As a Wii owner looking for hardcore games to play that took advantage of the motion sensing controller, I was super excited by the prospect or an exclusive pair of resident evil games centred around the systems motion and pointer based controls. Playstation 3 and Move owners now get a chance to play these games too, but are they worth your time and money?
Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection is an HD port of the Wii games Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles. They are both on-rails shooters that take you through a series of the most important events from Resident Evil 0 to Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Possibly their greatest strength is as a way for gamers new to the series to catch up on the story of the series so far without having to fight through some of the earlier games design issues (Cumbersome and clunky controls, inconsistent voice acting, graphical issues ect).
For anyone who has played either of these games on the Wii, the biggest difference on the PS3 is that the HD collection looks much better, even though is still suffers from some less than perfect textures. It is clear that while the games resolution was increased, the textures are still the same ones used on the Wii. None of this is to say the graphics are bad, they just won’t be living upto the likes of Resident Evil games designed specifically for HD systems.
While these games are based on some of the slowest paced Resident Evil titles, the transition to on- rails shooter dramatically increases the speed the game moves at. Gone are the puzzles and tense survival horror sections, replaced with much more action oriented zombie blasting action.
In terms of the Move controls, they are functionally identical to the Wii Version. Point with the Move Controller to aim your gun and shoot with the press of a button, occasionally shaking the controller to interact with cutscenes. Both the pointer and motion controls for the Move feel better than they did on the Wii versions and I would say with certainty that if you are planning to play through these games, the PS3 versions are superior in pretty much every way.
While Darkside Chronicles has several graphical improvements over Umbrella Chronicles like more detailed backgrounds and on screen player characters, as well as having an improved weapon customization system, it has one major drawback. The developers decided that it would be a good idea to implement a shaky-cam feature. While is adds to the sense of tension, it directly interferes with the main aim of an on- rails shooter, which is the ability to quickly and accurately aim your gun. I wish there had been a menu option to turn off the camera effect, but unfortunately there was no option to do that.
The games also both support drop-in / drop-out local co-op. The game seems to scale in difficulty when you add a second player but the extra gun balances things out pretty well. It’s good fun and gets pretty hectic later on in the games and makes for a good evening of mindless zombie killing. It brings back the feeling of trying to fight your way through a co-op shooter in the arcades with a friend, it’s just good fun.
You can either download the collection, or each of the games separately on PSN. While the Darkside Chronicles shaky-cam does make shooting more difficult, there are enough improvements that I have a hard time knowing if it is better or worse that Umbrella chronicles. All in all the collection makes for a good way to relive the series earlier games, particularly if you have a friend to go through them with. While in some ways you can tell that this game is a Wii port, the improved motion controls, increased resolution and reduced pricepoint of the collection make it the ideal way to play through the games.