The Amazon Curve: Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles

By Laura . February 14, 2010 . 4:01pm

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Welcome to the Amazon Curve. We’ve probably all seen many reviews from professional critics, so in this feature, we focus, instead, on “the word off the street,” so to speak — specifically, the opinions of everyday Japanese gamers. We’ll be looking at reviews from Amazon.jp and giving you a rough idea what common users who bought games with their own money have to say about them in the "Overview." For readers that like a little more depth, we’ll translate select reviews that stood out. Hopefully, our readers will find the cultural differences interesting.

 

This time around, we’ll take a look at Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, which received an 8/7/7/7 from Famitsu. In the West, most agree that the game’s content, though altered from the originals, was incredibly nostalgic for Resident Evil fans, and was a welcome sight with its modern-day graphics, which were considered a huge step forward from predecessor The Umbrella Chronicles. The controls also received an upgrade that made playing the game more intuitive, especially when it came to navigating menus.

 

However, despite all these improvements, there were also several commonly-cited downfalls. First, was the now infamous “shaky-cam” effect that more or less made aiming nigh impossible and made the game more difficult in a rather irritating fashion. Another was the unaccomplished AI and the classic "cheap" scares in the game, where enemies would suddenly appear from behind even though you just checked your rear moments prior. Inconsistencies in enemy attacks were another common complaint.

 

The rating for the game appears about the same between the East and West: approximately a 4 out of 5. For Amazon, the distribution of scores was as follows:

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In general, the Japanese reviews from Amazon stated the same points. The shake-camera (as they called it) was incredibly annoying, detracting from the enjoyment of the game, but the story was a huge plus, taking great advantage of nostalgia. They agreed about the graphics, as well, stating that they were some of the best they’d seen on the Wii to date. There were a mix of opinions on the change in controls, as well as on the presence of a co-op character. While the western reviews stated that the co-op partner’s AI was terrible, there were many who felt that the presence of a second character added a sense of realism. One reviewer also mentioned several small improvements made to the system: healing item usage and the locations of save points over its predecessor’s, that made the game much more convenient for him/her.

 

Interestingly, some Japanese reviewers also made mention of the fact that the shake-camera caused dizziness, which is quite a common problem in Japan.

 

Note that graph above takes into account reviews from all three versions of the Darkside Chronicles game released in Japan – the game with no special manual or the Darkside Report; the game with the Darkside Report; and the Darkside Chronicles Collector’s Package, which includes a soundtrack CD, a promotion DVD, as well as the Darkside Report. Following are three reviews to help you get a feel for how some people felt about the game.

 

Reviews

 

A one-of-a-kind charm: (4 stars) I bought the game the day it came out. Currently, I am working on finishing the Archives.

 

It cannot be helped that the graphics are behind compared to those on the PS3 and Xbox 360, but for a Wii game it is a wonderful piece of work and a step forward from the previous game, Umbrella Chronicles.

 

On top of RE2 and [Code] Veronica, the game also includes an original scenario that takes place 2 years before RE4.

 

In Umbrella Chronicles, there were 4 scenarios, and each one had 3 main chapters, but this time, Darkside Chronicles has 3 scenarios, although there are more chapters for each one. For that reason, the stories of RE2 and Veronica were abridged greatly, but they weren’t overly simplified like in its predecessor, so I feel it was enjoyable. The only problem was that the secret chapter was only a tiny thing.

 

The two-person setup itself was in Umbrella Chronicles as well, but this time, your partner appears more often on the screen while taking part in battles, and there are also conversation scenes, so even though there’s only single-player, it feels like you’re playing co-op.

 

One feature was the adoption of a shake-camera, which was a success if you think about it from the point of view of running and turning, but it can easily give some people a headache, and in a game where you aim for headshots and destroy objects, it may have been a bit overdone, quite honestly.

 

Also, the controls for changing weapons were those in RE5, so changing became easier, but there is now no way to control the camera. Then, when you are knocked down by charging zombies and get up, sometimes the zombies are out of the frame or you can only see their arms or half of their bodies, so are damaged pointlessly without being able to kill them.

 

For those reasons -– the overdone shake-camera and the zombies out of the frame -– I took away one star.

 

As a self-proclaimed Resident Evil old-timer , I can’t deny that I was hoping for a remake of one of the games on the older systems, so I am happy to experience RE in a different way, even if it is as a railshooter.

 

There’s the system behind Resident Evil, true, but more importantly, I think that the demon-like virus and the intricate feelings of the people who face this danger is a one-of-a-kind charm, so in that sense, this, combined with the feeling of being there with the characters –- which is so strong in this game –- makes the game enjoyable, in my opinion.

 

This is a game where even those new to the series can enjoy the world of RE (even more so if you gather the Archives available in-game), and for those who don’t get dizzy easily, I think it’s something you’d want if you are interested in RE, in combination with the previous game.

