Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition
Resident Evil 5’s fantastic co-op gameplay, great bosses, intriguing environments, and addicting upgrade system made it one of the best games of 2009. Now Capcom has bundled the original game in with a long list of extra content similar to “Game of the Year” editions seen with other hit titles. While some add-ons are better than others, the overall value here impresses.
Two new stages are the biggest draw. Lost in Nightmares, a flashback to Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine’s raid of the Spencer manor, is the better of the two. Nostalgia is the focus here. You start out creeping around a dark and seemingly empty mansion, finding crank handles and passwords to unlock new areas. Camera swoops through doorways as you transition to a new room cleverly evoke those classic load screens without making you wait around. Once you get underground, however, combat ramps up. A new non-Majini enemy type provides a nice challenge, especially in tight corridors. If you’re playing alone, however, your AI partner can annoyingly block your only escape route in these halls, resulting in a cheap death at the hands of these creatures. The final two sections involve a clever environmental kill puzzle room and a challenging battle with Wesker (as seen in the flashback cutscenes in RE 5).
Desperate Escape, the second new stage, follows Jill and Josh Stone during the main RE 5 timeline as they make their way to the endgame helicopter. Since this is set in the same world as the core game, a full set of standard Majini, chainsaw guys, and chain gunners are available for the shooting. A brief rocket turret set piece provides something new, but most of the stage is about surviving waves of enemies while sticking around in one location. Keeping your AI partner alive on the last rooftop can be a complete pain in the ass. Unless you take out the most dangerous enemies ASAP, you’ll constantly be reviving him or watching the dreaded “Your partner died” screen.
Each of these stages takes around an hour to complete, and a variety of achievements and trophies provide some nice replay incentive (see sidebar). Unfortunately, you can’t bring any of your upgrades from the main career into these levels, which sucks because the progression system is one of my favorite things about RE 5. Who cares if I want to rocket the hell out of everything? At least give me the option on a second playthrough.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Mercenaries mode, where you chain together Majini kills for a high score within a certain time limit, but the new Mercenaries Reunion spices up the old formula. Utilizing new crazy costumes for Chris and Sheva along with corresponding alternate weapon loadouts, Reunion allows players to use overpowered weapons like Chris’ chain gun in a Mercs context. Plus, this is the only way to play as Excella Gionne and classic characters Barry Burton and Rebecca Chambers. Reunion won’t necessarily convert Mercenaries haters, but it’s amusing to check out if only to see Barry’s interpretation of “Miranda Rights.”
The last piece of Gold content is the online versus mode that’s been available as DLC since shortly after the original game’s release. This mode isn’t amazing, but it’s nice to have for completeness’ sake.