The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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