Giant Bomb Review

35 Comments

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Review

3
  • Wii

Darkside Chronicles is a fine fit for those enamored with the fiction of the Resident Evil series. It's competent enough as a guided shooter, even if it doesn't do much to improve on the hoary old format.

 Argh! Zombies!

For all the popularity the Resident Evil franchise has seen over the past decade, its unique, deliberately paced gameplay styles have always borne a relatively high barrier for entry, even as they've evolved over the years. The same cannot be said for the myriad of light-gun games set in the zombie-verse of Resident Evil, which go all the way back to the original PlayStation, and which boil the Resident Evil experience down to shooting zombies in the face, over and over again. Ironically, it's not the difficulty or complexity of the gameplay that creates a barrier for Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. A simple weapon upgrade path aside, this is a game comfortable hitting the same basic point-and-shoot beats as something like The House of the Dead. The barrier for Darkside Chronicles is the truncated way it presents the bone-dense Resident Evil mythology.
 
Darkside Chronicles primarily concerns itself with the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil: Code: Veronica, though these familiar sections are bookended by a new mission set in South America that fills in some of the blanks leading up to Resident Evil 4. If you've played Resident Evil 2 and/or Resident Evil: Code: Veronica, you'll get to see some of the more action-packed set-pieces from those games from a guided, first-person perspective, and the new mission sheds some light on the relationship between Leon S. Kennedy and Jack Krauser, all of which I certainly see the appeal of. If you haven't already bought into Resident Evil, though, you're left with a Reader's Digest version of those stories. The game flatly delivers most of the information to meet your immediate needs, but without the proper context, it's not terribly engaging.
 
Not that you really need that much backstory to know that zombies are bad, and need to be shot in the face. Repeatedly. Darkside Chronicles relies on a lot of shopworn light-gun game tricks, which creates a lot of slack in what is already a slow-moving game, and neutralizes the game's grimy atmosphere and any attempt at jump scares. If you see a zombie corpse on the ground, you can expect it to lumber to its feet at some point. You can expect that, if you see a conspicuously empty area, you'll find it swarming with the undead on a second glance. Individual chapters are often punctuated with boss encounters, which represent the only real challenge in Darkside Chronicles, due largely to the amount of damage they deal with each attack.
 

 You'll face plenty of other familiar creepy-crawlies, too.

If there's something to set Darkside Chronicles apart, it's the way it aims for more naturalistic camera movement, which, when combined with the old VHS-tape motif of the game's menus, seems designed to evoke a Cloverfield-style YOU ARE THERE atmosphere. The flaw in this line of thinking is that all that camera shake makes it harder to draw a bead on a target, something that seems to run counter to the premium the game puts on headshots. You've got a basic pistol that comes with infinite ammo, though you can also pick up weapons like shotguns, submachine guns, grenades, and others which pack a bit more punch. This is where Darkside Chronicles offers up a hint of depth, as you can take currency earned during missions to upgrade various aspects of your arsenal.
 
If you don't come into Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles with an innate appreciation for the fiction of Resident Evil, all it really has to offer is a pretty by-the-numbers guided shooter experience. This doesn't make it a bad game, just an unambitious one, and one that has a hard limit on the audience for whom it will hold any significant appeal.

35 Comments
Posted by KaosAngel

Not bad, not as good as Dead Space but what else do Wii users have?

Posted by handlas

meh...RE2 was apparently just released on PSN (just heard)...think I'd rather have that.

Posted by norton123

eh

Posted by Wes899

I'll probably pick this up eventually, or borrow it from my friend. He buys every Wii game.

Online
Posted by BagManForHire

looks fun, might have to pick it up

Edited by Al3xand3r

Meh. No mention of length, replayability, variety of scenarios, two player mode enhancements (if any? more zombies? less ammo? tougher bosses?), scoring (multipliers? combos? anything to make going for high scores fun and adding to the replayability?), leaderboards (are they online? worldwide and region specific?), any comparison at all to other lightgun shooters (of which the Wii has several good ones to compete with this)? Not even how well the aiming works and if there's calibration to enable the use of the popular lightgun shells (for proper aiming and arcade style fun rather than merely dragging a cursor around)? This reads like an extremely barebones description (which with a few changes here or there could apply on any lightgun shooter, even the prequel, as it doesn't really tell anything specific) of the game with a few stars on top that seem detached from the game's quality and set on the "reviewer" simply not liking the genre enough to actually properly review the game. I guess we'll have to wait for user impressions as usual. Not helpful. Meh.

Posted by Apathylad

I always wondered where the heck Krauser was from. If I recall correctly, Leon says that Krauser and him were allies prior to the events of Resident Evil 4, so it looks like Darkside Chronicles will answer some of those questions.

Edited by Kohe321

good review, but I won't get this game.

Posted by Knives

I finally picked up the first, only after it dropped to $17 on Amazon. Will probably do the same with this.

Posted by JJOR64

I enjoyed the first one.  Maybe I will get this one it drops in price.

