With the holiday season approaching, one of the lesser known, but still anticipated games is going to be competing for our seasonal cash. That game being Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii. But before one were to indulge in this game, one would need to make themselves acquainted with a Resident Evil title already available on the Wii: Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition. To say publisher Capcom did a good job with making a solid sequel (the 9th installment in the series, for anyone keeping count) is an understatement. This is arguably the best game in the franchise, and for good reason. Over-the-shoulder aiming, a more linear gameplay model, and lots and lots of (non)zombies re-creates the survival horror genre.
We join Leon S. Kennedy, a continuing character from Resident Evil 2. He now works for the US government, as a body guard for the president’s family no doubt, and his first assignment is to find the president’s kidnapped daughter in the cold, foreboding mountains of Spain. That’s all a player needs to know and, after a quick introduction, that main goal is pushed down on the list of priorities after the first encounter with a horde of zombies that Leon must fight through.
One of the most enjoyable changes in this game from past RE entries is the ironic configuration of the enemies: they’re not zombies! Instead, Leon does gun-to-chest battle with villagers and obscure creatures of the European mountains that have been infected with something called the "Las Plagas," an organism that attaches itself to the brain and uses the body as a host to control. This is one facet of a very mysterious story that becomes more intriguing as Leon blasts his way through opponents; and by the end of the game, a new appreciation for the Resident Evil series will be understood, not just for the gameplay, but for weaving a fascinating story as well.
Let it be known that the action is top notch, and every kill is satisfying. Leon has an attaché case full of (non)zombie death at his disposal; with weaponry such as grenades, 9mm, sniper rifle, SMG, machine gun, rocket launcher, and the ultimate zombie killer, the shotgun; the odds are evened greatly in Leon’s favor.
Aiming is made easy with the intuitive Wii remote and the inclusion of a greatly improved fighting system. Instead of tank-like controls and auto-aiming at enemies, Resident Evil 4 switched to a third person, over-the-shoulder targeting system that utilizes a laser sight on every weapon, which is more accurate and pleasurable. Bringing the action up close and personal with a camera angle constantly fixed behind Leon is a nice touch that works perfectly. This makes head shots a breeze to deliver in deadly abundance when progressing through crowds of the walking possessed.
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition serves up an excellent offering of gore-and-explore gaming. The locales are detailed to an ominous quality and create an eerie feel throughout the game. It has some of the best action that the Wii has to offer, and is strongly recommended for those familiar with the series and those who are wondering what the hype is all about. Play this game, lest Capcom sends a S.T.A.R.S. team after you.