Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles is a game developed to one up Wii million-seller The Umbrella Chronicles with better design, better atmosphere, and the best graphics ever seen on the Wii.
"One of the things we thought we needed to achieve was a near-360 level of graphics," said Cavia's Kentaro Noguchi. "By adding in technology like HDR, global illumination, shadow/lighting and some filters, we feel that we were able to achieve some graphics that are the best you will see on the Wii."
Just as important, said Capcom's Masachika Kawata, co-producer of Resident Evil 5 and producer of Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, was the game's atmosphere, something the developers amped up by adding another character, a partner, on screen. They also tweaked the camera to make it look like it was recorded with a handheld camera, shaking as players move through the on-rails shooter.
In the rail-shooter you play as either Claire Redfield or Leon S. Kennedy, or as both in two player games. The game delivers a new story meant to fill in missing pieces of the Chronicles series.
Because of the type of game it is, players don't control the camera at all, which Kawata says allowed the developers to create the sort of horror aspect of the game that they wanted to create.
"Zombies are slow and stupid, if you can move and shoot it gives you the upper hand," he said. "Since you are on rails it's not like you can control the motion, it controls the motion as if you are on a train.
"When we thought about the different risks and rewards when you go with a shooter on rails, it sort of fits the Resident Evil franchise. (The franchise) was initially about not being in total control of your surroundings.
"There were discussions about whether to give control of the camera to the gamer temporarily or not, but in the end, after all of the discussions, we realized we want to make it a rail shooter that has an incredible amount of atmosphere."
To help add the level of realism, the game relies on a more realistic script, one filled less with one-liners and more with the sorts of things a person might say when confronted with a corpse ambling toward them.
The team also added a number of filters to the game, adding smoke effects, blood that splashes on the screen when you kill a zombie. The end result, they say, is the "number one looking best atmospheric game on the Wii."
The Wii game has a few tweaks it picked up from Resident Evil 5 as well, like the ability to assign weapons to the D-pad and switch on the fly. You can also save up your healing herbs and use them later.
In single player mode there will be times when you will have to save or be saved by your partner. In the coop mode you won't ever see your partner on the screen, so that won't ever happen.
Noguchi said that the game, if played quickly, is actually quite easy to play through, but that if a player is hoping to clear all of the zombies from the game it can be quite a challenge.
"For example because the camera is constantly moving, it presents challenges for gamers to see how many zombies they can kill before the camera moves on," he said. "We do think it's a game that will appeal to a wide variety of gamers. It could appeal to casual gamers, people who like shooters and Resident Evil fans."