Was Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles too slow for you? Was it too easy at times, given how much time you had to set up headshots? And were you disappointed when, after shooting a limb or a head, that the zombie reacted to it like you had just missed completely? Or maybe you loved it, and can’t wait for the next entry in the series. Regardless of which side of that fence you’re on, you will be pleased with how the sequel, Darkside Chronicles, is turning out.
The most significant change is how much of a cinematic feel Capcom wanted to go for with this sequel, which will cover the events of Resident Evil 2 as well as Code Veronica. Whereas Umbrella Chronicles was on rails and moved slowly through each level, Darkside Chronicles is a faster-paced, more horrifying experience. The camera has a more realistic “shaky” feel and look to it, so rather than moving through the game slowly in a defined manner, you will notice that things are more frantic, with more room for surprises. You also feel like you have less control of the situation, since things happen so quickly–it looks like it will do a better job of being a scary game than the previous title in the series.
The shared health bar is gone when you play co-op, but items are shared and now able to be stored later. If player one picks up a shotgun, but player two wanted it, you can now go to a pause menu and swap the guns, so there is no more fighting over the player with quicker reflexes being the item hog.
Besides the move to shaky cam and the use of improved graphics, one other thing you may notice while playing Darkside Chronicles is that zombies react to where you shoot them. You can slow them down, and the reaction to it will not just come off as somewhat generic like it did in the first. This is good for people that want to set up some headshots–which by the way, are still done with that small area on the zombie’s head, but now you will see their heads react to headshots in a gory yet satisfying way.
From a gameplay standpoint, one of the changes that bears mentioning is how grenades are used. There are no more complicated motions or buttons to hold before you do a motion anymore, which should keep you from accidentally throwing grenades when you don’t want to or allow you to toss them when you do. You just select them as an item using the D-pad–which is how you pick your equipped weapons now–and then use it as you would any other weapon. It’s intuitive, and chances are good I won’t curse the grenade controls while playing this time around.
Though I didn’t play long enough to get a feel for this, the title will also support adjustable difficulty. The game bases the difficulty on your own skill, so as you play, it will adjust things accordingly. For those of you looking for a challenge, this could be a serious bright spot, given the game is going to actively attempt to kill you. I’m looking forward to that, given my love for on-rails shooters.
Darkside Chronicles is more promising than Umbrella Chronicles, given these changes to the series. Hopefully the full product is as fun as the demo, because while the original was fun, it showed a lot of room for improvement. From what I’m seeing, Darkside Chronicles is doing its best to fill up that space. It’s set for a release in winter 2009 as of now, but we will give you more details as we get them from Capcom.