If there's one thing to be thankful for in the face of Capcom's steady stream of Resident Evil games, it's that we've all been given a fairly comprehensive education on the undead blight. We can see a zombie coming a mile away, which presents an odd sense of frustration when the game's own characters fail to do the same. No, that person isn't sick. It's a zombie and it's going to bite your neck off. Just shoot it!
The Darkside Chronicles, an instantly familiar follow-up to the Wii's Umbrella Chronicles, often hesitates to pull the trigger. It takes a leisurely stroll when least appropriate and it's slow to react when things do get exciting. You might think that your friends Survival-Horror and On-Rails Shooter would get along just fine, but leave them both in the room while you go to the toilet and it's just awkward silence.
While oddly slow-paced, Darkside Chronicles makes sure that you have plenty of nice things to gawk at when you're not pointing-and-shooting. In the TGS demo's South American level, you could almost feel the sweltering heat emanating from the screen as Leon "Stalwart" Kennedy and a playable Jack Krauser investigate an eerie, dilapidated village. It draws clear inspiration from Resident Evil 5's aesthetics, despite wrapping it around a new bit of franchise canon.
As you might expect, numerous weapons litter the environment -- which is home to more destructible objects than enemies, it seems -- and picking up a shotgun or machine gun is almost always preferable to the ineffective pistol you start out with. There wasn't much use for additional items like grenades in the TGS demo, but given the difficulty curve of Umbrella Chronicles, later stages will likely require a heavier touch.
It might not be an immediately gripping shootfest like The House of the Dead: Overkill, but Darkside Chronicles seems more than happy to coast on the combined strength of co-op play and well-presented fan service. If you're in the crowd Capcom is targeting here -- and you enjoyed Umbrella Chronicles -- then all we have left to add is the release date. Look for The Darkside Chronicles in North America on November 17.