Being a timed exclusive deal much like the availability of the well-received PSVR compatibility, PC (and Xbox) users alike have had to make do with attempting to clear the base game's increased difficulty modes and figuring out the tricks up unlocking its various bonus items. That changed this week, however, as both former DLC packs arrived on other non-Sony systems on the very same day - albeit at different price tags, too.
Each comes will the same amount of titled content with neither one really outshining the last. Maybe a problem when you consider the added cost of the second, they're both solid additions to the base game if you're looking to stretch its worth before the 'Not A Hero' expansion shows up further down the line. But let's delve into the details.
Banned Footage Vol. 1
While we'd love to theorize how the beast of Soul Calibur could be revealed as Grandpa Baker who decided to see the kids on a bad day, BANDAI NAMCO probably weren't on board for that one. Alas, the Nightmare scenario is the first to put us in the shoes of Clancy - the very same we controlled during the tape sequence from the demo. We hear a lot about the poor fellow in the main game, but throughout these add-ons, we're given a look into just how rough his time spent in the Baker household really was.
To put it simply, it's your run-of-the-mill defense mini-game. Locked into the damp corridors of the main house basement, you're pitted against waves of familiar enemies that, when killed, contribute bonus 'scrap' used to conjure up more ammo, med kits and guns from the station in the main room. Likewise, there's a scrap converter spitting out extra amounts throughout each wave for you to run back and grab whenever you get a free moment. It's a claustrophobic shooting alley, of sorts, with the narrow corridors both aiding and hindering your chances of survival. Having to constantly listen out for enemies spawning around your path has you fearing every moment as your adrenaline levels climb higher with each successful wave.
It's a solid attempt at putting you on edge, but a firm reminder of why the end of the base game didn't match up to the rest.
This one serves as the polar opposite to the idea of the former. Cast your mind back to another one of Clancy's cruel punishments at the hand of Lucas Baker and his 'Birthday Party', and you'll have a rough idea of what to expect here. Chained to a bed by Mama Baker isn't anyone's idea of a good time and while she's running errands downstairs, you're to make use of the assumed valuable last minutes of your life by unbuckling the clasp around your wrist and getting to work on an escape route. You're locked to a room - or two - with some familiar puzzle mechanics in an even more familiar place.
While the mechanics are could be considered recycled goods, the solutions, risks and rewards are certainly different. You get to hear a little more of Mama Baker's troubled mind and be re-introduced to the sliver of her caring personality that lingers on as she periodically fetches you more food. It shouldn't take too long for veteran sleuths to figure out how to break out of her clutches, but if there's any evidence of you being out of bed on the odd occasion that she strolls back into the room - you'll see the side of Marguerite we all know; not the one we hope to love.
Ethan Must Die
Not for the faint of heart, if you've cleared the main campaign already and looking for a challenge that falls more in-line with the survival horror realist, you'll have your wish.
Offered up as a remixed and shortened version of the underlying campaign mode, Ethan Must Die boils down to being a fine example of what to expect if you hope to run through the game on its more extreme difficulty options. Items are in much shorter supply and aren't where you remember them, enemies may very well beat you down in a single hit and those pesky booby trapped boxes of Lucas' creation are back in play.
Clancy may not have had much of a chance when it came to putting up a fight against the Bakers, but Ethan has every opportunity to come out of this relatively unscathed. It's pretty unlikely, though. It's a solid answer to those looking for another reason to play the game's main segment. Being shortened and reshuffled means it isn't just a case of memorizing item locations, enemy routes and the house's structure from an earlier playthough. It's painful, fast-paced and just as terrifying for a variety of different reasons.
Banned Footage Vol. 2
Once again proving Clancy to be the most unlucky guy in the world, the first piece of the second Banned Footage DLC packs sees him picked on by Lucas yet again. Continuously tormented by Lucas' deranged mind and his equally insensitive dialogue lines, you're to play a few found of cards against another unfortunate sap with the loser of each round paying with a couple of digits from their left hand.
Upping the ante with each concurrent victory, Lucas' swaps out the traps in favour of targeting more sensitive areas of your body with each win while throwing in a few extra cards that allow for a level of strategy not typically seen in a simple round of Blackjack. If you're at all a fan of the kids sadistic plays through the main storyline, you'll likely find some enjoyment by pairing his lines and schemes with something that could have been pulled out of a Saw movie. There's incentives for those who think ahead and earn concurrent wins. And with each 'deck' only having 1 of each card, there's plenty of forward thinking to be had, but not much going for those who enjoy the stretching their legs.
Serving as a prequel of sorts to the main game, this one presents itself with ample opportunity to add a greater emotional anvil to every part of the game. We've seen enough of the Bakers in their crazed state. Being constantly teased by the curiosity and wonder of seeing the family act just like any other before having to blow their heads clean off their shoulders, the opening moments of seeing Jack bring Eveline in from cold to hearing Marguerite show sympathy toward the poor girl while politely asking you - now playing as Mia - to get her into some clean clothes quickly falls flat on its face.
After just a single minute or two of being coaxed into caring for the pre-possessed Baker family, we're immediately met by Eveline's doom-delivering gaze and propelled back into the run and hide mechanics of the main game as Mia's family doesn't so much as descent into madness as they do at the near literal flick of a light switch. There's a few more potential pulls of the heartstrings dotted around the short scenario, but is it too much to ask to be a part of a fully functioning family just a little while longer? Exposition is key.
Jack's 55th Birthday
In this laughably out-of-place mini-game we're tasked with running around select sections of familiar territory split into unlockable stages with food scattered around every corner that Jack most certainly wants in his belly. It's a mode that stands as a testament to your inventory management skills as much as it does your pathfinding prowess and ability to pull off successive kills. Most rooms housing the good stuff are well guarded - or even locked - with specific enemies, though they seem to be much more susceptible to your gunfire.
And that's good when you weight up your need to save inventory space for a condiment to mix with Jack's tasty chicken or stew rather than running around with 120 rounds in your back pockets. Max out the man's meter in time and you'll unlock the next map and maybe earn a few extras for your efforts or just have fun questioning why there's so much cheese around the house. There isn't a whole lot of depth to this one, but it's fun to see Jack in a mood that's doesn't result in a knee to the face.
If you're running on limited funds or really only looking to recreate a certain type of experience, there's a clear way to differentiate between the two. Banned Footage Vol. 1 offers a solid expansion for those looking to challenge themselves with more puzzles and put their survival skills to the test while Banned Footage Vol. 2 is for those looking to take some time away from the tension of the main game.
One can very well follow on well from the other, but if you're looking for some hard-hitting increased narrative, neither option will really stand out for you. Post-Game Resident Evil has always been about the game-breaking unlocks and arcade-style mini-games. It's a shame they're gated behind paywalls, but they're solid experiences for those hoping to ride out Capcom's newest entry before the inevitable continuation.