I am a Resident Evil fan, but I bitterly disliked Resident Evil 5. But like a fool, I purchased it before I tried it or read any reviews by reviewers that I trust.
Released on March 3, 2010, Desperate Escape is Capcom’s latest add-on chapter to the Resident Evil 5 storyline (if it can be called a story). It stars Jill Valentine and Captain Josh Stone of the BSAA West Africa branch. Together, the two fight their way through wave after wave of pseudo-zombies to reach a helicopter pad and meet up with their friends Chris and Sheva.
The story begins just after Sheva and Chris tear a mind-controlling device off of Jill’s chest. Jill is thankful for their actions and assures them of her safety and well being. Chris and Sheva say their goodbyes and leave the room. Immediately after the doors close, Jill passes out. Moments later, Josh Stone finds the unconscious, busty blonde in her skin tight leather suit (complete with high heels… for combat) and shakes her awake. The two introduce each other, state their intentions, and immediately set off after their friends Chris and Sheva. Jill desperately needs to contact Chris and tell him about Wesker’s weakness (it probably slipped her mind 2 minutes ago) and Josh feels the need to rescue Sheva. So…yea… the storyline is pretty bad. And if you’re unaware of the storyline of Resident Evil 5… don’t worry… you aren’t missing much.
Players initially control Jill, but after completing the story, they can then control Josh. Jill plays very similarly to Sheva, and Josh plays like Chris, so gamers who are used to manipulating the actions of the two *cough* heroes *cough* will feel right at home. Not much else about the game has been changed. The characters control with the same tank-like movements. After coming off of a huge binge of playing Battlefield Bad Company 2, I was re-frustrated with the lack of running and gunning / running and reloading found in Resident Evil 5.
To my chagrin, the terrible inventory management system also remained untouched. I realize it’s just an add-on and normally developers don’t make such massive changes with little packs like this, but a geek can dream.
The graphics are the same as the core game of Resident Evil 5, but Desperate Escape definitely has a few beautiful sets built in. The majority of the campaign feels pretty generic, but there are a few places where you’ll stop and admire Capcom’s digital handiwork.
Desperate Escape’s bright spot is, believe it or not, the combat. Unlike the core game where there are a set number of enemies, in Desperate Escape, the enemies attack in waves, so by the time the experience is over, gamers will have spent a lot of ammunition thinning out the hordes of the semi-undead. The final objective is to reach the high ground, and escape on Josh’s friend’s helicopter to meet up with Chris and Sheva. The final standoff takes place on top of a helipad as Jill and Josh scatter for shelter and spend the last of their ammunition and health on endless waves of zombies that are periodically accented with a boss zombie like a chainsaw zombie or a heavy machine gun zombie. Sound familiar? It should.
This level plays just like an episode of Left 4 Dead but with only 2 people.
In terms of physical size, this chapter is slightly longer than the average level found in Resident Evil 5. It is also much more difficult than most levels too, because enemies come in greater numbers and players are granted much less ammunition and health. These two changes are very welcome.
All in all, Desperate Escape is blessed and cursed with all the same attributes of the core Resident Evil 5 experience, but with an added pinch of Left 4 Dead. In the end, it is a fairly decent action shooter.
If you enjoyed Resident Evil 5, then Desperate Escape is definitely worth adding to core game. It exceeded my expectations. For only $5, you get a lot of value in this little download. However, if you’re like me and don’t really care for Resident Evil 5, then by all means, save your $5. Though it slightly improves the Resident Evil 5 experience, Desperate Escape still won’t make up for that bad taste left in your mouth.