Disaster: Day of Crisis Wii
There have been many games with weird names over the years. You’d have no idea what Gears of War was all about by just reading the name alone. The same goes for the likes of Zelda, Pikmin, God of War and many others. On the other hand, then you have games which are expertly named. Tomb Raider is probably the greatest example, as you instinctively know what it’s all about. However, never has a game been more aptly named than Disaster: Day of Crisis, as at times the game is an absolute mess that fervently lives up to its moniker, with many bad design decisions ruining enjoyment around every turn.
The selection of problems the game has is so vast it is hard to know where to start. One of the biggest niggles is that it refuses to comfortably sit in one particular genre, bouncing around from one to another in a volatile scattershot approach. At one time you’ll be playing perplexing mini-games, akin to something out of WarioWare. Next you’ll be thrown into a Time Crisis style shooter, before been asked to jump into a vehicle and drive. There is even some RPG elements, a bit of the QTEs from Shenume, a dab of Trauma Centre, and some tactical shooting in there too. Because of this, you never feel comfortable playing, and any sense of pacing the game could have had goes out the window. This is very disappointing, as if this devil may care was attitude was reined in a bit, then the appeal of the overall product would have been given a more satisfying footing.
However, what ends up more damaging than this bewildering mix of genres, is the fact the game lacks the proficiency to tackle any of them particularly well. For example, the driving sections have invisible hazards that will kill you if you drive into them, and some of your shots in the shooting sections don’t seem to register particularly well. Then there is the fact the controls are a mess in the third-person sections, and the checkpoint system is far too sparse, meaning annoying multiple replays of some sections. Because of this rather large selection of faults, the game only manages to hit the nail on the head, and provide gratifying moments at a few select times during the course of the adventure.
These high points usually come when the game revels in its B-movie inspiration, but as I said, they are still very slim and make up only small portion of the action. The rest of the time you feel like you’re taking part in a straight to DVD version of a great Michael Crichton novel that has been bastardised by a new big shot director, one who is jumping into the seat for the first time after working on a single Britney Spears music video that he thinks has made him god of everything.
In terms of presentation the game is not much to write home about either, once again being a unwelcome mix of lows and even lower lows depending on where you are and what you’re doing. Graphically, some of characters you meet look like they belong in a PSone game, and some locations are highly reminiscent of bad PS2 budget releases. Technically things are not much better, with nasty framerate problems popping up in some scenes. Along with this the whole story is just a mess that makes no sense whatsoever, and even if you just view it as a means to move the action on from one location to the next, it still makes no sense! Along with that there is a bunch of cursing in the game that seems weirdly out of place, and a selection of one-liners that not only defy logic, but could possibly affect the laws of gravity due to their inane pointlessness.
When all is said and done Disaster: Day of Crisis can be at best described as a unique experience, but also ultimately a highly flawed one. If you are somewhat miffed at the lack of ‘hardcore’ releases coming out on the Wii this year, then you will probably force yourself to like it. However, even with all the vigour in the world, it may be impossible to blindly enjoy everything on show, as even though there are a few high points throughout the disastrous adventure, there are significantly more low-par moments that are particularly damaging to the game as a whole.
At best, the fact that the game is not afraid to tackle such a broad range of genres is a good sign the developers are confident enough to branch out, and endeavour to create something truly different. However, to be successful they really need to stop being so random and haphazard, and attempt to refine their ideas into something worthwhile – particularly at a time when there are so many high quality games available elsewhere.