|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Cavia Inc.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: CAPCOM||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q4 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
May 15, 2009 - I'm not sure many people expected 2007's Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles to be such a hit. The game was sharply criticized for its on-rails structure, rigid mechanics, and limited gameplay. Still, the game managed to strike a chord not only with longtime Resident Evil fans but also with those new to the series. Although Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles covered much of the history and lore of the franchise, it is now getting the sequel treatment with the similarly-titled Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles.
Instead of covering all the memorable moments in Umbrella history, The Darkside Chronicles will instead focus on the events of Resident Evil 2, through the eyes of Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. Although many of the scenarios will be very familiar to series veterans, there will be some new plot elements that will reveal more of what went down in Raccoon City during Resident Evil 2.
Aside from the minor plot changes, however, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles will largely remain true to its predecessor in terms of gameplay. The on-rails style has worked well on the Wii, not just for the Resident Evil series, and has proven itself as a bankable format. But, there will be subtle changes. One thing that has been axed for this title is the "look around" mechanism that allowed you to find hidden items and take out more stealthy enemies in the first game. However, even though the camera is going to be fixed this time around, it will move around on its own more and be more intuitive during dramatic scenes. For instance, if you are walking into a dark room, the camera will naturally lean in so you can get a closer view of what is going on.
One new aspect of the Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles that could divide fans is its difficulty setting. It has been stated that The Darkside Chronicles will be a lot easier to play and feature a smoother learning curve than The Umbrella chronicles. While Resident Evil fans may relish the impossible boss battles that punctuated the first title, this one is going for a more steady approach, which I think is good if they want to lure in more fans. In addition to evening out the overall difficulty, The Darkside chronicles will also be made a little bit easier by getting rid of the stipulation that all zombies must die in order to clear a room. Instead, you will have a certain amount of time in which you must shoot as many zombies as possible and, of course, stay alive before you will be transported to the next area.
Another aspect that is being upgraded this time around will be the inventory system. Instead of the muddled, slow-access inventory that was present in the first title, The Darkside Chronicles will have an inventory that is tied directly to the Wii-mote's D-pad. You can equip things you pick up in The Darkside Chronicles much like in Resident Evil 5, and you will access them by simply pressing the corresponding button on the D-pad. Another new control aspect will be the evade system, which will allow you to escape from enemies using the Wii-mote instead of just shooting them as a deterrent.
Although making Resident Evil 2 for the Wii and then calling it The Darkside Chronicles may not convince the most devout of Resident Evil fans, I have to say that I am very interested. I really did enjoy The Umbrella Chronicles, and the improvements to the on-rails system may make The Darkside Chronicles worth the trip back down to Raccoon City. Oh, and if you're worried about not being able to use your Wii Zapper with this game due to the Wii MotionPlus peripheral, don't worry. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles doesn't support it, so you can still zap those zombies to your heart's content.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor