|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.
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.
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.
CCC Freelance Writer