It’s interesting that when this game came out a lot of people dismissed it as just another rail shooter for the Wii. That was odd to me because it’s not like there has been an over abundance of them really. They aren’t rhythm games. Yes this year also had Dead Space Extraction (less than two months before Darkside Chronicles) and House of the Dead Overkill, but come on. Three games over a twelve-month span hardly qualifies as market saturation.
This of course is coming from someone who enjoyed both of the aforementioned games. In fact I enjoy the genre overall. Occasionally you want nothing more than to shoot at a never-ending parade of zombies, aliens, terrorists, or what have you, and these games are always there to satisfy those needs. However some definitely have the formula down better than others (Target Terror does NOT satisfy any needs unless you crave a terrible game).
How does Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles fit into the mix? I have a feeling clicking forward will tell you everything you need to know.
I liked Umbrella Chronicles. It was nothing spectacular but it was well made and I really liked going through the storylines from previous games in the series. It made the experience both fresh and nostalgic.
Darkside Chronicles is unfortunately not as fresh or as nostalgic. You do get to play through past scenarios (in this case it’s Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica) but not to the extent of the previous game. Many of the levels tell a new story, and while it’s hard to fault them for trying something new, I still can’t help but miss playing through those familiar situations. The fact that the new story isn’t particularly interesting probably adds to that.
The gameplay will be immediately familiar to anyone who played the first game, or really any recent rail shooter. There’s not much more to say other than you aim your gun and shoot at things as they run towards you. The guns all feel good and my god is it ever satisfying to pull off a series of successful head shots (not that easy to do) on a group of zombies. It’s certainly fun, just rarely surprising.
A lot has already been said about the shaky cam effects used frequently throughout the game. Although it didn’t bother me to the extent it did with some people, it can absolutely be a touch irritating. You’ll be desperately trying to grab an item but your character won’t stop flailing around. I know you see the gold man! I see it, that means you see it! Just look at it for two seconds so I can grab it! On one hand it does make the experience more immersive and cinematic, but it can occasionally lead to some frustration.
I’m a little disappointed that this game, as well as Umbrella Chronicles, isn’t a little scarier. They can be tense, but you’re hardly ever too on edge. The game often falls back on one gimmick – walking through a room of bodies lying on the floor not moving, but then you turn around and OH SHIT THEY ARE UP AND ABOUT! I NEVER SAW THAT COMING! The first time it’s maybe a little surprising, but when the game tries to pull that shit on you for the 11th time, you just want to pat it on the head and tell it that it’s nice that it tried, but maybe it’s time to give it a rest.
The game offers co-op and although I’ve only tried this for a couple of levels it’s certainly fun. If you don’t have a second player with you then you will always be paired up with an AI partner. For the most part they do an adequate job of supporting you, although occasionally they do seem to allow themselves to be attacked. A note to anyone who one day finds themselves in the middle of a zombie outbreak - staring at the zombies is not a more effective strategy than shooting them. Trust me, I've seen it firsthand.
I didn’t realize this until I started writing but rail shooters seem to bring out the best in the Wii graphically. Umbrella Chronicles was a fantastic looking game, as was House of the Dead Overkill and Dead Space Extraction. This game continues the pattern, as it too is a great looking game. The characters and environments are all largely detailed and everything moves smooth and fluid.
There’s a fairly lengthy adventure to be had here, with each scenario featuring multiple chapters. On top of that there are tons of unlockables, as well as the option to keep earning gold, upgrading weapons, and improving your score on each level.
I know I attacked the game a wee bit but I definitely had fun with it. As I said it’s a good game, but simply not much more than that. It’s fine at what it does, but it does very little to shake up the formula. If you’re a Resident Evil fan, and especially if you’re one who enjoys themselves some rail shooting, then this is definitely worth a look. Those with no interest are certainly not going to have their minds changed here.