Darkstalkers Resurrection is a fantastic remake that adds much more than a high-definition treatment and a few extra modes.
As far as 2D fighting games go, the Darkstalkers franchise must be one of the most creative. Set in a gothic horror world, Darkstalkers features highly stylized monsters and their hunters. These characters inspired from fairy tales, urban legends or mythology and some of them include Little Red Riding Hood, Van Helsing and Frankenstein. Resurrection compiles Night Warriors and Darkstalkers 3 as part of a package and the games are filled with extras and new features that make this the best way to experience the franchise.
Developed by Iron Galaxy, the same people behind the high-definition remakes of Street Fighter II and III: 3rd Strike Online Edition, Resurrection comes with a bunch of new features that makes these games more palatable for newer audiences. By going to the settings, you can change the view and these include normal, stretched, retro, over the shoulder and arcade cabinet. Most of them are self-explanatory, but the latter emulates how you’d see a game if you were playing in the arcade. Although it looks great, this view at doesn’t add anything meaningful to the game. Other visual options include different filters and you can always choose if you want to see scanlines or the high-resolution treatment.
As part of the single-player mode, you can play the ever-present arcade mode where you play against a series of AI-controlled enemies in a succession until you fight against your character’s rival. Then, there’s a training mode where you fight against a dummy and you can change different settings to help you practice specific moves or combos.
The game also sees the inclusion of tutorials and I feel like this was a missed opportunity. In the tutorials, you choose a character and you complete a series of offensive and defensive plays. The problem is that the game gives you the technical term for each move that you’re supposed to pull off instead of teaching you how to do it with the exact button input. In other words, the explanation is incredibly barebones and it’ll only be useful to those players who are well-versed in Darkstalkers combos and moves.
The game falters when it comes to explaining its mechanics to newcomers. Anyone interested in learning how to play the game needs additional resources (YouTube, dedicated sites, Wikis or walkthroughs) because the how to play and tutorial sections are anemic to the point that they made me question why include them in the first place if they aren’t going to do what they are supposed to.
Once you’re tired of playing the single-player, you can tackle some of the multiplayer modes. You can play local matches, ranked matches, quick matches, player matches or tournaments. There’s also a new menu dedicated to replays where you can record, watch or upload replays (the latter has an option to upload replays directly to your YouTube channel.) Although the multiplayer modes are robust, not a lot of players can be found online, so if you want to see how well you do against other human contenders, you better invite someone over and play locally. It’s a shame that not a lot of people are playing online, since the game uses GGPO technology that keeps lag to a minimum. There are also leaderboards where you can see who some of the best Darkstalkers players in the world are (spoilers, most of them live in Japan.)
As in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition, Darkstalkers Resurrection has a system that keeps track of everything you do in each fight (such as the moves, supers, specials, EX moves, number of matches you play, replays you search and the list of stats goes on and on.) As you keep playing, you level up and get VPs as a reward. When you’re playing the screen in normal mode, the game shows you these awards which not only adds a new layer of complexity to the game, but also adds replay value. Getting awards just by playing the game naturally feels incredibly rewarding and this is the perfect excuse to replay the arcade mode for the umpteenth time if only to get that rare award. Also, the game forces you to perform moves you wouldn’t otherwise which is also a learning tool in and of itself. The VPs you obtain can spent on a virtual marketplace known as the Vault where you can purchase concept artwork, win movies, the openings and endings for both games and more virtual goodies that fans will certainly appreciate.
Darkstalkers Resurrection is a fantastic remake that adds much more than a high-definition treatment and a few extra modes. It falters when it comes to teaching you its mechanics, but if you have an affinity for 2D fighters and you have someone to play with, you should add Darkstalkers Resurrection to your digital library right away.