|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Monolith Soft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: TBA 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tom Becker
April 30, 2007 - As the video game industry has expanded, new ideas are few and far between. That's why when a novel concept emerges it can be really exciting. The latest action title from Monolith Soft pits the player against a unique enemy: Mother Nature. It's called Disaster: Day of Crisis, and it has excitement to spare.
To be fair, Disaster: Day of Crisis isn't that original. In fact, it's startlingly similar to the underplayed but highly praised Disaster Report. In that game, players had to survive the collapse of an artificial island. Not only did they have to survive, but they also had to find the cause of the earthquake that leveled the city. The recently released sequel, Raw Danger, followed a similar storyline but this time the offending natural disaster was a tsunami. Disaster: Day of Crisis takes the essentially novel idea of pitting the player against ecological disasters and builds on it considerably.
The player takes on the role of Ray, a former member of an elite rescue force - just the man for the job when the Earth suddenly starts cleaning house. The environment around Ray is literally erupting with every kind of natural disaster, from earthquakes to tsunamis. As if that weren't enough work, a terrorist cell has taken advantage of the chaos and procured a nuclear weapon. Somehow, between racing from lava flows and dodging collapsing skyscrapers, Ray must also find time to thwart the terrorists' nefarious scheme. It's a loaded plot and, to be honest, sounds like a few too many plates to be spinning at once. Not to mention the questionable sensitivity of releasing a game which prominently features skyscraper collapse and disastrous urban flooding in a country that has experienced both in recent years. This is to say nothing of the unequaled disaster of the recent tsunami in South Asia. Game development is a kind of art and, strictly speaking, should not pander to the public. Even so, creating a game like this in such a real climate of disaster is questionable at the least. Time will tell if this will have any bearing on the public's reaction and sales in general. As of now, there's not much to know.
There's precious little information on the web about actual gameplay. The short non-interactive demo shown to industry journalists last year merely showed Ray racing down a street from lava flow in a sports car, flanked by motorcycles. Subsequent trailers have given a bit more in terms of gameplay footage and cinematics, which helps at least give a sense of what the game will be like.
Ray himself looks the lovechild of Keanu Reeves and Moby Jones from the EA's SSX series. He's the typically somber, hard-edged manly man that we have seen time and again in Japanese titles. In the little gameplay footage available, Ray is busy running from collapsing buildings, lava, and flood waters. It looks a bit like Shadow of the Colossus, and one can guess that the format is similar. There appears to be a lot of acrobatic dodging and weaving to avoid death, whether on foot or in a vehicle. There just isn't very much to go on as yet. Hopefully, Monolith Soft will be more forthcoming as the release date draws near.
There are a few screenshots and one trailer available for public consumption as of this preview. Critics online have criticized some of the first shots for being ugly and, in the opinion of some, typical of Wii content. It's hard to argue with this assessment, as some of the graphics in the screens look more like GTA3 than Half-Life 2. Cutscenes incorporated into the trailer look excellent, but a luscious cutscene has always been a potential red herring used to distract from lousy gameplay graphics. The fact that half the trailer incorporates concept art stills that have been available for some time does not bode well. Development almost always improves on graphic quality before the final release, but as close as Disaster: Day of Crisis is to its final release, one has to wonder: is this as good as it gets?
The game was developed by Monolith Soft, not to be confused with Monolith, developer of such classic games as Aliens Vs. Predator 2, the No One Lives Forever series, Shogo, and the recent hit, F.E.A.R. Monolith Soft is known mostly for RPGs like Baten Kaitos for the GameCube, so Disaster: Day of Crisis represents one of their first forays outside of familiar territory. Company president Hirohide Sigiura claims they are trying to open up new markets for their games. Disaster: Day of Crisis is significantly darker than other Monolith Soft titles and titles for the Wii in general. It should attract gamers who might otherwise be turned off by cuddlier Wii fare.
It's an interesting if not entirely original idea for a game, one that could cause a wave of similar titles. One man against the forces of nature is a great place to start, it's just a shame developers haven't done more to whet the gaming public's appetite.
CCC Freelance Writer
If you've never had "one of those days.." you're about to by Vaughn Smith
May 10, 2006 - You may have never heard of this one, as it kinda slipped under the radar, but if I may, let me put you at ease with one word: "Monolith". Monolith is the development team behind the excellent PC FPS F.E.A.R.(coming soon to X360) and Condemned: Criminal Origins (X360, PC, PS3).
The game seems to follow in the same footsteps as the movie The Day After Tomorrow, in that natural disasters threaten to destroy the US, but at the same time a rogue special forces team seizes the opportunity due to the confusion and panic and steals a nuclear weapon. As Ray, a former member of an elite rescue task force, it will be up to you to get the nuke back before the badguys can re-gift it to Iran. I made that last part up; I don't know if Iran is involved or not, but just to be on the safe side, let's invade them and destroy their country! HAHAHAHA!
I'd like to know why all of these elite squad members are allowed to retire when no one else of capable skills is hired to replace them. Why do they always have to come out of retirement? And if they're retired, shouldn't the dude be 65 years old? You should need to use the Wii-mote as a freakin' cane. These "retired" heroes are always 20 years old. It's crazy. I mean, look at that guy up there. Retired? He doesn't look old enough to stock shelves at 711. At least Snake from the Metal Gear series seems to be aging. Now there's a video game character who really needs to take some time off.
We're confident Monolith will deliver a quality adventure, given their previous track record. Stay tuned for more info.
CCC Former Site Director