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Shooting games can go two ways: free roaming first person or on rails pre-scripted action. Disaster: Day of Crisis takes the on rails formula and wraps it up in a free roaming environment that is equally convincing.
Shooting games present a world in which the character must shoot their way out of dangerous situations. They provide the player with an array of weapons tailored to specific tasks. This unavoidably involves a combination of fisticuffs and gun based fighting that dictates the violent nature of these experiences. Beneath this harsh exterior though is often an intricate tactile game - and this is usually what drives the player.
Siting between a third person free roaming game and an on rails shooter (with a little adventuring thrown in for good measure) makes Disaster: Day of Crisis something of a jack of all trades. That said, it is most convincing and polished as an arcade (read: coin operated machine) shooter.
The game's polish and first party development (read: Nintendo pumped in some cash) values create the feel of classic arcade shooters like Virtua Cop and Time Crisis. In the shooting sections you can press a button to hide behind cover and shake the Nun-chuck to reload. Once you are ready to fire you can also press C to zoom in for a head shot.
Other aspects of the game include exploration of environments in third person view, locating and rescuing civilians. Here you also get a chance to recharge your health, stamina and stocks of munitions with various hidden items. Although this has all been seen before, Disaster: Day of Crisis' polished delivery makes the whole experience thoroughly enjoyable.
The shooter sections are extended by the ability to advance your characters abilities and weapon selection as you progress. Add this to the detailed end of level scores (again in keeping with the arcade style) and you have plenty of reason to replay levels.
It's the quality of the experience that draws players to Disaster: Day of Crisis. The on rails shooter style game is something of a rarity these days - so the chance to play one that pushes the Wii to its limits is pretty attractive. It is also refreshing to find a game that can engage with an older audience.
Jumping into a new level and watching the well captured and voiced cut screen introduce today's disaster gives a real sense of playing within a summer blockbuster movie. Raising the Wii-mote to your ear to hear the crackly radio broadcast from its speaker is an ingenious touch. Plunging your way through the (appropriately) rollercoaster-like levels keeps you locked in all the way. Popping out the other side, stumbling into the disaster averted clean air simply makes you want to do it all again (much like the aforementioned rollercoaster rides).
Disaster: Day of Crisis takes a little time to work out. Fans of its constituent parts (shooter, third person and adventure) need to adjust its amorphous approach. working through the first mountain side rescue setting does a good job of introducing the basics.
Most levels can be played through in forty five minutes or so. Although you can save progress at the end of each level, if you do run out of time before you are through you need to start from the beginning in you next session. However, such is the replayability of the game that this isn't as big a draw back as you may think.
Let's say straight away, Disaster: Day of Crisis is a great game for a more grown up audience. The plot (although appropriately cheesy) feels just like a blockbuster disaster movie. The fact that this is then followed up by some compelling gameplay make it a good fit for the Intermediate grown up audience.
Expert players may find the slightly older on-rails approach to be a little dated, although this is no reason to discount the experience. In fact it is a game that will provide more than enough challenge (particularly in its replayable levels) for the most adroit of gamers.
Shooters are by their nature violent, something that needs to be considered for younger gamers. The inevitable deaths are quite realistic although there is no excessive blood or gore. The edge of the seat nature of Disaster: Day of Crisis adds a high degree of suspense and peril to proceedings that younger players may find distressing.
Whereas, the running around sections should be pretty straight forward for most ages and abilities, the Wii-mote pointing and shooting can be fiddley to get the hang of for very young or inexperienced players. For those comfortable with the action this is a good game to be played by parents and offspring in turn taking fashion.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: