Joseph Rositano
22 Nov, 2008

Disaster: Day of Crisis Review

Wii Review | It's going to be one hell of a day.
Disaster: Day of Crisis has been in development for quite some time. The game was initially shown off at E3 2006 in the form a five second teaser trailer, but then things went silent. Nintendo weren’t showing any new footage or screenshots, which led many to believe it had suffered the same fate as Project H.A.M.M.E.R. and got cancelled. Fast forward and Disaster has finally been released. While the game doesn’t have the same spark as most other Nintendo titles, it’s a decent title that keeps things feeling fresh and interesting.

In Disaster: Day of Crisis, players assume the role of Raymond “Ray” Bryce. One year before the start of the game, Ray was a member of the International Rescue Team, but when his group was caught in a powerful volcanic eruption his best friend Steve was tragically killed. This prompted Ray to leave the organisation and join the United State’s Crisis Management division. In the present day Mother Nature has gone out of whack – an earthquake and tsunami have struck a nearby city, and to top it all off, Ray has been asked to investigate the former special forces unit known as SURGE. SURGE are responsible for stealing nuclear warheads and kidnapping two seismologists, one of whom happens to be Steve’s sister. The story is like a typical action movie; Ray has to survive dozens of dangerous situations, and there are a lot of nods to American culture including swearing and tough-as-nails militants.

It’s difficult to specify Disaster’s targeted genre. On one end its part-exploration and part-shooter, and on the other its part-driving simulation and mini-game compilation. A bulk of the game is spent exploring disaster areas, such as the scene of a volcanic eruption or a flash flood. During these situations your goal is to make your way to the exit while rescuing any civilians in need. Rescues play out as short mini-games, which can involve cleaning and bandaging injuries, carrying someone to safety, resuscitating a heart attack victim, or even lifting heavy objects to free someone’s leg. What makes the mini-games interesting is the way the Wii’s motion sensing is utilised. For heart attack victims, you need to push the Wii remote downwards in time with their heart beats. In other instances, you might have to flick the Wii remote sideways to grab hold of someone hanging from a ledge, or point and press the B button to extinguish flames. It’s all varied and keeps things feeling fresh.

Burn baby burn.

Burn baby burn.
Arguably, the best part of Disaster are the on-rails shooting segments. These occur at specific points in levels and see Ray picking off members of SURGE. The basic principle is you need to avoid being shot by hiding behind objects, and when your foes reload their weapons that’s when you make your strike. The AI is clearly not as challenging as opponents in Ghost Squad or Umbrella Chronicles, but there are a few elements that balance this out. Firstly, players are rewarded with extra BP (battle points, more about this later) for scoring combo moves, so there’s an emphasis on timing your shots. Secondly, you have the ability to temporarily zoom in on targets and make head shots. Again, this is associated with ranking in high points, but also lets you make fast work of those rouge agents. To mix things up a little, you occasionally need to take down boss enemies ranging from commanders to helicopters. While the same dodging and waiting principles apply, they’re a little more interesting as they have several attack patterns and different moments when their vulnerable to damage. Overall, the shooting levels are a lot of fun and add charm to the experience.

Unfortunately, the driving levels are simply horrendous. They see you take a first person perspective behind the wheel of a car, manoeuvring by tilting the Wii remote (ala Mario Kart Wii). You usually have to dodge various obstacles on the road, but quite often the game throws random elements at you such as falling lava rocks and collapsing bridges. It just doesn’t work; a small bump will cause you to unrealistically flip into the air and come crashing down. Making matters worse, you’ll often be forced to restart the level because your car was flipped upside down. There isn’t any balance and things feel a bit too arcade-like, making these stages tedious and unrewarding.

The fact the developers have integrated all these gameplay mechanics is both a strength and weakness of Disaster. On one hand it keeps things fresh and interesting, throwing dozens of unique challenges at players. On the other, nothing is really fleshed out. As we mentioned, the on-rails shooting levels are fun but they don’t quite stack up against other games available on the market. With exploration, some may feel the levels are a bit too liner. This will undoubtedly frustrate some players, while others will enjoy the atmosphere and appreciate the different approach that’s been taken.

The shooting stages are arguably the best.

