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Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection PS3 Review

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Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection

Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection

Image © Capcom
To tide zombie lovers over from the release of "Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City" to "Resident Evil 6," Capcom has remastered and released their two Nintendo Wii rail shooters, "Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles" and "Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles," on the PlayStation Network for PS3 players who are just itching to practice their headshot with the PlayStation Move. The games are available separately or under the banner of "Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection" and have been fully HD upgraded and given trophy support. Both games are just as flawed as they were on the Wii but they have moments of visceral excitement that could work for hardcore fans of the franchise. Everyone else should wait till Fall when "Resident Evil 6" seems likely to dominate the zombie genre.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
  • Genre: Rail Shooter
  • Pros: PlayStation Move Action For Adults, Depth of a Hit Franchise
  • Cons: Camera Issues, Targeting Sensitivity, Repetitive Gameplay

The PlayStation 3 is not known as a machine for rail games (the term for games in which you have little control beyond what you're shooting at with the Move, a common sight in video arcades around the world in hits like "House of the Dead" and "Time Crisis.") The fact is that the PlayStation Move, much like the Wii-mote, is primarily a gaming device for children. It works best for family games (and the must-owns in that genre are listed here) and so shooting games have become second tier. The best one is the title that takes itself least seriously, the gore-tastic "House of the Dead: Overkill -- Extended Cut" (although "Dead Space: Extraction," which is available on the PSN is a fun second place for fans of EA's amazing franchise). Even that game has some consistency and camera issues, the common plagues of the rail shooter that eventually make "Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection" a more frustrating experience than a fun one.

Gameplay

Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection

Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection

Image © Capcom

Aim and fire. It's that simple. Sometimes you'll have to aim at items to grab them (weapons, health pick-ups, collectibles, etc.) but the majority of the experience in "Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection" is about your hand-eye coordination when it comes to pointing the Move at a zombie's head. Both games are structured very similarly in that they can be played one or two-player and are divided into chapters at the end of which you will be graded based on completion time, accuracy, etc. There are the occasional options as to which way to go, but you'll be riding the rail forward through most of the experience. It's a natural fit for rail games, pulling you toward that room full of zombies, not allowing you a chance to run in the other direction.

Both games offer fans of the "Resident Evil" series a chance to know more details about stories that were already told in the hit franchise. They revisit past plots and story points often from different angles or character viewpoints. "The Umbrella Chronicles" includes eight playable characters, including iconic ones like Jill Valentine, Rebecca Chambers, and Chris Redfield. "The Darkside Chronicles" allows players to step back into the bloody shoes of Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield as they try to get out of Raccoon City. Classic "RE" enemies, bosses, and characters resurface in both games along with all-new creations designed to haunt your nightmares.

Rail games live and die based on two things -- trigger responsiveness and camera control. We don't want to feel like we're being swung around with little rhyme or reason and we want to feel like the timing of shooting isn't off. "Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection" falters in both departments too often to be forgivable. There are too many times where the graphics don't seem to be able to catch up with the player. For example, an enemy, like a zombie, often needs to get to a certain point in the frame for you to be able to shoot him. Don't bother trying while he's getting up because the game won't recognize it. That's just silly. And the camera often doesn't center itself the way you'd like or that would be logical to shoot the imposing brain-eater.

Graphics & Sound

Having played both games on the Wii, I was very impressed with their HD polish. Characters are well-defined even if the backgrounds are a bit uninspired (something that clearly can't be improved upon too much from the game's SD origins). The sound is what one would expect from a game like this although the lackluster voice work stands out a bit more on the PS3 than it did on the Wii.

Overall

Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection

Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection

Image © Capcom
I'm a big rail shooter fan and a big "Resident Evil" junkie and even I'm hesitant to recommend "Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection." Perhaps it's because I'm TOO close to the series and genre and so I know how these games could have and should have been stronger artistically that I can't just dismiss them as what they are -- junk food until we get a full meal this Fall.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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