Thursday, October 15

Resident Evil The Darkside Chronicles Review

I played on: Wii
I paid: £8
Available on: Wii, PS3
Notes: N/A

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of light gun shooters. Resident Evil Survivor 1 and 2 are my two lowest-rated games in the series. Dead Aim did better, offering an experience closer to classic RE but its combat, awful visuals, and lackluster plot still held it back. Then the Wii came out and its motion controllers made light gun games more plausible than ever. Because of this, we got Resident Evil the Umbrella Chronicles, and it was a lazy cash grab. Reusing assets from RE0, REmake, and the Outbreak games it attempted to retell the events of RE0, 1, 3, and an original story. Sadly, this was an awful experience with the assets from the remake and prequel clashing with the quality and style of the Outbreak games. 2 years later Capcom released the Darkside Chronicles as a sequel. This brings us to this review, so without further ado let’s continue.

As I mentioned this is a light gun shooter. This means the camera moves through each area on its own while monsters crowd around waiting for a moment before attacking. It’s up to you to point at them and open fire, killing them before they attack. In order to mix this up, you will also have to hit quick time events now and again to avoid certain attacks. 

You can also change weapons to further mix up the action. The trusty pistol will always have unlimited ammo but a slow rate of fire and damage. Other weapons like the SMG fire much faster but eat through ammo quickly. Meanwhile, the Shotgun will pack a punch but takes a while to unleash all its rounds and even longer to reload. Ultimately, it’s up to you to play with each of the 9 guns until you find the ones you like. Between levels, you can spend points you earn during the action to upgrade each weapon. This adds some replay value to anyone looking for it. I must admit as I’m not a fan of the sub-genre, this isn’t something I will be using but it’s good to see it for others more interested than I.

The story follows the fan-favorite character, Leon Kennedy, on a mission with Jack Krauser. Fans of RE4 will remember Krauser as one of the antagonists of the game. We learn how the two knew each other prior to RE4 and see what lead to Krauser working with Albert Wesker. While seeing Leon and Krauser’s history together is interesting this is mostly used as a framing device. Leon explains the events of both RE2 and Code Veronica to Krauser which leads us into playing condensed recaps of each game. While this is not essential to the overarching series narrative or even RE4 it’s a noteworthy addition to the lore.

The story is the best part of this game in my opinion. I just find light gun shooters outdated and obsolete since the FPS has grown. Why play a game that guides you along a set path unable to interact with anything around you when other games offer you complete control in the same perspective? Mindlessly pointing at a screen unable to move or look around for me just feels frustrating.

On top of this certain boss fights also have moments when the big bad your fighting is invincible. This is never pointed out to you during the fights meaning it’s possible to waste valuable ammo. The quick-time-events are also far too common just feeling cheap and annoying. My final complaint is with the retelling of RE2 and Code Veronica. While the original story with Leon and Krauser was designed to fit this style of game and storytelling the recaps were not. This leads to everything feeling rushed and badly paced. Simply put there’s too much story in each game to be told via this outdated and simplistic subgenre.

We’ve not had any more light-gun shooters since 2009 when the Darkside Chronicles was released. I can’t say I’m upset by this, but this game does feel like a nice high point to leave the subgenre with. While I don’t really like this game it’s not like I didn’t enjoy the time I spent with it. Seeing the RPD in the first person was very nostalgic and when I replay RE4 now I feel like I better understand the relationship between Leon and Krauser. I have absolutely no intention of replaying this game now that I’ve finished it but unlike other light-gun RE games, I’m glad that I have done. Put rather simply this is the high point of an awful subgenre that I’m glad is seemingly dead. 

Recommendation Rating: 7 out of 10

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