I am familiar with the Resident Evil (RE) series, but until recently I had never played a game in the franchise. I am up to date with the story, and I have watched the films, but I have never had the urge to venture any further into the world. RE: Chronicles HD Collection consists of the two RE Chronicles games made for the Wii, updated for the PS3 with Move functionality. The two games in question are Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (RE:TUC) and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (RE:TDC), released in 2007 and 2009 respectively.
RE:TUC primarily takes place in the September of 1998, with levels focussing on locations within Raccoon City. The game links together various story-lines from RE 0, 1, 2 and 3, and RE:TDC retells some of the story of RE:2, and RE Code: Veronica. As aforementioned I am not familiar with the series so I didn’t fully understand the story. Nevertheless, both are great, on-rails, zombie-killing games. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that playing them has made me want to play other RE games just to know what is happening.
Both titles involve you trying to kill zombies whist trying to get the highest possible score and collecting any hidden objects in the levels. The on-rails element is a great way to use motion controls, and in some cases can create atmosphere and suspense. For example, there are often surprised when creeping around corners, as you will never know what you’ll find. Your primary weapon is a standard pistol with unlimited ammo, and you can also pick up guns within the levels. You are given a knife which is good for close up enemies, such as spiders or leeches that attack you and ‘attach’ to the screen in front of you. Grenades are also made available to you, although I found myself rarely using them.
At the end of each level you will be graded on how well you’ve performed in different aspects such as how much time it took to clear the stage, enemies killed and objects destroyed. These differ slightly between the two games, but the fundamental values are still there. Admittedly, I found getting a grade higher than B quite tough, as both games are quite challenging even on the ‘easy’ difficulty setting.
I did, however, find that when playing cooperatively better scores are possible. Cooperative play is a lot more fun than playing solo, although in some places you have to heavily rely on your gaming partner. This might lead to some disagreements. One moment in RE:TDC in particular was quite frustrating. A zombie had put my character into a headlock, and my partner had to shoot it in order for me to escape. My character lost quite a lot of health and put me at a disadvantage for the rest of the level. Other than this though, the co-op mode gives you and your partner your own health and weapons, and you each get a different colored crosshair on the screen. Your scores are amalgamated at the end of each level, but there is an air of competitiveness when playing together.
The transformation from Wii to PS3 in both games has been seamless, and the controls feel natural. You can play with the motion controller alone, but it is recommended to use a sixaxis or navigation controller alongside this to switch weapons or change the view slightly. The Move controls add to the atmosphere in the game, giving the vibe of playing in an arcade.
The graphics in the games are evidence of the two year gap between their releases. I cannot compare the quality of the graphics to the original Wii versions, but there is a marked difference between the two. RE:TUC has a darker display and is of a lesser standard which would be expected for an earlier game. On the other hand RE:TDC is far brighter and looks a lot sharper, but still creating the games’ atmosphere.
There are a few other differences between the two titles. The most noticeable is that the camera in RE:TUC is fixed, meaning that it constantly stays on the same level, but in RE:TDC the camera is shaky, as if it were actually attached to your character, bobbing up and down when they run and changing angle when you fall over. Although this gives a more realistic feel to the game, it can be quite annoying when you’re trying to shoot one specific area in a boss battle and you cannot aim accurately due to erratic camera movement.
Nevertheless, both games are very solid and fun. You can get quite a lot of play out of them, and with many collectables to find in both, trying to get 100% completion will give you many hours of enjoyment. For me, playing these games has been so delightful, and they have made me want to try some of the other titles in the series.
Whether you have played any Resident Evil games before or not, these games are really entertaining. If you are a fan of RE, but didn’t get the games because you didn’t have a Wii, then what are you waiting for?
Review copy of game provided by publisher.