It's hard to argue with free, but is this really the type of content we were hoping for from Resident Evil 2 post-launch? The Ghost Survivors was pitched as three non-canon 'what if' scenarios that focused on characters we've never had the chance to play as before, but in practice, they're really anything but.
No Time To Mourn puts you in the shoes of Kendo Gun Shop owner Robert Kendo as he leaves his daughter behind following a distress call from an old friend over the radio, while Runaway tasks you with rescuing Katherine Warren's boyfriend from a Raccoon Police Department's cell. Finally, Forgotten Soldier has you escaping Umbrella's underground lab with a sample of the G-Virus. Every one of those pitches is interesting on paper – campaigns that put a fun spin on the story of the main game – but that's actually where the storytelling starts and stops.
The Ghost Survivors' three sequences are designed in a very similar way to that of the base game's 4th Survivor mode, where you take control of series-favourite Hunk. You're given a location to get to and it's up to you to make it there with your life intact. Unlike the base game's bonus mode, you are given some help along the way in the form of gumball machines that allow you to pick up a single item while zombies carry backpacks stocked with ammunition, but finishing every campaign is still tough as nails.
A single successful run to the finish for each takes no longer than 15 minutes, but death results in having to start the whole thing over again. Along the way, you'll encounter a multitude of zombies, lickers, dogs, and even a surprise appearance from Mr X. They aim to lay the beat down on you, and with a very limited supply of bullets, you're going to want to avoid confrontation until it is absolutely necessary. That means manipulating the AI into opening up gaps for you to run through, sprinting past as many enemies as you can without being hit, and clustering them up so the grenade launcher can deal as much damage as possible. All three scenarios are very intense experiences that are going to test all of your undead slaughtering skills, and it feels like a real achievement when you manage to complete one.
You might think there would be some variety to be found within the different characters you play as, but besides running through contrasting environments already present in Leon and Claire's campaigns, there's not a lot to shout about. Each survivor comes equipped with differing weapons that are going to excel in certain situations, but the objective is always the same – escape with your life.
Thankfully, there is one aspect that differentiates them all, and that's new enemy types. Katherine has to test her wits against a stronger type of creature that is all but immune to the bullets of a handgun, Robert Kendo has to dispatch enemies that deploy a cloud of poison upon death, and the soldier that stars in Forgotten Soldier has to put up with members of the undead that are kitted up in armour. They're definitely worth seeing in action, but it's a bit of a shame that they're relegated to minor side-stories instead of featuring in the main campaigns.
Upon completion of all three campaigns, you'll unlock a fourth mode. We're not going to spoil what it is, but if you've been keeping up to date with the latest rumblings surrounding the game's post-launch content and what fans have been asking for, you're going to be in for a pleasant surprise. Test your skills in what is probably Resident Evil 2's hardest scenario yet.
Again though, we return to the question we kicked this article off with. Is this what fans wanted following the title's launch in January, or were we hoping for content that placed more of an emphasis on narrative? There's literally no exposition outside of an opening load screen that details the campaign followed by a quick black and white cut-scene that amounts to pretty much nothing. Each campaign is very much focused on the action and beating it in as quick a time as possible, which honestly isn't what we were looking for at least. It certainly is nice to have something else to do in Resident Evil 2 – and without a price point to contend with there's nothing stopping you from checking it out for yourself – but is this really what we all hoped for? We reckon the answer to that is no.
Have you played Resident Evil 2's The Ghost Survivors DLC yet? Which campaign is your favourite? Don't waste your ammo in the comments below.