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Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Review

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On 02/14/2010 at 01:13 PM by Lukasz Balicki

One of the most atmospheric on-rails shooter ever made.

Highly recommended for Resident Evil fans.

Since the inception of the Wii, one genre in particular has become one of the most prevalent: the on-rails shooter. This is undoubtedly due to the Wii’s control scheme. With so many available, the genre has diversified. Some provide a more arcade-like experience while others feature a more cinematic experience that some companies have dubbed a "guided first person experience". Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles is the latter, providing scares and tension by the boatload. As such, The Darkside Chronicles has established itself as one of the best on-rails shooters on Wii.

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles is a follow-up to 2007's Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. The Darkside Chronicles retells the stories of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica and introduces a new scenario that takes place in South America and stars Leon Kennedy and Jack Krauser.

As you might expect, The Darkside Chronicles’ gameplay is very similar to Umbrella Chronicles. The game features three separate storylines with each storyline divided into many chapters. Being an on-rails shooter, the game is ultimately linear, however some levels contain branching paths giving players some choice to deviate the progression.

While the game controls similarly to Umbrella Chronicles, the button-mappings are slightly different. You can only equip four weapons at a time; each weapon is mapped to one direction on the D-Pad with the Analog Stick mirroring the D-Pad if the Nunchuk is connected. If you need to change weapons, you can do so by going to the status screen. The game now features a dedicated herb button; this allows players to save herbs instead of using them automatically whenever one is picked up. There are three control schemes in the game, Wii Remote, Wii Remote and Nunchuk, or the Zapper. Each control scheme works well so players will have to find out which one suits them the best.

With headshots being a part of the grading criteria, I was happy to see that they are easier to pull off in The Darkside Chronicles. Furthermore, they have improved the on-screen visuals for the event, making it all-the-more satisfying when you pull one off.

Though similar in presentation to Umbrella Chronicles, The Darkside Chronices has seen some significant enhancements. Almost every portion of the game looks fantastic due to the high level of detail. This makes The Darkside Chronicles easily one of the best looking titles on the platform. Havok physics helps the game look good in motion thanks to the realistic movement of on-screen entities.

Being a very presentation driven experience, Capcom has also provided some fantastic audio. The soundtrack is moody and matches the atmosphere well. The sound effects also help bolster the creepiness of the experience. The only really detractor is the cheesy voice acting and dialog that the series is known for. Thankfully it’s not as bad as seen in the past.

One of the most controversial elements of the game is the new camera system. The game’s first-person view mimics looking out through the eyes of the character. This is meant to enhance the tension and provide a more immersive experience. I found that the new camera system succeeds in enhancing those two elements, but makes aiming a bit tougher when the camera shakes and when characters run or look in a different direction rapidly. Those affected by motion sickness will more than likely feel nauseous at times due to the presentation.

The game also has a multiplayer component, which two players play co-operatively. Since each chapter has two characters, in multiplayer each player takes control of a character (the computer takes over the other character in single player). Players share the same pool of ammunition, which can be bothersome especially if you play with a person that carelessly wastes ammo. Unlike some other titles in the genre, disappointingly players cannot jump-in or jump-out at anytime. If you want to add or remove a player you have to do so at the beginning of a level.

The best quality of the title is its replay value. With two characters to choose from in each chapter, numerous unlockable items, and high score challenges with online leaderboards, there is a lot to keep players coming back.

The Darkside Chronicles is an excellent follow-up to the Umbrella Chronicles. The game addresses almost every complaint fans had from the original title, producing an overall enjoyable and solid experience. Resident Evil fans should definitely pick this game up.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




02/21/2010 at 03:20 AM

My biggest disappointment is that the weapon selection isn't as big or as varied as in the first game. But yeah, this is a great game.

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