Chronicles, of course, is shaped like a Resident Evil game where extended periods of calm are punctuated by moments of extreme action and terror, but what works for survival horror doesn't work so well for a lightgun shoot-'em-up, and your ride on the ghost train is about as scary as a sit-down on Santa's knee. Looking down a dark hallway on a stormy night and knowing you have to walk to the door at the end is a difficult, stomach-churning dilemma; being led down there on rails whether you like it or not is just another turn in the tracks on that ghost train, and when those dogs leap out at you, you won't even clench your bum cheeks. We like what they were aiming for with the atmosphere, but Capcom have missed their target on this one.
Although the design choices made along the way are often confusing, the game Umbrella Chronicles finally became isn't the disaster it was seemingly destined to be. Lest we forget, Capcom has no strong record for quality Resident Evil side stories, and a particularly bad reputation for lousy lightgun games -the PlayStation Gun Survivor and Dead Aim games are notorious stinkers, Resident Evil Gaiden was a catastrophe, and those two PS2 Outbreaks were less Shaun Of The Dead and more Stig Of The Dump, so it's a miracle the clearly micro-budgeted Umbrella Chronicles worked out as well as it did.
A slow start makes way for more intense action on later levels, and though it never feels like an all-out shooter or a true Resi experience, it occasionally touches on both, and when it does, it's at its best. For any fan of the series, it's a tour of a world you love with enough unlockables to keep you squeezing the trigger until the day you die, and a mountain of plot minutiae to read through once you've been reanimated again. Chronicles is no shoot-'em-up, but it's the best Resident Evil side-story in close to eight years. And since the last good one was Code Veronica, that's lofty praise indeed.
Resi fanboys should feel free to add ten to the score; straight-up shooter fans with no love for zombies should deduct ten. Chronicles is set to become the most divisive game on the Wii.