Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Review

Capcom turns to the Darkside as two more Resident Evils get the York Notes treatment.

By Rupert Higham, November 30, 2009

The rebuild of the interface has resulted in a far more accessible game, allowing you to pause the action and administer herbs and spray to individual characters, each with their own energy bars – changes that really benefit the multiplayer too. That staple of zombie games – the headshot – is still frustratingly difficult to land due to the bizarrely exacting hit box that demands that you scalp the top of the head if you want to see the satisfying pop of brains onto pavement.

 You will need to acquire such skills to if you intend to crank up the score multiplier and climb your way up the online score boards. Capcom promised a dynamic difficulty level that responded to the player’s abilities, and while that’s difficult to quantify, it does appear to be a fairer game, with regular zombies not being quite the bullet-sponges they were in the original game. The greatest threat posed to the player comes not from marauding hordes of undead mutants, but from a shaky hand-held camera that seems to be operated by amputee amphetamine-addict on roller-skates. The effect is often visually thrilling, but can really intrude on gameplay and may cause headaches.


Nosferatu is more Voldo than Dracula, and falls into that video game boss trap of wearing his heart on the outside of his body.


As with the first game, the quality varies from chapter to chapter. The Resident Evil 2 chapter is clearly the star of the show, as we get a whistle-stop tour of the proceedings that occurred in Raccoon City from beginning to end. Of the entire series, RE2’s unforgettable settings and spectacular bosses really translate well to the format and are a joy to revisit. Code: Veronica doesn’t fare so well, missing many of the game’s most exciting encounters and gets no way near the comprehensive recap that RE2 receives.

Operation Javier bookends each recap chapter as Leon teams up with RE4’s knife-wielding turncoat, Krauser. Set initially in a sunny South American location not too dissimilar to RE5, Operation Javier doesn’t do itself any favours by trying to ape the visuals of a super-powered hi-def showcase, but at least has originality on its side as it uncovers story elements that will be of interest to fans if nothing else.


If Capcom were going to selectively forget any of Code: Veronica's elements, Steve Burnside should have been it. Instead he get's an even bigger role.

Overlooking those unflattering comparisons, Darkside Chronicles is undoubtedly one of the best looking games we have seen on the Wii. Texture quality is surprisingly high throughout and environments really come to life with an impressive amount of detail, striking weather effects and detailed environments. The majority of background items can be interacted with (if shooting is your preferred course of interaction I guess) and is indeed encouraged by ammo, health and bonuses items hidden throughout, though there are some laughably stubborn examples that shatter the illusion – keep an eye out for the bullet proof tea set in the Ashford house.

Darkside Chronicles is a vast improvement on its predecessor and offers the dedicated RE follower an archive of unlockable memories, reading materials and fan service in an especially well-presented package. It can not escape the fact however that unlike the survival horror series, the Chronicles series hasn’t managed to jump from “B” movie to “AAA” game. Darkside Chronicles comprehensively outguns its own prequel and House of the Dead Overkill, but it really doesn’t manage to surpass the gunplay of Ghost Squad or the psychological thrills of Dead Space Extraction. If Capcom and Cavia can continue to improve the formula, a third Chronicles games could realise that potential. Then their only problem then would be finding decent Resident Evil games to recollect.

7 out of 10

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One Response to “Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Review”

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