The Critics Said
As previously stated, the critics were mixed but usually far from labeling the game as terrible. The game holds a 71% average
on Metacritic, with individual scores pulling fairly evenly from both ends. The positive outliers maintained that the original game holds up well and is implemented fairly well on the handheld, while the negative ones argued the exact opposite. This is purely speculation based on my analysis of reading other reviews, but it would appear that many scores seemed to reflect the reviewer's opinion of the original. For example, the Detroit Free Press asked if "this trip down memory lane worth $35? The Rebirth Mode is the most justifiable reason, and even then, the case isn't that strong." On the other hand, My Gamer
noted that "RE DS doesn't score many originality points, but it doesn't have to. RE was, and still is, a classic, and having it available in the palm of your hand is nothing to complain about."
- The FMV is heavily compressed, but then again the DS isn't the most popular handheld console based on its video presentation or high storage capacity. I haven't completed the entire game, but most of it seems to be here (to the best of my knowledge).
- Hmm, the bad acting has yet to age to kitsch enjoyable. But that's probably an argument for another time.
- They really missed a golden opportunity with touch controls. This game could have been given a huge boost by using complete touch controls for maneuvering. Anyone familiar with pre-Resident Evil 4 iterations in the series will know that perhaps the only downside of these wonderful games are the somewhat awkward controls. Although you get the hang of it after awhile, it's still never quite perfect. Using something like the touch-guided walking implemented in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass or a "tap to go here" control method similar to any of the classic LucasArts adventure games would have worked beautifully.
- The touch sequences are interesting. Swiping at enemies with the stylus instead of taking aim with the standard button controls does switch things up a bit. However, the scenes pop up seemingly out of nowhere which requires that you quickly finagle the stylus out of its slot. Perhaps this was intended as a form of immersion to recreate the feeling of quickly getting a weapon out if a real life enemy were to suddenly approach. Either way, it's not overly great or terrible.
Fans of the original will be happy to find that the port is near-perfect, as veterans simply seeking a portable version of their favorite zombie-slasher can simply choose the "classic mode," which forgoes all DS-specific additions.
Though the original asking price of $35 was a bit steep, copies can now be found on eBay for about 20 bucks. As I hypothesized earlier, the amount of enjoyment that you receive from Resident Evil: Deadly Silence
will likely be directly related to how much you liked the original PSOne game.
Examining this game is really making me question my deductions about the DS port of Myst
. It mainly comes down to this: my deduction about Myst
was that while ports are perfectly acceptable for fans of the original game, they must be intelligently utilized on the new platform. A main complaint about Myst
was the lack of a cursor, which made the game tough, especially for those who've never played the original (this included me). I didn't definitely label the port as shovelware, but if forced at gunpoint to pass judgment on the game, I'd lean in that direction.
Yet similar critiques could be applied to this port of Resident Evil
. To the best of my knowledge, there's no other recently released game on the DS that is controlled in the same way. In 1996, we toughed our way through the tough controls because the game was so new and unique. As someone who's very familiar with the original, I can imagine someone who played the original Myst
thinking that it works better on the DS than Resident Evil
does. I would still disagree, but the argument is fair.
It's a bit of a cop-out, but I think this game will be enjoyed best by fans of the original. I'd maintain that the additional modes and core game make this the better port than Myst
, but that may be a product of my own bias. You could create a convincing argument to the contrary. And if you've got one, I'd love to hear it.
In gaming, the term shovelware refers to any game in which time and effort were eschewed in favor of turning a quick profit. Bury the Shovelware takes a closer look at these titles, typically those that inhabit the lower end of metascores. It attempts to: 1) find out where and how the developer went wrong 2) identify common traits present in most shovelware 3) measure how long the game can be suffered.