Monday, April 9, 2012

VGR Disaster: Day of Crisis

And it's time for another game review!
But this time, still fresh from the latest "survival horror" themed reviewed, we explore something a bit different.
That's right!
I would like to present you a little hidden gem, not far off the genre, but quite different from your usual games.
Today, let's see....

VGR: Disaster: Day of Crisis
From Monolith Soft
Played on Wii
Also available on /

Type Survival/Action adventure
Year 2008

What is Disaster: Day of Crisis you gonna ask me?
It is quite complicated to summarize in a few words.
I can tell you it's a pretty fun and great looking game for the Wii, which makes uses of the various ways to play with Nintendo's Nunchuk and Wiimote controllers.
It is also a very arcade-ysh experience, a game that contains several different gameplays depending on the situation.
But I can also simply say, "do you know Survival Horror games? yeah, those horror oriented action-adventure games where you collect objects, resolve puzzles and go around avoiding/fighting monsters? well, this game's just a Survival Game without the horror".

Developed by Monolith Soft (makes of the Xenosage/Xenoblade games), originally as a Wii launch title, but then moved on to continue development and be better rendered/polished, DDoC is a very unusual game.
You see, it was conceived to take full control of the Wii motion controllers.
Disaster puts you in the role of a Rescue Team member (Cold Fear anyone?) who has to survive through various random natural disasters all taking place in the eponymous Day of Crisis, which seems to be the end of the world as far as natural disasters go.
Sort of like Disaster Report or American McGee presents: Bad Day L.A. in gameplay style. Only visually it is a much better looking and well defined game. Not a cheap "budget game" with a B-movie tone, but here a much bigger Hollywood style blockbuster feel from start to finish.

One Hell of a Story.

The story us about this International Rescue Team member, Raymond Bryce.
While one a pretty straightforward and routine rescue mission with his best friend and partner Steve Hewitt, the dormant volcano Mt. Aguilas unexpectedly erupts....

Ray and Steve try to make an escape while the lave starts to erupts all over the mountain.
The helicopter gets hit and crashes near them.

Steve gives Raymond his old compass and makes his buddy promise to look after his younger sister Lisa if something happened to him...
When suddenly, Steve falls into a crack on the side of the volcano.
Only one of them could Steve lets himself go off Ray's grasp and falls into the magma below.

One Hell of a Situation.

One year has passed.
Ray stills can't forgive himself for what happened to his friend back then.
As a matter of fact, he never actually saw Lisa since the accident.
Ray has left the Rescue Team and works now for a division of the FBI.

One day he is summoned to Blue Ridge City to help on a case.
A rogue military group called SURGE has stolen some nuclear weapons and kidnapped the seismologist Dr. Davis and his assistant, who happens to be Lisa Hewitt. Thanks to some previsions and a well timed mission, SURGE is able to threat the White House to be heard.

Ray takes on the whole terrorist group by himself so he can save Lisa as he promised Steve.
The chaos starts quickly, with flood over the city, with earthquakes, toxic air, tsunamis and lots of other situations escalating out of proportions!

One Hell of a Gameplay.

As you can see, the game has one pure Hollywood-style scenario.
Unlike most games of this genre (sort of), it is closer to a good 90s action movie than a cheesy B-mobie. Quite reminiscent of the likes of Die Hard, Speed or The Rock.
The dialogues (specially for a Japanese title) are great, well written and well acted. It makes the game stand out amongst the usual simpler productions.
The characters' likeable, well defined.

The game tries to re-create the terror and epic catastrophes that submerges you on a human scale.
Only in this game you play as someone trained just for these occasions.

You play Ray from a 3rd person p.o.v., Ray can jump and climb around the elements which serve as puzzles you have to navigate through.
The game uses a complex and different HUD from the other games. Kind of similar to Deadly Premonition in a way.
You have to take care of Ray's health but also his stamina (which is the hunger you have to take care with food you either found around or carry with you, or he'll start losing some health), his heart (running or exhaustion will cause loss of health as well) and finally his lungs (help stamina and health, needs to be cleared from smoke and the likes).

To replenish health and stamina, you will be able to use object, like First Aid Kits or Crackers, or simply break objects around you like in retro games such as Streets of Rage or Castlevania. Hey, it's just a game, right?

The gameplay will change from time to time, depending on Action Scenes or Exploration Sequences.
The game uses a lot of waggle in exploration sequences to help people. Putting bandages, perfoming CPR, helping someone move around, etc. comes quite simply and naturally with the Wii controllers.

