February 4th, 2010, 18:45 Posted By: RedXIV
There are certain qualities that one comes to expect in a good light-gun game.
1.It should be easy to just pick up and play
2.It should be just as, if not more, fun to play with a friend.
3.There should be a good selection of unlockables, to keep you coming back.
Darkside Chronicles ticks all of these boxes, and yet it still falls short of gaming perfection in the light gun genre. Annoyingly, this is due primarily to technical flaws which could very easily be avoided, and drags down what should have been a top notch game.
Darkside Chronicles is very similar to the Wii title that came before it, the Umbrella Chronicles. This game focused on the events of Resident Evil Zero, One and Three. Darkside Chronicles takes what’s left and focuses on the events in Resident Evil Two, and Code Veronica. The two scenarios are tied together by introducing a new original story that depicts Leon Kennedy working for the U.S. government. Sent on a mission in South America, he encounters strange zombie-like creatures and this causes him to recall his last encounter with the undead, in Raccoon City.
As mentioned already, light-gun games are wonderful to just pick up and play, without getting into the right frame of mind, or getting yourself seriously involved with the plot. For those who like a bit of narrative, Darkside does offer a loosely structured plot that will give you a general idea of what went on in Raccoon City and also on the island off the coast of France in Code Veronica. It doesn’t go into as much detail as the original games, but obviously that’s a plus in this case. If you’re a fan of the series, you already know what happened. You want to get to where it’s at. And where it’s at is blasting through hordes of zombies!
All the freaks you came to fear and loathe are present in this game, with an extra monster or two thrown in for good measure. The game starts you off with just your handgun and a handful of zombies to mutilate. However, as things progress, you’ll find a wider variety of monsters, as well as different weapons to blow them up with. At no point in the game do you find yourself shooting the same kinds of enemies for too long, which really keeps you on your toes.
Darkside should be commended for this, but it comes at a horrible price. As you load up the opening level, you will notice that, rather than having a fixed point of view, the camera moves to mimic your characters perspective. While this may seem intriguing at first, the novelty wears off in roughly the space of time it takes you to read this sentence. It’s an interesting premise, having the nerves of your character affect your aim, making things more difficult. Instead, it becomes hugely frustrating, making headshots close to impossible and will almost certainly cause motion sickness after any length of time.
It takes the majority of the game to come to grips with this shaky camera style (I didn’t get my first headshot until the end of the Resi Evil 2 chapter). If you can overcome this particular aspect though, the rest of the game delivers in nearly every respect.
In terms of graphics, Darkside utilizes the power of the Wii to its fullest, making it very visually pleasing to look at. The South America sections of the game are a little over ambitious, and try to fit too much onto the screen at once, giving it a somewhat flat and lifeless feel. However, the other sections, Raccoon City in particular, boast a terrifically moody atmosphere, making the creatures that jump out at you (with some excellent animation) all the more terrifying.
To aid this glum setting, we’re treated to an ominous soundtrack, which is occasionally penetrated by the sounds of evil lurking in the shadows. The voice acting is impressive too, although the dialogue has reached a new low in terms of cheesiness. Again, this doesn’t necessarily detract from the game, as there isn’t nearly as much emphasis on story as there is on action (In fact, if you’re like me, you’ll find the cheesy lines make things all the more entertaining!).
In conclusion, Darkside has its flaws. The dialogue is cheesy, but we can forgive that. The camera is more difficult to excuse. I like the fact that Capcom is trying new things, but this backfired in a bad way. You’ll find yourself swearing at the screen more than once as you play through.
Despite this, you’ll almost certainly come back again. There’s a decent amount of unlockable content to keep you blasting away at the Umbrella Corporations grisly creatures (including a very amusing mini-game once you’ve seen the end credits). Minor grievances aside, this is a solid game, great fun to play, and even better with a buddy. Fans of the series will lap it up.
+ T-virus creations are a lot of fun to kill - Annoyingly shaky camera
+ Moody atmosphere - Occasionally cheesy dialogue
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