Should it be such a shocker that some of the Wii’s more mature shooter titles are converting over to the PlayStation 3? Nah, not really. The PlayStation Move works in a very similar manner to the Wii remote, and the processing power of the PS3 allows the developers to tell their story with a little higher definition than they could on Nintendo’s machine. Plus, better audience outreach. Hey, it’s true. Look at how much better House of the Dead: Overkill and Dead Space: Extraction have fared since arriving on the PS3.
Joining them are Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, bundled together as Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection. As of this point, the games are only sold as a bundle for around $27, though later this month, you’ll be able to snag them for around $17 apiece.
Rather than taking the usual third-person Resident Evil route, both of the Chronicles games are on-rails shooters, similar to House of the Dead, where you shoot Umbrella’s worst freaks – and even a few unnatural creations outside of their reach – while you get to the bottom of your investigation. The game reintroduces several favorites from the series’ past, including Jill Valentine, Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, in separate storylines that somehow tie together with more popular games in the canon.
Being Resident Evil, you can expect plenty of corny dialogue in both games. Claire, in particular, sounds like a whiny mess rather than a gun-toting heroine, and at numerous points during Umbrella Chronicles, the scripting gets so bad than you have to really question how much you can trust your partner.
But at least the graphics have gone through an overall. Umbrella and Darkside have never looked better, with higher resolution, better visual effects and nastier looking creatures that far outshine the Wii versions. There are times slight glitches pop up, and some enemies are a little too fast for your on-screen cursor reaction (resulting in health loss), but overall, Capcom has treated these games with just the right amount of polish. It’s just too bad that not all the headshots leave a bloody explosive effect, as zombies occasionally collapse uneventfully after being hit. At least the scoreboard counts it as a hit.
As for gameplay, the games have translated pretty well to the PlayStation Move. On-screen cursor movement is breezy and quite accurate, and you can recalibrate with ease should something feel “off”. Some of the motions you need to perform during boss battles can be tricky, however. For instance, with the first stage in Umbrella, involving a giant mutant crab, the button prompts didn’t always read too properly, resulting in damage taken. Over the course of the battle, we eventually got used to the system, but Capcom should’ve made it slightly more forgiving, or at least given us the option to shoot a certain spot to avoid the attack.
Darkside certainly fares better than Umbrella when it comes to accuracy in shooting, though both games have a fairly convenient system when weapon selection is involved. And you’ll find ample supply of ammunition throughout each game, so you’ll always have the opportunity to do damage with grenades, sub-machine guns and shotguns. It’s also nice to see Capcom provide multiple control types, including two Move controllers, a Navigation controller or, for those compelled to try it, Dual Shock support.
Though Resident Evil: Chronicles HD doesn’t have the greatest replay value in the world (aside from higher difficulty settings, hidden Umbrella trophies and online leaderboards), it’s a fairly substantial value for under $30, compared to the $50 retail versions over on the Wii. And you get a better value here with the improved visuals and gameplay options. If you’ve already plowed through Sega’s House of the Dead games and need something to fill your PlayStation Move fix, these stories should fit the bill.
Even if Claire won’t shut the hell up.