Review: Disaster: Day of Crisis
What do you call a series of mini games strung together by a single narrative? The punchline is the in the title of this review.
- Worth The Time?Yes
- Things LovedPlenty of fun, great variety.
- Things HatedA bit too silly and arcadey at times. Disappointing visuals.
- RecommendationA title that might be too silly for some but is certainly great fun.
- Name: Disaster: Day of Crisis
- Genre: Action Adventure
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: Wii
- Developer: Monolith Soft
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Price: R500
- Reviewed On: Wii
One year ago, during a rescue mission on Mt Aguilas, Raymond Bryce and his team were caught in a sudden volcanic eruption. In the mayhem that follows, Ray’s best friend Steve lost his life. Unable to save his friends and overcome with a strong feeling of remorse, Ray lost the will to save people. As a result, he left his job with the International Rescue Team behind. Now Ray learns that Steve’s sister Lisa has been abducted by a former Special Forces unit known as SURGE. Upon hearing this, Ray set off to rescue her, ignoring the warnings of people around him.
Meanwhile almost overnight, an unprecedented run of natural disasters cause tremendous damage across the United States. Taking advantage of the confusion that results from this wave of destruction, SURGE manages to seize a nuclear weapon. With one after another bearing down on him, Ray must survive hurricane, tsunamis and earthquakes, and find a way too rescue Lisa.
Now a lot of reviewers were over critical when it came to the actually story of Disaster: Day of Crisis. The story is over the top and so far fetched its not even funny, but I don’t see this as a negative but rather a positive. Think of the Die Hard movies, now add a dash of Volcano and mix in some Twister add one stereo typical hard boiled hero and you pretty much have Disaster: Day of Crisis story summed up. And this is what I look for in a game title, pure escapism when it comes to the story. The same type of escapism you found in the late 90’s action movies, over the top and totally far fetched.
The first chapter of Disaster: Day of Crisis serves as the introduction to the game and as the training guide on how to control the various actions of Raymond Brice; from jumping over ledges to dashing and navigating the hazards the volcano presents you. This allows you to get used to the unique game controls that Disaster: Day of Crisis has, and they are nothing like what you have experienced on the Wii so far.
A lot of reviewers also made the statement that the game feels like one big mini game, but jokes aside that is what Disaster: Day of Crisis boils down to. The good news is that these mini games are interesting and captivating enough to keep your attention throughout the game. They are also nicely divided between exploring the levels and watching the highly entertaining cinematic action sequences.
The on-rails shooting section of the game is the most common of all the mini games. At the start of the game the AI is pretty weak but as the game progresses it seems to improve. The on-rails shooting section is also one of the most enjoyable sections of the game, as it allows you to restart it and improve on your score if you managed to screw things up; thank god for check points! This adds a lot of replay value to the game as you try to achieve better score for each level you complete. It also makes for a nice incentive to replay a level or the entire game, on a new difficulty level.
Having said that the most enjoyable section of Disaster: Day of Crisis is clearly the driving section. You drive through these with the Wii Remote held horizontally, just like you would when playing Mario Kart. There is a nice sense of speed and gravity in this section which adds a bit more realism to the game. The driving sections are also the most graphically polished section in the game, and really shows off what the Wii can do.
Driving and shooting aside, you’ll find yourself: rescuing victims; administering first aid; pulling people to safety; extinguishing fires with a fire engine; navigating your way past junk; and anything else that can go wrong when faced with more than a dozen types of natural disasters. Every part of Disaster: Day of Crisis could be called a big collection of mini-games, but these different styles of gameplay flow together surprisingly well and makes for a very entertaining game.
There is also a very light RPG element to Disaster: Day of Crisis, where Ray and his weapons can be upgraded between levels. Ray’s attributes like his skill with firearms, item-carrying capacity, focus, metabolism, and strength are enhanced using Survival Points. Survival Points you earn from rescuing people who are in distress. Battle Points are gained through defeating enemies, and can be used to improve your weapons by improving: the power, reload speed, magazine capacity, aiming, and accuracy of your chosen weapon.
Dispatching enemies with some flair which includes: head shots and clever shots award you with more battle points. Collecting these battle points and Survival points also adds more depth to the game as you can customize your character the way you want, not to mention the different titles you get when completing a mission. The titles range from not dying in a level, to collecting a certain amount of items, to killing all the enemies on a level. There are over 100 of these titles to earn and collect at the end of each level.
This is where Disaster: Day of Crisis flounders a bit. The highly entertaining cinematic action sequences and driving sections of the game are some of the best graphics I have seen produced on the Wii; but then on the other had some of the NPC’s and environmental graphics are pretty pedestrian at times. Having said that, they are far and few in between and do not spoil the overall presentation of the game itself. The physics in the game itself is also pretty realistic with rag doll effects, and being able to manipulate the environment in one way or another by kicking, punching, climbing or shooting it.
This is a big highlight of Disaster: Day of Crisis. The action inspired music, which plays continuously in the background, gives you a sense of urgency and tension in the game. Not to mention the high quality sound affect that you encounter during the game especially during the gun fights and cinematic actions sequences of the game. The voice acting is also pretty good, but over the top as expected from a title like Disaster: Day of Crisis, almost to the point of being overly cheesy yet just stopping short.
Disaster: Day of Crisis sets a new precedent for 3rd party action titles on the Nintendo Wii. Overall, the game is a joy to play, and it proved to be a real time eater especially when you try and achieve S class scores for each level and unlock all the bonus content. It is arcadey and a bit silly at times, but there’s no getting away from the fact that it is really entertaining to play. Even those watching it being played, will thoroughly enjoy it. I highly recommend this title to any Wii owner out there; you won’t be disappointed.