One Hell of a Rail Shooter.

Action wise, the game uses a simpler route than your usual action-adventure games.
The shooting scenes employ a traditional rail shooter gameplay.
Quite fun, a joy to play through, they'll have you on the edge of your seat.

Highly replayable, they contribute to the cinematic feel of the game.
You can hide behind objects manually will Ray will go through the scenery.
To make them easier, you can uses experience points to either upgrade Ray's conditions (stamina, gun accuracy, health, etc.) or buy new/update old weapons. There's tons of details in the menu that uses a RPG-like system, straight from Monolith's experience with those.

There's also a scoring system for (the 22) levels, making a 2nd playthrough quite a different challenge.

It makes the whole thing a near perfect modern Arcade experience.

The game contain also some driving sequences which were, I admit, a pain in the a**.
The motion control being waaaaaaay too sensible. But they were so few, short and so far in-between, in the long scheme it wasn't that much a problem. (plus only 2 of them were really that complicated, the others being much more original and epic).

There's also some "Quick Time Events" here and there, but here they felt great and complimented the videos. (also you actually lose in-game health rather than the whole QTEs if you miss some actions).

One Hell of a Day.

The game doesn't feel like you're simply watching an action "movie" like many modern games with tons of CGi cinematics usually do.
Rather, it feels like an actual true game that simply puts you, the player, IN such movie.

Composer Yoshihiro Ike made a fantastic score for this experience.
Epic, very reminiscent of The Rock mostly, it really makes the whole game's atmosphere.

It's a fun experience, with some minigames perfectly integrated into the story/game, with a big accent on replay value thanks to the Survival Points and Battle Points you can earn to upgrade Ray, unlockable weapons, costumes and difficulty.

The game will feature some boss fights, that will usually spread around QTEs, rail shooting and some running around. Some SURGE members will return more than once, there's also an epic Bear boss scene!

The story and whole game just feels EPIC straight from start, which seems inspired by Cliffhanger.
One Hell Of A Day, indeed Ray!

One Hell of a Gimmick.

As a launch title (initially, when the development started), it really feels like the team behind the game had fun with this one, figuring how to best use these new controllers.
Holding the Wiimote like a steering wheel, shooting sequences to use the remote like a gun, etc.

Keeping an eye on Ray's health, stamina, heart and lungs and waggling around depending on your actions.

Running from the flood or lava by moving both the remote and Nunchuk.

All in all, it's a deep, rich, varied and unique experience that is highly enjoyable!

Overall, it's an amazing game!
A true Blockbuster experience.
Truly epic, through and through.
The game looks also great, with rich detailed backgrounds and realistic natural disasters perfectly captured. If the game had bigger resolutions (no thanks to the Wii) , it would simply be an amazing looking Next Gen game!

I particularly enjoyed Ray's dialogues and voice (portrayed by Mike Wilson).
The characters are also quite fun and memorable, Ray's probably the most badass recent video game protagonist I've seen - who deserves his place next to John McLane, Jack Traven or Jack Slater!

The levels are fun and challenging.
Disaster: Day of Crisis isn't impossible to go through, but neither really easy. It will require skills, patience and reflexes.
The ever-changing gameplays is part of the fun.

It is a long enough game, one you might want to play through or retry some earlier levels.
You have a Wii? Then it is a MUST HAVE for the system!

I give it:
 3 / 3 Quacks!


  1. PS: I just noticed...the game wasn't available in the US? bad for you guys!
    Import the Australian release!

  2. One hell of a game. Good review, I agree with it entirely. This would have to be one of my favourite Wii titles, so I have no idea why Nintendo of America would deprive its owners of such an epic game.

    1. One hell of an answer ;)

      I love this game. I've been waiting to make another playthrough soon. And since I finished most "recent releases", time to go back to this gem!

      It really surprised me to find out the game hadnt been released in the US though... I can't believe it, no wonder people say Wii games suck/there's no many good third party titles on Wii if they don't release them over there to begin with!

    2. Yeah, not sure of Nintendo's thinking over there. To miss out on a game as good as this? I mean all the hard work has already been done for them, it's already in English and ready to go. Another favourite of mine, Project Zero 2: Wii Edition also never saw the light of day over there. Heck, Xenoblade, Last Story, and Pandora's Tower almost missed out on being released there too.

      Disaster is a really great game and one of the best the system has to offer. I can see myself also going back to replay it some day.