The shooting stages are arguably the best.
As players progress, they’ll be rewarded with battle and survival points. Battle points can be obtained by killing enemies, while survival points are obtained by rescuing people. Their primary use is to upgrade Ray’s physical and mental abilities, as well as his weaponry. You’ll initially start off with a basic handheld pistol, but eventually you can unlock rifles, automatic machine guns and even rocket launchers. Additionally, the game features a similar system to the Xbox 360’s achievement points. Basically, each level has hidden secondary objectives ranging from breaking 80 objects to driving at a specific average speed. Lastly, those who play through levels a second time can undertake the Stamina Campaign challenge. This more or less requires you to collect all the Stamina signs in a level, and by doing so you’ll be rewarded with a special prize (usually bonus points). While this is all more or less an afterthought, it extends the game’s lifespan beyond the main story and will keep players entertained for hours.

Visually, Disaster: Day of Crisis is a little mixed. There are some wonderful disaster effects such as ash falling from the sky and water crashing through a city block, but things occasionally look rough and lack a final polish. This is particularly noticeable during cutscenes. The introduction movie from the title screen looks amazing, but in-game it’s nothing too spectacular. The music is suitably intense and would be considered typical for a disaster-themed movie. However, the same tunes are played throughout the entire experience, so it will get repetitive. One particular element that deserves a mention is the use of the Wii remote’s speaker. During your travels, Ray will occasionally turn on his radio to pick up news casts covering the disasters. The broadcasts are played through the speaker, and it comes through very clearly.

Surf's up dude.

Surf's up dude.
While there are a few problems here and there, for the most part Disaster: Day of Crisis is a pleasant experience. The game has a variety of challenges to overcome and there are a lot of secondary objectives that will keep players engaged for hours. Sadly, some will find that the different gameplay mechanics aren’t fleshed out as much as they could have been. As a whole though, the game is anything but a disaster.
The Score
Disaster: Day of Crisis has a lot of different gameplay mechanics which provide a pleasant and unique experience to players. There are also a ton of secondary missions and unlockables that will encourage multiple playthroughs. Sadly, there are few annoyances such as the driving stages, occasional rough-looking visuals and the fact most mechanics aren’t really fleshed out. As a whole though, the game is anything but a disaster.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Disaster: Day of Crisis Content

Disaster: Day of Crisis gets a release date
03 Sep, 2008 Due October 24 in the UK.
Disaster: Day of Crisis media
02 Sep, 2008 Watch out for those tidal waves and bears.
New Disaster: Day of Crisis screens released
12 Oct, 2007 Looking...interesting.
5 years ago
Isn't this the game that Eurogamer tore apart and Reggie said wasn't fit for an American release?
5 years ago
fupoisme wrote
Isn't this the game that Eurogamer tore apart and Reggie said wasn't fit for an American release?
Yes, it is. He also said it wasn't worth $50. Talk about talking down a game. It actually looks like a half decent game for the Wii.
5 years ago
I can see why some people wouldn't like the game. As I said in the review, most parts aren't really fleshed out (on-rails parts can't live up to Ghost Squad etc). But as a whole, everything just clicks and provides a pleasing experiance. I really don't know why Reggie said what he said, it's a decent game and is better than a lot of the shovelwear crap that's released on a weekly basis.
5 years ago
Joseph wrote
it's a decent game and is better than a lot of the shovelwear crap that's released on a weekly basis.
I agree... might end up picking it up eventually; its about time the Wii got some interesting/good games. Take that however you want but the fact is the Wii is now incredibly renowned for its shovelwear and good games on the system are becoming harder and harder to find.
5 years ago
I disagree with what you said about the driving stages. Sure you can be unrealistic flipped easily (you have not lived until you go around a corner in two wheels!), but the controls are spot on and feels great. And the hazards are very welcome. Some of the later driving stages are just too good.
5 years ago
its simple - don't look for GTA wii (try the godfather for that) but an advanced time crisis and we have a winner. An easy 8 for me.
4 years ago
Am re-visiting this - and enjoying it almost as much as uncharted..which I have to say this resembles in alot of ways. seriously underated game
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  24/11/2008 (Confirmed)
Year Made:

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