Don’t forget to bring an Umbrella

Serving as a refresher course on the bulk of the Resident Evil series before Resident Evil 6 hits this October, Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection pairs the previously released Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles for the Wii, gives them an HD facelift, and delivers them on a silver platter for less than $30 on the PS3. And, considering the amount of content here, if you haven’t played these on-rails renditions of the original classic Resident Evil game—or the originals, period—you should definitely jump on this bargain.

But if you’ve played these titles previously and remember all the way back to 1996 (when the first Resident Evil released), there really isn’t much here that you haven’t already seen. Not to mention that if you lack a Move controller, you’re out of luck altogether. Sure, seeing the original Resident Evil titles from a first-person, on-rails arcade-shooter perspective might be interesting, as they offer slightly different takes on the in-game events. Aside from reliving the major beats of this iconic survival-horror franchise from a different viewpoint, though, there’s just nothing new to suck you in.

Umbrella Chronicles follows Resident Evil Zero, the original Resident Evil, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. What’s interesting here, though, is that the between-level narration comes via the viewpoint of the franchise’s longtime antagonist, Albert Wesker. The final level is original to Umbrella Chronicles (though not the collection) and offers you the chance to play as Wesker as he attempts to remove Umbrella’s most important files from a Russian stronghold while Chris and Jill try to take it down.

Darkside Chronicles follows Resident Evil 2 and Code: Veronica and also sees its own original chapter (again, not original to the collection) that centers around the personal loss of many of the series’ more popular protagonists.

I will say that if you’ve never played these games before, there’s a chance you could easily get addicted if you’re a lightgun fiend. The action plays out like a classic arcade game, with plenty of collectibles in each level that help flesh out the Resident Evil backstory. And, much like the Wiimote did during these games’ first run, the Move controller works perfectly for on-rails action like this, especially if you’ve got the Sharp Shooter attachment.

Again, the major drawback here is that if you’ve played these games before, there’s really no point in picking them up again aside from the promise of crisper graphics—and this isn’t a title that, by itself, is going to sell you on a Move controller. But if you haven’t played these games and have a Move controller, you can’t go wrong if you’re looking to kill a few hours with some classic arcade lightgun action based on a story millions of gamers already know and love.

SUMMARY: Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection is a solid pairing considering the price tag, but with nothing new besides the HD facelift, there’s little here to entice veteran players.  

  • THE GOOD: Plenty of content for the low price point.
  • THE BAD: Nothing new aside from the improved graphics.
  • THE UGLY: Nemesis is even uglier in HD.

SCORE: 7.0

Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection is a PS3 exclusive.