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PSN Review – Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection

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The Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection is a different look at the original events of the Resident Evil saga, not just a remake of the original Resident Evil series. However, it is a remake of two Wii-only games released in recent years: 

These two titles have been polished up with HD graphics for the PlayStation (no need for this on the Wii) and are being sold by Sony as a two-game bundle on the PlayStation Network for $26.99. The official PSN blog states that these titles will be available for sale individually at some point in the future, but are currently available only as a bundle. 

Nintendo made industry-changing innovations with the Wii’s motion-sensing controllers. To catch up and extend the product cycle of their current generation consoles, both Microsoft and Sony followed suit with the Kinect and Move controllers, respectively. Capcom capitalized on the advanced controls for The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles on the Wii console, and the same gameplay has been ported over to the PS3 renditions.

The Move is not required to play Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection, but it is recommended. The device performs very well in terms of precision, and every miniscule movement is rendered finely through to the screen, especially when used in tandem with the standard controller.

Though the technology may be revolutionary, it’s disappointing that its implementation (in these games, at least) is so backward. Pointing a controller at a screen and shooting has been present in arcade machines–and even home video game consoles–for decades. Modern controllers are just a technologically complex method of accomplishing the same type of gameplay.

More than just the controls, the “rail shooter” genre is equally antiquated. In this type of game, the player has no control over the movement of the characters. The game moves the characters through the levels at a predetermined pace. In The Umbrella Chronicles, players can at least look around a little bit as they are being moved along their “rails,” but in The Darkside Chronicles even this freedom of movement has been restricted. You can only see what you are allowed to see for the amount of time in which you are allowed to see it.

Though the perspective is technically first-person, this type of gameplay should not be confused with the “first-person shooter” genre. If you’re looking for the next Call of Duty or Battlefield, you won’t find it in Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection.

It is as if Capcom is trying to establish a sense of nostalgia in fans of the early Resident Evil series. With outdated controls and an annoyingly constraining genre, young gamers or players new to the series won’t be entertained in today’s gaming climate.

Though it’s called the HD Collection, the graphics are disappointing. The cut-scenes, especially in Darkside, are fair, but the in-game visuals are also more reminiscent of a ’90s game than one from 2012. It’s plausible that these aspects of the game were intentional for targeting die hard fans of the original series, but another explanation is also possible. With Resident Evil 6‘s October release date fast approaching, the poor quality in this HD Collection seems suspiciously like an dispassionate attempt to rehash the Chronicles to build hype for 6 with minimal effort. 

Unless you are obsessed with the Resident Evil saga, don’t waste your time with Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection. Just wait a few months for Resident Evil 6. Or if you want to kill some zombies right now, check out The Walking Dead.

Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Language. This game is available exclusively on the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 3.

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