The Resident Evil Chronicles HD collection is a pair of downloadable versions of the Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles that were released for the Wii in 2007; they’ve been repackaged, given an HD upgrade and released as a Playstation 3 exclusive for use with either a controller or the Playstation Move.
Feel free to refer back to the old Wii reviews for all the in-depth analysis and hard core examinations of the games’ respective places in the pantheons of either Wii titles or Resident Evil titles, because I’m not about to rehash all that for you here five years after the fact.
Today, all anyone really wants to know is whether or not they’re still playable after all these years, and do they look like ass - because they’re five-year-old Wii games given an “HD” upgrade, that may or may not actually make the game look like it belongs on a console like the PS3. Oh, and people probably still want to know whether it’s fun to play.
Unfortunately, it’s not that much fun to play. I’ll admit that it’s my own personal bias against light gun games, but it doesn’t change the fact that on-rails shooters are generally seen as unforgivable gaming gaffes when they appear in other places - and for good reason: they’re boring as dirt. Over the course of the two games, you’ll play from the point of view of several classic Resident Evil characters and relive several classic Resident Evil scenarios all from the perspective of a dog being dragged around on a leash and pointed at enemies to attack. The only difference is that you’ll be using the standard Resident Evil array of guns and explosives instead of barks, snarls, and bared teeth.
It couldn’t be any simpler to play. You simply point and shoot. You can choose where you aim (and fight the aim assist in the process), going for head shots that give you bonus points, and what weapon to use, but that’s it. It was the least interactive gaming experience of my life. You sit there and hit the fire button a million times and that’s all you ever do. You have no control over where you move or look, so I never could figure out what the reason for the game’s existence is. Why did someone expect people to want to play it?
Light gun games belong in arcades where the atmosphere lends itself to standing in one place and pointing a plastic toy at targets and pulling a trigger or pressing a button over and over again for points. You do that for five minutes, then leave when your movie starts seating or your little brother wants to go see the guy dressed up as a giant cartoon character. The last place light gun games need to exist is in your living room where you want to sit down and dive into something complex and meaty - something that offers more gameplay than “hit the fire button until you fall asleep.”
The games aren’t helped by the fact that if you don’t have a PS Move, you probably shouldn’t even bother with them since they control very poorly with a controller. The Darkside Chronicles, for example, doesn’t allow you to invert the X/Y axis. For me, that makes any game utterly unplayable. The Umbrella Chronicles at least gives you the option; however, due to some glitch or maybe the fact that the game was just flat out broken, it never applied the change beyond the very first time I played it - no matter how many times I fiddled with the option. So if you don’t have a PS Move and you can’t play games without inverting the X/Y axis first, don’t bother with the Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection; you’d have more luck operating an interstellar battleship with instructions written in an obscure alien dialect.
So yeah, at its heart, I found the Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection to be a rather bland experience…wait…I need to stop lying to myself and my readers. The Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection was more than “rather bland.” It was the most boring game I’ve ever had the misfortune to play. It was like watching grass dry, except you can get a tan while you watch grass dry. I admit that it’s just my own bias against light-gun games, but those are my honest feelings. What goes through the mind of someone that thinks a game where the only gameplay action you can take is hitting one of two buttons while being led around by the nose makes for a game people need to play, I’ll never know. I’d rather wash my own face with rotten eggs - but that’s just me.
The games did have one saving grace, however, and that is that it supported local co-op. That meant I could play it with my 7-year-old who, upon finding out it did co-op, looked like Santa Clause had materialized out of nowhere for his own personal Christmas-in-July celebration. The game is infinitely more fun with a second shooter simply because it makes the experience that much less dull. It’s too bad that finding a 7-year-old able to pass the game’s Draconian quick-time events will turn out to be such a challenge (seriously, they’re the worst QTE’s ever - full of tiny “pass” windows and unclear direction).