Posted by robbob88

The reviews for this game from the "media" seem to be all over the place, some really liked the game and some just did'nt enjoy it all that much.
Posted by Stonyman65

Great review.  Really looking forward to the quicklook

Posted by Alphazero

Your mom's a hoary old format.

Posted by Andeh

Well we all know on which level RE shooters usually are so I didn't expect all that much. I had fun with its predecessor and this looks actually a tad more interesting and engaging. I'll prolly end up buying it at some point. P:

Posted by VisariLoyalist

oh no, I was totally considering buying this...

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Posted by Milkman

Oh hey, a light gun shooter on the Wii...
 
Pass.

Online
Edited by Knives
@Al3xand3r said:

" Meh. No mention of length, replayability, variety of scenarios, two player mode enhancements (if any? more zombies? less ammo? tougher bosses?), scoring (multipliers? combos? anything to make going for high scores fun and adding to the replayability?), leaderboards (are they online? worldwide and region specific?), any comparison at all to other lightgun shooters (of which the Wii has several good ones to compete with this)? Not even how well the aiming works and if there's calibration to enable the use of the popular lightgun shells (for proper aiming and arcade style fun rather than merely dragging a cursor around)? This reads like an extremely barebones description (which with a few changes here or there could apply on any lightgun shooter, even the prequel, as it doesn't really tell anything specific) of the game with a few stars on top that seem detached from the game's quality and set on the "reviewer" simply not liking the genre enough to actually properly review the game. I guess we'll have to wait for user impressions as usual. Not helpful. Meh. "

OK, I'll give you what Ryan couldn't. It's got nice graphics, but the gameplay feels drab and uninspired compared to Deadspace. I think that's about all you need to know.
Posted by MrMiyagi

Ugh.. it's guided? And here I was hoping for another RE4 Wii style game.

Posted by Yummylee

No matter how high quality its graphics are and how fluid the gameplay is, even it being a RE title, its still just a lightgun game...which will always equal to a meh from me.
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Posted by Meowayne
@Abyssfull said:
" No matter how high quality its graphics are and how fluid the gameplay is, even it being a RE title, its still just a lightgun game...which will always equal to a meh from me. "
When was the last time you played one? Arcade shooters are wicked fun. To value the illusion of a free path higher than a preset and well done cinematography is very random and very unjustified. And Dead Space: Extraction in particular is stuffed with interaction and player immersion other than "shoot stuff". I played Dead Space and Dead Space:Extraction back-to-back and would not rank one above the other in terms of storytelling, interaction or fun value. 
And this does not even take the Multiplayer into account, which is a huge factor in these games, as much as it is in 2D fighters. 
 
Granted, of course, that you're playing with the right equipment.
 
Posted by DrRandle

Someday I'll grab it but there are other priorities... Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for starters.

Edited by Al3xand3r
@Knives said:

" @Al3xand3r said:

" Meh. No mention of length, replayability, variety of scenarios, two player mode enhancements (if any? more zombies? less ammo? tougher bosses?), scoring (multipliers? combos? anything to make going for high scores fun and adding to the replayability?), leaderboards (are they online? worldwide and region specific?), any comparison at all to other lightgun shooters (of which the Wii has several good ones to compete with this)? Not even how well the aiming works and if there's calibration to enable the use of the popular lightgun shells (for proper aiming and arcade style fun rather than merely dragging a cursor around)? This reads like an extremely barebones description (which with a few changes here or there could apply on any lightgun shooter, even the prequel, as it doesn't really tell anything specific) of the game with a few stars on top that seem detached from the game's quality and set on the "reviewer" simply not liking the genre enough to actually properly review the game. I guess we'll have to wait for user impressions as usual. Not helpful. Meh. "

OK, I'll give you what Ryan couldn't. It's got nice graphics, but the gameplay feels drab and uninspired compared to Deadspace. I think that's about all you need to know. "
Too bad you haven't actually played the game as you "just" picked up Umbrella Chronicles on the cheap instead... I'm not sure if you've even played Dead Space: Extraction since you were waiting for a price cut.
Posted by Mooshu

I've noticed that Ryan probably gives the most 3 star ratings on the site.
 
 
He's indifferent to a lot of stuff.

Posted by Gsus89

Choppy framerate makes the game a no-no.

Posted by Knives
@Al3xand3r said:
" @Knives said:

" @Al3xand3r said:

" Meh. No mention of length, replayability, variety of scenarios, two player mode enhancements (if any? more zombies? less ammo? tougher bosses?), scoring (multipliers? combos? anything to make going for high scores fun and adding to the replayability?), leaderboards (are they online? worldwide and region specific?), any comparison at all to other lightgun shooters (of which the Wii has several good ones to compete with this)? Not even how well the aiming works and if there's calibration to enable the use of the popular lightgun shells (for proper aiming and arcade style fun rather than merely dragging a cursor around)? This reads like an extremely barebones description (which with a few changes here or there could apply on any lightgun shooter, even the prequel, as it doesn't really tell anything specific) of the game with a few stars on top that seem detached from the game's quality and set on the "reviewer" simply not liking the genre enough to actually properly review the game. I guess we'll have to wait for user impressions as usual. Not helpful. Meh. "

OK, I'll give you what Ryan couldn't. It's got nice graphics, but the gameplay feels drab and uninspired compared to Deadspace. I think that's about all you need to know. "
Too bad you haven't actually played the game as you "just" picked up Umbrella Chronicles on the cheap instead... I'm not sure if you've even played Dead Space: Extraction since you were waiting for a price cut. "
Just call it intuition.
Posted by MeatSim

The first game was a solid light gun shooter but the RE story is all pretty 
ridiculous and uninteresting to me.

