Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection|
When it comes to the genre of gaming that critics like to call “Survival-Horror,” no name is more recognizable in the console gaming industry than Resident Evil. Building on the thriller gameplay of classic gaming franchises like Alone in the Dark and Clock Tower, and combining in the classic Romeroesqe envisioning of the plodding, brain-hungry zombies, Capcom’s Resident Evil introduced console gamers to all-new world of self-preservation, resource management, and heart-pounding fear.
Arcade gamers, on the other hand, have short attention spans (and a limited supply of quarters), which does not jive with an hours-long console adventure. Instead, they have spent the past decade and a half eradicating zombies in the highly popular “light-gun shooter” (a genre named after the light-sensing pistol peripherals attached to the machines) series House of the Dead.
Resident Evil Chronicles HD combines the two gameplay experiences in a single package – a Light-Gun shooter set in the Resident Evil universe that in two parts covers the events of the first three Resident Evil releases. Add a touch of visual flair in the form of an HD update and cap it off with support for the PlayStation Move motion controls and we have one of the most enjoyable and exciting Light-Gun shooters on the PlayStation 3. Even if Chronicles simply the combined port of two previously released Wii titles (2007’s The Umbrella Chronicles and 2009’s The Darkside Chronicles).
As with any Light-Gun shooter, the storyline take a back seat to the frantically immersive action, but Chronicles does deliver a bit of fan service delivering a series of events running parallel to the events of the Resident Evil series – often times from a different point of view. Staring with the prequel Resident Evil 0, and working through Resident Evil Nemesis and even bits of Code: Veronica, the gameplay jumps around a bit; retelling the storylines of Leon Kennedy, Jack Krauser, Rebecca Chambers, and even Wesker in missions that will take gamers in and around the familiar Raccoon City, and as far away as South America.
The Light-Gun style gameplay is simple: point and shoot. It can be performed with either a standard controller or through the PlayStation Move motion controller. Obviously, the move controller is the more intuitive interface for a Light-Gun game, but like the Wii controller that came before it, the awkward hand positioning gets a bit tiring at times and will have gamers hunting for either the Sony Sharp Shooter or one of the many pistol-shaped controller peripherals to aid in a more natural positioning.
Like House of the Dead, Chronicles is a completely on-rails shooter – which for those who don’t know means that the game automatically controls nearly all of the movement with the gamer afforded a limited amount of panning within each given field of view. This means that the gamer still uses the left analog stick for some of the motions, so either the Move Navigation controller or a standard controller is still necessary. As many of you know, pairing the two wireless Move components is not as straightforward as it is with the hard-wired Wii remote and nunchuk, which can result in some undue frustration.
While the games purport HD upgrades, they are far from the visual quality we have come to expect from our HD machines, and both titles end up looking exactly like what they are; slightly updated versions of well-aged Wii games. Still, through the muddy textures and pixelated details there are some bright points – mostly during the events of the Darkside Chronicles, showing just how much advancement had been made between the games’ original releases in 2007 and 2009.
No surprise for a Light-Gun game, both games can easily be finished over the course of a lazy weekend. There are a few goodies to be had by returning for a second or third go, but other than a few unlockable missions the gameplay will be pretty much identical as the first time – so the replay factor is pretty slim. Thankfully the two player arcade-style co-op play is perfect for party settings giving gamers a reason to keep the downloadable files on their console long after the game has been milked of all of its rewards.
In closing, while the Light-Gun style of gameplay not be for everyone, gamers would be hard pressed to find a better on rails shooter on the PlayStation 3 than Resident Evil Chronicles HD. Fans of the survival horror series will love the fan service that Capcom has cooked into the storytelling, and the zombie blasting is infinitely more effective and enjoyable than in a traditional Resident Evil game. The price tag might be a bit steep at $30, but it is well worth the price of admission. However, for those fans who might want to save a few bucks – you can now download the two titles independently. In this case, I would strongly suggest the Darkside Chronicles, as it delivers a much more enjoyable experience.