Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection PS3
The Wii is a console that most big companies would simply ignore when releasing a major entry in a key franchise. Companies didn’t trust that the games on the system would sell, and instead opt to put spin-offs on the system to avoid losing mass amounts of money. Capcom did this with Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, both games that appeared on the Wii system as lightgun games and not survival horror that the series is especially known for. That’s not to say the games weren’t good; they were really fun, and now Capcom is seeing the HD craze as a way to bring these games to the PlayStation 3 system with Move support. You remember that glowing ball device, right? The one you only use when you want to play golf or lightgun games? Hey, that sounds like the Wii remote.
Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection contains both The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles, although you do have the option to buy them separately if you so wish. The review is based on the pack that contains both games, as they are very similar when breaking them down. The Umbrella Chronicles story is based around Resident Evil 0, Resident Evil and Resident Evil 3, with a bonus scenario and special character sections thrown in for new content. Darkside fills in the missing gaps and takes you through Leon and Claire’s journey in Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica with another bonus involving Krauser, the knife wielding mercenary from Resident Evil 4. Fans will get a kick out of the fan service and a nostalgia trip is assured. For newcomers who might not have played the older games, this offers a way to understand the stories without having to go back and experience the older titles.
There isn’t many differences between the Wii version and this new PS3 release. Included is Move support, trophies, leaderboards (in Umbrella’s case) and some slight tweaks to some of the textures. The games themselves look sharper and cleaner due to the higher resolution, but no additional content has been added in any way or form. The Move controller makes playing the games the same as on the Wii. If you don’t have a Move controller, you’re free to play with the PS3’s wireless controller, although playing with the Move is more fun as it feels like the natural way to play lightgun games.
The Umbrella Chronicles was the first of these two titles to be released on the Wii. There is one difference between this and The Darkside Chronicles. In The Umbrella Chronicles, you have the ability to move the camera slight around the centred viewpoint to get a wider view of the environment. The Move navigational add-on or a PS3 control pad is required to be able to do this. Hidden off centre – mostly in breakable objects like creates, lights, etc. – are weapons, ammo and secret documents that tell you details about characters and background stories featured throughout the Resident Evil franchise. Secrets are hidden all over the place and you need a keen eye to be able to spot them all.
Apart from that slight variance, both games follow the same structure – pick a level and blast zombies and other virus infected monstrosities. Both games can be played by simply blasting everything, but skillful players are rewarded for critical shots that instantly kill zombies – adding bonus points on the end of level reward screen. Weapons include the standard pistol that comes with unlimited ammo, but is rather weak compared to some of the beefier weapons, such as the shotgun, assault rifle and the mighty rocket launcher. Ammo for these weapons is limited and can be picked up during a stage. Grenades are a big help to clear a room if you find yourself swamped. Knives play a smaller part. This shiny metal stabbing device is used to knock spiders from the screen or deflect zombie puke that happens to be coming straight towards the camera. All the guns but the pistols can be upgraded and require you to play the game multiple times to be able to upgrade everything. The best way to do this is start on easy and work your way up the difficulties as each setting has its own grading system.
For me personally, I preferred The Darkside Chronicles over The Umbrella Chronicles. The additional new stories, advancements made in gameplay (better upgrade system and multiplayer implementation) and the look of the title, with character models on show and good animations, make for a better overall gaming experience, even if the shaky camera effect (trying to do the amateur Blair Witch/Cloverfield camera effect introduced motion sickness for a few gamers) did get a little bit out of hand at times, making it harder to aim. The graphics for the Wii version of The Darkside Chronicles looked brilliant and the HD resolution shows the magic that Capcom was doing on the Wii.
Packaged together for a pocket friendly £21.99 are two games with a decent amount of playtime. The two chronicles games aren’t lightgun games that can be blasted through in an hour or two. I expect that gamers will get around eight hours in each title, probably more, and much more if you want to beat the games on all difficulties and find every hidden secret.
Multiple console owners who have already played this on the Wii won’t have to worry about missing anything; this release is strictly aimed for people or fans of the series that haven’t played them. Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection doesn’t turn the genre on its head, and it certainly isn’t a must have, but if you’re looking for some lightgun fun, by yourself or with a friend,Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection is a recommended investment for a few afternoons of zombie blasting fun.