The lights are on
This is all I need to express my thoughts on this game: Fans and people in need of a solid shooter on the Wii should look no further; it works! Nuff said.
Actually, not. There's a lot to be said about The Darkside Chronicles, apart from it being a shooter that actually uses the wiimote successfully. While not the story-driven, survival horror thriller we've come to expect in the Resident Evil series, it offers a solid stream of adrenaline-pumping action for players. Note that the nunchuk can be used to optimize controller functionality so that gameplay doesn't feel too awkward. It's a classic light gun shooter that smartly borrows its design from House of the Dead and similar fare, and in essence, succeeds without a hilt.
From what story that can be detected, it goes like this: four years after Umbrella's dealings with Raccoon City, Leon's in South America with his buddy Krauser trying to investigate yet another suspicious viral outbreak. As the trend goes with all zombie narratives, the vicious creatures pop up and it's a fight for survival. Leon does the narrating in-between these showdowns - played out as flashbacks to events in previous games- to give the player, and Krauser, some perspective. It's nice to be able to have two different perspectives when you're playing - depending on the character you chose- however, I must say it isn't as exciting as it could be when you've got cheap camera effects making it just a bit more challenging to pull off those coveted headshots at times.
Can I also discuss the way this game retcons the story overall? It's not very satisfying whatsoever. I understand that remaining faithful to the certain chronological elements in the past would make playing through this game with two characters in those segments impossible, but at the same time the way the game lazily deals with this only opens more holes in the narrative and will confuse all but the diehard players who already have experience with the series. Other key elements of the narrative fans would like answered - such as what actually caused Krauser's moral decline- are vaguely alluded to in the game, but don't ever get developed enough to constitute a sufficient answer. You aren't really given much perspective on Raccoon City either. But where story fails, the gameplay succeeds.
You'll like the wealth of upgrades, etc. that players can purchase with the money earned, but might not like the way the game overtly encourages you to do multiple playthroughs to acquire them due to the expenses of some of them, namely weapon upgrades. Other than that, as a casual feature it has a wealth of variety in terms of enemies to kill- some welcome familiars like lickers- all wonderfully rendered in an equally beautiful game. As you do become an ubermensch, you'll lose the difficulty towards the end, but aside from this and the wealth of collectibles to be found, you'll have plenty to return to in this game.
There is one thing that needs to be discussed however, as it is a question that will probably nag everyone who plays this game: what in the world are these developers trying to do? Is this a game that takes itself seriously, or is this a parody that takes itself seriously? From the awful voice acting to horridly done one-liners ("Zombies, zombies, zombies, zombies; it's like we're in a videogame!") that would make Snake Fist look like an acting virtuoso, to the other mannered elements in Darkside Chronicles, players can't help but wonder if the game's supposed to be satirical. Needless to say, it does a terrible job of this, and is better served sticking to the field it knows best.
Overall, The Darkside Chronicles is a welcome diversion in the Resident Evil series, with action and spectacle making up for its weaker qualities. It's not a scarefest, and at times can seem a cheese fest, but one filled with enough action and gorgeous graphics to gloss over any faults.
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