The gaming industry, in particular Capcom, have found a new cash vein to tap with HD remakes, giving older titles a 1080P spit shine (and the price tag that comes with it) as a way to both expose new gamers to classic titles and extract a little nostalgia cash from fans.
Capcom, as mentioned in the last sentence, has easily led the charge in this movement, upconverting everything from Devil May Cry to Street Fighter II to high definition, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down, with upcoming rereleases like Okami and the recent release of Resident Evil Chronicles HD. The Chronicles series, originally a pair of Wii-exclusive titles, blew the head off of RE’s survival-horror trappings, replacing it with House of the Dead-style shooter on rails. While certainly a huge departure from the series at large—even more so than the post RE4 titles—they were nevertheless entertaining slices of gory gunplay that gave fans a new perspective on the series’ history.
With the clown-nosed Playstation Move, Capcom has seen fit to port these two titles to the Playstation 3, upping the resolution to fall in line with the HD output of the console. The games themselves are about as direct of ports as you can get, warts and all, with only the enhanced resolution and the different heft of the Move reminding you that you aren’t booting up your Wii.
Unfortunately, loading up the first game, The Umbrella Chronicles, is not quite the polished revelation that graphics whores would be hoping for. The CG cutscenes have received virtually no extra care, looking almost like a Blu-Ray mastered off of a VHS dub: murky, overcompressed, and pixelated. The game proper fares a little better, with the models definitely looking crisper, even if the textures that fill them are still as low-resolution as the Wii counterpart. It makes sense for the Wii and its limited horsepower to cut some corners in the graphics department, but the Playstation’s processor is certainly not being utilized. The direct nature of the port becomes even more apparent with the aiming, which feels just as oddly floaty as the Wii version was, making ammo-saving headshots a frustrating affair.
Darkside Chronicles, the second of the pair, turns out much better, with the open vistas of its Resident Evil 4/5 timeline making for some impressively detailed visuals. There’s also some more fresh meat on this reanimated corpse, with some new story segments lifting Darkside over Umbrella’s 80’s-sitcom retrospective format. Better yet, the controls have been tightened up considerably over the predecessor, with headshots spraying gray matter acorss the screen in a satisfying series of skull-fragment showers.
Resident Evil Chronicles HD may not be the glossy upgrade that eye-candy obsessed fans are craving—in fact, existing owners of the titles on the Wii can honestly sit this one out—but for newbies to this interesting take on the franchise, Resident Evil Chronicles is a lead-heavy dose of fun.
Resident Evil Chronicles is available now on the Playstation Network