Posted by Meowayne
@Mooshu said:
" I've noticed that Ryan probably gives the most 3 star ratings on the site.  "
I'm okay with the 3 stars for this game (though I wonder why there was no mention of how unbelievably good the game looks)
But I'm not okay with Dead Space: Extraction's 3/5 stars. No matter what you think of the game - It is undeniably vastly better than this game, or the first UC, or OVERKILL. 
Brad even said on the podcast that he had a great time with it and was looking forward to playing more of it. Completely ignoring the multiplayer and downscoring an arcade-shooter(!) for a short campaign length? No. Just no.
Posted by Al3xand3r
@Knives said:
" @Al3xand3r said:
" @Knives said:

" @Al3xand3r said:

" Meh. No mention of length, replayability, variety of scenarios, two player mode enhancements (if any? more zombies? less ammo? tougher bosses?), scoring (multipliers? combos? anything to make going for high scores fun and adding to the replayability?), leaderboards (are they online? worldwide and region specific?), any comparison at all to other lightgun shooters (of which the Wii has several good ones to compete with this)? Not even how well the aiming works and if there's calibration to enable the use of the popular lightgun shells (for proper aiming and arcade style fun rather than merely dragging a cursor around)? This reads like an extremely barebones description (which with a few changes here or there could apply on any lightgun shooter, even the prequel, as it doesn't really tell anything specific) of the game with a few stars on top that seem detached from the game's quality and set on the "reviewer" simply not liking the genre enough to actually properly review the game. I guess we'll have to wait for user impressions as usual. Not helpful. Meh. "

OK, I'll give you what Ryan couldn't. It's got nice graphics, but the gameplay feels drab and uninspired compared to Deadspace. I think that's about all you need to know. "
Too bad you haven't actually played the game as you "just" picked up Umbrella Chronicles on the cheap instead... I'm not sure if you've even played Dead Space: Extraction since you were waiting for a price cut. "
Just call it intuition. "
I'll call it bullshit as it is.
Posted by AutomaticSnake

crap like the wii

Posted by Death_Burnout

i actually loved the first game...i also loved how it played with the fiction...and it toally had a laser corridor in it!
 
So im gunna go ahead and say, i'll like this too.

Posted by Knives
@Al3xand3r said: 
I'll call it bullshit as it is. "
OK.
Posted by Media_Master

Its a good rail-shooter, but the thing that scares me the most is the camera whipping around.

Posted by kagekage

yea i felt this review was sort of half-assed on ryan's part.
sorry, but when you just say its a light-gun shooter with the title RE, it's not a review.
the graphics look really impressive, but the framerate could be better
i can understand ryan's review in saying its a RE light-gun shooter, but he could still make an effort to include some of the calibration tools and graphics.

Posted by Penhalion

 Having bought this a few days ago. I have done little else but swear at it while playing. Why? Well first of all it has what can only be called a shakey cam effect going all the time. This makes it near impossible to shoot anything correctly. The next issue I ran into was the boss fight mechanic. The bosses all need to be killed in a specific way. Their lifebars are litterally meaningless! You can actually whittle the bar down to nothing and still have the boss kill you simply because you haven's shot it in the one spot or hit the piece of scenery that counts as the killing blow!
 
Basically this game is broken as an on rails shooter. It's one thing to build suspence and tention by having the characters turning and shouting like scared rabbits but, when you add the shakey cam effect and the way the characters view will move randomly from side to side. Well you have a near impossible task ahead of you. The annoying thing is that there is no reason for the shakey view. It's certainly not what the character would be seeing were you actually in their shoes. To prove this simply walk towards any point in the room you are currently in. Does your view shake? Hell no! Why? Because your eyes focus on one spot and compensate for and movement your body is making. It's as simple as that.
 
basically I would not recommend this game to anyone who wants to avoid a huge amount of frustration and disapointment.

Posted by Dogstar060763

 I like this game. It's definitely one of the Wii's best-looking titles and it's damn good fun to play (and replay). Being able to replay opened chapters to earn more gold and upgrade weapons before moving forward in the game is useful to more inexperienced players, like myself. Nothing like being able to get your shotty to carry a few more shells, or pack a bigger punch. I'm not a huge RE fan, so I don't really know too much about the various stories, but even so I find the game's various chapters interesting - even if the dialogue is a bit daft in places.