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The much-anticipated sequel to Umbrella Chronicles, Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles is a rail shooter for the Wii, based on the Resident Evil franchise. It covers the events of Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil: Code Veronica and a meandering preamble to Resident Evil 5.
Graphically, the game is pretty superb. In a bold move for a Wii game, it utilizes the Havok 2.0 Physics Engine, and looks polished and stylish, though lighting could have been far more ambient. Horror aspects are incredibly sparse, but this could just be blamed on the way the franchise has progressed.
Gameplay could have been much better. This time, the player, or players, share a pool of ammunition and guns, and the game can be paused at any time to switch this stuff around. This, whilst bringing in some new micromanagement aspects, completely shatters the atmosphere of the game.
In another step backward, Darkside Chronicles' environments are much, much less destructible than Umbrella Chronicles', and you find yourself constantly trying to shoot things that look like they should smash but don't, which is irritating and leaves you very aware that you're playing a game, as do the repetitive and recycled sound effects.
There are very few new enemies, and boss levels are incredibly frustrating, with their health-bars showing themselves to be very confusing. You have to shoot a boss sufficiently that it goes into its next mode of attack, form, or frame of animation before you can take the health down anymore. This is repetitive and really quite innane.
Voice acting is good, story is good, and the new, much more in-depth weapons customization menu is also innovative and refreshing, but the absolute worst thing about this game is the god damn shakycam. They've changed the camera movement from that of Umbrella Chronicles so that now it moves so fast that you haven't the time to aim at anything, you find yourself just firing almost randomly at the screen when taking on hordes of zombies, and headshots are a total fluke. This, for me, makes the difference from a relatively impressive, though uninspired game, to a barely passable one.
Unlockables in this game are, unlike Umbrella Chronicles, a complete waste of time. You find yourself unlocking costumes and enemy skins and other last-minute shash. Like its superior predecessor, you have to pick up archives throughout, mostly text files. In Umbrella Chronicles these were well-written and expositional, but in Darkside they're weak as hell. They reveal nothing whatsoever and have bad prose, but perhaps the most unforgiveable aspect of the unlockables is the fact that there are dozens and dozens of grammatical and syntactical errors throughout, and the spelling is atrocious. The menus are confusing too, and the results system is also a step back, despite now being connected to Wi-Fi.
The game is best played with a light gun peripheral. I always recommend the HOTD Hand-Cannon or Nyko Perfect Shot, but I wouldn't really recommend this game. It has poor longevity, poor gameplay, and poor design. Unless you're a massive Resident Evil and Rail-Shooter fan like myself, this is something to avoid.