) New weapon selection in Mercenaries Reunion mode
(+) Addition of online competitive multiplayer
(-) Desperate Escape is mindless, brutal carnage
(-) Mercenaries Reunion is just a rehash of Mercenaries mode
Title: Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition
Platforms: Xbox 360 (Rs 2,499), PS3 (Rs 2,499)
Reviewed on: PS3