There’s a book by Dan Ariely that’s all about the irrational behavior of humans called Predictably Irrational, named as such because the whacky psychological quirks of people is at this point a matter of statistics and the scientific method and not random happenstance. For instance, the price often biases our opinions of a product before we even get to use it, or what we hear through the grapevine often influences your expectations to an unreasonable degree (helloooo video game reviews).
Take for example Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection. What you expect from a non-numbered Resident Evil title is probably low, but given the relatively high price for a PSN title at $26.99, you would expect quality. Knowing that it is a remake of two middling performing Wii on-rails shooters will probably skew your expectations towards not-so-great, but HD collections generally warrant worthwhile games.
Well allow me to throw another kink in your objective buying decisions when I say that Chronicles HD is, surprisingly enough, a fun time.
The first thing you’ll have to get over, though, is how these two games look, which is to say they both look awful. Granted, they weren’t working with much to begin with, but boy howdy have these Wii games not aged well, especially Umbrella Chronicles. The textures, in particular, don’t look so hot on an HD console such as the PS3.
The second thing you’ll notice, though it’s equally bad, is the voice acting. I mean, Rebecca and Carlos alone will make you want to light gun your own ears off.
Once you get past this visually jarring sensation of visual anachronism and aural sadism, though, you’ll find that both games are still quite fun. Granted, Umbrella Chronicles is definitely the weaker of the two overall (its story recollection meanders a bit and it lacks the more complex weapon customizations, not to mention its odd penchant for quick time events), but Darkside Chronicles‘ overuse of its shaky cam can negatively impact your ability to pop zombies in the head, so it’s kind of a tossup as to which one you’ll actually enjoy more.
But know that using the Move is key to having fun; playing with just a regular ol’ DualShock controller is pretty much one of the least fun things I’ve done all week. I recommend pairing either a DualShock or a navigation controller, though, with your Move controller as in Umbrella Chronicles you get to control the camera a bit and look around at your leisure and in Darkside Chronicles you can switch weapons more easily.
But really, none of these faults or highlights become a factor when you sit down to play some couch co-op. Sitting through a couple hours of blasting the undead away with varying levels of ordnance with a buddy is still super fun. It doesn’t quite reach the smooth yet frantic pace of The House of the Dead: Overkill, but with the Chronicles games, you get much more atmosphere and a bit more creep.
It’s also a nice way to recap the history of Resident Evil (Umbrella Chronicles sums up REs 0, 1, and 3 while Darkside Chronicles takes care of RE2 and Code Veronica) and really show off just how completely insane and nonsensical things get. It is nice, though, having some of the gaps filled in, such as the real aftermath of Wesker getting shish kebab’d and subsequently reborn.