Darkside Chronicles Review: A Fresh And Familiar Zombie-laden Experience - Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles - Nintendo Wii - www.GameInformer.com
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Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles

Darkside Chronicles Review: A Fresh And Familiar Zombie-laden Experience

If you’ve played Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, you know what to expect from its darker sibling. Action is around every corner in this rail shooter, and the game retains its winning formula – unapologetic RE fan service augmenting uncomplicated arcade play.

Whether you’ll enjoy Darkside Chronicles more than its predecessor ultimately comes down to personal taste. Instead of a string of definitive gameplay improvements, Capcom and Cavia have made many trade-offs. I am a big fan of the newly introduced sub-screen, which allows for weapon configuration and the deliberate use of recovery items, but would have loved to see the nunchuk-enabled camera control stick. I like the streamlined reticule sans ammo indicator, but wish the simple two-button grenade lob hadn’t been left for dead. The shaky camera adds a level of authenticity, but makes it notably harder to pull off headshots.

Gameplay refinements aside, Chronicles excels at reimagining and abridging past Resident Evil games. Darkside follows the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil Code: Veronica, while adding an all-new South American mission. Starring Leon Kennedy and Jack Krauser, the new campaign fleshes out the events leading up to Resident Evil 4 and feels right at home in the world of Umbrella’s unleashed horrors.

While seeing fan-favorite Leon Kennedy in a new adventure will be the largest draw for some, others will revel the chance to have him work in tandem with Claire during the Resident Evil 2 set piece – my personal favorite of the three. Here Capcom did a fantastic job of reworking key plot points of both Claire and Leon’s playthroughs, making the single integrated campaign feel fresh and familiar. The result is a comprehensive look at the entire RE 2 narrative, albeit a condensed one. The same can be said for the Code Veronica adaptation, where the scenarios are adjusted to facilitate a cooperative experience. It feels natural for Claire and Steve to work together against the omnipresent Alfred Ashford. When you factor in additional appearances by Albert Wesker, Ada Wong, and Chris Redfield, you get a game steeped to the bone in classic Resident Evil lore.

All three episodes are comprehensive, resulting in a surprisingly long game. Even on the default difficulty setting, this is compounded by the challenge offered by bottlenecks of infected creatures and bosses. Expect to die a few times, especially if playing alone – something I don’t recommend as single-player feels unbalanced. Darkside Chronicles is obviously optimized for teamwork, but even a pair of reticles can’t stop a few frustrating cheap shots. These troublesome sections are the only times the on-rails gameplay feels restrictive – but at least the save points are forgiving.

Collectables provide a strong incentive to keep picking up the controller. Shooting environmental objects yields Umbrella tokens and gold. Once a chapter is complete, tokens unlock archives – character and enemy bios, movies, and even journals and diaries unchanged from their original debut. Gold can be used to upgrade weaponry for your next adventure.

Being on rails and having a handgun with infinite ammo at your disposal negates the fear associated with tank-like controls and limited resources from the early Resident Evil games, so real scares are few and far between. Quick turns of the camera try to catch you off guard, but I wouldn’t call Darkside Chronicles scary. Intense seems to be a more accurate descriptor, especially when describing the numerous back-to-back boss fights.

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles acts as a fantastic primer for those who started with the more action-centric Resident Evil iterations, while simultaneously providing fan service and fun for dedicated followers. Novices and veterans alike would be doing themselves a disservice by passing up this game.

Second Opinion:

7.00

Though a solid repurposing of Resident Evil’s past, Darkside suffers from a few viruses. The on-rails shooter is clearly designed for two players – attempt to fight the infected on your own and prepare for defeat thanks to your unreliable AI partner. The Blair Witch-esque shaky cam induces motion sickness more than fear and makes the reticle a challenge to track. The game features standard weapons mapped to the d-pad on the Wii remote, however, the inability to map health items makes you access the menu for aid during tough battles, which disrupts the flow of gameplay. Environmental textures and overall graphics look rather dated and could use more polish, but in the end Darkside Chronicles delivers a fun co-op refresher course in Resident Evil canon.

User Reviews:

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  • 7.75
    Even better than the first one. Even my wife plays it with me.
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  • 7.50
    Good game...but just cant handle how many RE's there are
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  • 8.50
    Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles is the sequel to the well-received light gun Wii exclusive Umbrella Chronicles. Instead of going through RE 1,3, and 0, the game fills in the plot points from RE2, CODE: Veronica, and includes a special chapter documenting Leon Kennedy's first and only mission...
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  • 8.00
    Off the bat, I'm a huge RE fan; read all the books, completed all the games. So upon hearing a remake on the Wii I happily hopped aboard. This game does each game justice in correctly acknowledging story vital points which ultimately leads to a wholesome and satisfying 'remake'. I say 'remake'...
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  • 8.50
    While I’ve already covered a week with games I’ve played on the Playstation 3, it’s best that this next topic be one of grave (snickers) importance! Zombies are the greatest plague of man kind (next to mimes) and everyone should get some practice in killing them, zombies no mimes, before...
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  • 9.00
    Just Bought This Game And All I Can Say Is WOW! It is a great retelling of the original Resident Evil stories. Sure the premise is easy, just point, shoot, reload, repeat but you find yourself still playing for hours on end. But there was a problem with the graphics, the cutscenes were really good but...
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