 

For series’ fans, it’s…? But for 4 fans, *thumbs up*: (3 stars) The overall atmosphere for the game was very good, fitting for a Resident Evil series game.

 

But if you ask whether it, as a game, is like the other RE games… The game is of the rail-shooter genre, so you’ll be using the handgun a lot. And, you can customize the weapons, so if you customize the handgun, you can go pretty far even if you don’t aim for headshots. This way, advancing in the game becomes “firing rapidly with the handgun,” more or less, and even when you’re pushed back when you use a handgun, you can just switch to another weapon –- a gameplay very unlike in the RE series.

 

This may have been done to accommodate new players, but I would’ve liked it if they had thought more about what to do for players who didn’t modify the handgun. If you couldn’t clear a level, you could just spend time playing the same stage several times and then spend the money you just gained on customizing the weapons. That’s the overall direction the game seems to be heading.

 

Still, there’s a great point going for it: the cutting story behind why Krauser, who appears in 4, became like he did. Krauser was always worried over something, and he was amazingly human, making you feel such an affinity towards him.

 

This game may be one more towards RE4 than for Resident Evil fans in general.

 

Kind of like a fandisk? (4 stars) At any rate, fans will enjoy this. I’ll give it that. To those who have not completely experienced the series, it may bring down the Resident Evil image.

 

Like the previous work, the game is focused on telling what the main series couldn’t, but the content itself is somewhat (very?) tampered with, so if you hadn’t enjoyed the original games, the story is only half as interesting and you wouldn’t understand what’s going on in half the lines. The conversation between the two characters going forward carries only half as much weight as before, too.

 

The new addition takes place in South America, and this content has its pros and cons. Personally, there were times when I thought, “Can this even be connected to 4?”

 

The graphics are definitely not bad, but, maybe because this is after I’ve seen the live-action film-like quality in 5, the messy parts stood out to me. The addition of the shake-camera made the view very unstable, so those who don’t deal well with 3D may get dizzy. Actually, I also got a bit dizzy after playing it for one hour (haha) but it’s not really a problem once you get used to it.

 

The difficulty has dropped somewhat, so if you choose to play above Normal from the start (if you don’t care about your rank), you could probably go all the way through. Even though that’s the case, it’s harder to get headshots than in the previous game (probably because the view is really unstable), so it might actually be harder for people aiming for a high rank. From the point that this is a first-person perspective game, there is a lot of conversation with your partner. There were fewer scenes than in the previous game where you’re facing 1 vs. a whole bunch of enemies (here, at most there were only 4 zombies at a time???), and at a certain point in time, I even thought “Is this really a rail-shooter?” since the sense of an adventure-genre game was so strong.

 

Personally, it was really fun hearing the nostalgic music and seeing the old backgrounds in 2 and Veronica.

 

As for the collector’s version…

 

The CD is all right. I only played it through in the background, but it wasn’t bad. I heard the Manuela a Cappella song, so I was happy… The DVD is a collection of the special promotional videos…so it wasn’t anything new. The reversible jacket was honestly lacking (It’s a picture of Leon and Krauser in black and white), so I think it’s best if you don’t really expect anything great from the special Darkside Reports (sweatdrop). In conclusion, unless you’re a hardcore fan, buying the regular version is plenty enough.


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  • Aoshi00

    In other words, fans love the RE universe, but since they didn’t do a RE1/2/3 remake w/ the control of RE4, they would just to have to live w/ an on-rail one :(… I didn’t finish the first game, bought the 2nd one but haven’t opened it yet. Is it just my copy or it has a printing error missing the Wii logo on the side? (looks like a bootleg…) For the most part I just like the new CG cutscenes. Funny you mention the shaky cam, I just watched the movie “The Gamer” yesterday, you know the one w/ Gerard Butler being controlled in a real-life shooter using deathrow imates, while I like the Surrogates-like premise (it’s like Sony’s Home lol), the shakiness + static were really hard to bear, I think I would throw up if I were to see that in the theater. Horrible movie…

    Just a suggestion, I think it would be more fitting to do this for FFXIII..?

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      We will, the week of the game’s release in the U.S. :)

      DSC came in a little late, but we’ll be doing it close to games’ North American releases going forward. I think you’ll like the next one.

    • http://twitter.com/matty_125 matty

      Oh, wow, you’re right. My copy doesn’t have a Wii logo on the side, either.

      As for the game, I didn’t mind it. It was enjoyable, or rather can be, but there were a couple things that just wasn’t all there. Three steps forward, one big step back, you know.

      Interesting feature. There were a few games I looked up on Amazon.jp. One being Wizardry: The Wedge of Life since it was a exclusive release. The majority of the reviewers there didn’t seem to like it! Famitsu’s score was overall favorable, if I heard right.

    • StealthKnight

      oddly enough they could make a load more money doing remakes with re4 controls then rail shooters, it may be more work but their would be more reward then the rail shooters.

  • johnsmith99

    Interesting read. I agree, one on FF13 could also be interesting.

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