Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Review
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Cavia 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Capcom 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 17, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

A nice feature here is co-op. A friend can help you work through the stage, and if there's anything more fun than popping zombie heads into gory messes, it's popping zombie heads into gory messes together. In fact, the game seems to work a little better two-player, with the hardest parts becoming a bit more manageable when a human replaces your unreliable A.I. partner. The only complaint is that, unlike in Dead Space: Extraction, the second player can't drop in and out.

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles screenshot

There have been a few changes since The Umbrella Chronicles. The camera moves around a lot more, which sometimes makes the experience more immersive. Other times, it makes the game too difficult, causes motion sickness, or becomes unrealistic - why, if you're standing on level ground and trying to shoot an angry monster, would you bob your head around uncontrollably? Also, you can't move the camera yourself with the Nunchuk at all; in fact, if you try, you'll find that the Nunchuk's joystick changes between four weapons (as does the D-pad). We ended up playing without the Nunchuk entirely, which simplified things and eliminated the temptation to move the joystick.

Herbs, instead of being used instantly, are stored in your inventory until you use them with the plus button. You can access your inventory directly with the minus button. There are a few new weapons, including a rather useless bolt gun. Your most reliable weapon will still be your infinite-ammo pistol, and you can still upgrade your weapons between levels. The music is much improved, with moody orchestration (some new, some classic) replacing the often-cheesy soundtrack from TUC.

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One change we dislike is that some of the boss battles cross the line between challenging and cheap. The shaky camera is a big part of this, but also, bosses' health bars are often meaningless. Some turn out to have multiple bars after you've blown through all your ammo, and others will stay alive with no health until you shoot the right thing at the right time to kill them. Another issue (throughout the game, but especially with bosses) is that when you start feeding new shells into your shotgun, you can't stop until it's full. If you pick the wrong time to reload and the huge monster you're fighting winds up to smack you, you're helpless. This is not only infuriating but unrealistic.

The graphics are improved significantly, and they're some of the best the Wii has to offer, but after a few years with HD consoles they don't inspire quite the same sense of wonder that Resident Evil 4 did. The cutscenes look better than the in-game visuals do, but both have problems: the cutscenes look a lot grainier than they would on a high-def system and their facial animations are awful, and in-game, you deal with the Wii's ever-present jaggies. The frequently blood-streaked environments give off that George Romero vibe with some nice lighting effects, but they're not exactly highly detailed, and you'll rarely find yourself tempted to stop shooting and admire the scenery.

In short, this is a good game, especially for fans with fond memories of classic Resident Evil titles and/or old-school light-gun games, and for those who liked The Umbrella Chronicles and want more of the same. It's a full-price Wii title, which might sound obscene for a rail shooter with a refurbished story, but it provides a long campaign with zombie-slaying galore, plenty of replay value, and an entertaining multiplayer experience.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.1
Graphics
The visuals are great for the Wii, but it's hard not to compare this game to Resident Evil 5. Also, the facial animations in the cutscenes are awful.
4.8
Control
Point and shoot. There's not a whole lot to it, and some of the minor issues from Umbrella Chronicles have been fixed.
3.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voiceover acting is terrible, but the music is a welcome upgrade from the cheesy tracks from The Umbrella Chronicles.
3.8

Play Value
In the end it's just a rail shooter, but the campaign takes about eight hours and there are plenty of reasons to play it again.

4.1
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Two-player co-op shooting: Invite friends and family to experience the horror alongside you in two-player co-op mode.
  • Revisit classic RE levels: Experience environments and areas from classic Resident Evil titles such as Raccoon City from Resident Evil 2 and the hidden Umbrella laboratory from Resident Evil: Code Veronica, as well as new scenarios.
  • Fan favorite characters return: Play as Leon S. Kennedy, protagonist of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4, his partner Claire Redfield, who appeared in Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica, and others.
  • Customizable weapons: Players can upgrade and customize their weapons for each battle scenario. Each playable character can be specialized for a specific combat style.
  • Dynamic difficulty: In addition to the initial settings of Easy, Normal and Hard, the game's difficulty level will adjust automatically based on the player's skill level so that both old and new fans can have a fun and challenging experience.
  • Collectibles galore: For true Resident Evil devotees, archive items such as characters, enemies, old documents and movies can be found throughout the game.


  • Screenshots / Images
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