Saturday, August 30, 2014

Games Thirst Review: Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (Wii)

Publisher: Capcom
Developer(s): Cavia, Capcom
Player(s): Offline 2
Genre: Rail Shooter
Release Date: (NA) November 13, 2007 (JP) November 15, 2007 (EU) November 30, 2007
Platform(s): Nintendo Wii
Rated: Mature

Capcom decides to take another chance in taking the Resident Evil franchise over to FPS territory like they did in the past with Resident Evil: Survivor and Resident Evil: Dead Aim.

Does it ultimately infect us with it’s gameplay or is it something we should be vaccinated against?

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles’ story takes place over a long timeline throughout the Resident Evil saga. Basically, the game is a re-telling of the stories from the main games such as Resident Evil 0 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and what each character was doing on the side of each story.

For example, how did Ada Wong get out of Raccoon City before it was destroyed in Resident Evil 2 and where was Wesker during all of this? The Umbrella Chronicles explains these scenarios.

It also tells the story of what happened when Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield attempt to take down Umbrella’s stronghold in Russia.

Umbrella Chronicles isn’t much of a powerhouse when it comes to it’s graphics but that’s because of the Wii’s limit in graphical capability. The gamecube Resident Evil games looked better because of their pre-rendered backgrounds but what shocks me is that Resident Evil 4 actually looks better and that was a last generation game.

A lot of the textures have a tendency to look murky and bland, especially the explosion and fire effects. The cutscenes aren’t really all that special either. They look alright but definitely seem rushed and not nearly on par with the cutscenes from the older games in the series.

The settings you explore are all recycled (with the exception of the final stage) from Resident Evil 0, Remake, and Outbreak which is okay because it’s nice to see some of the areas close-up but for the chapter in the game that takes place during Resident Evil 3, they don’t have any new environments since it’s all taken from areas in Resident Evil: Outbreak. It would have been nice to have been able to explore areas like the clock tower or hospital.

Enemies are also taken directly from the previous games ranging from the zombies to the ‘Hunters’ and the way the enemies look directly relates to what chapter you are playing. Playing in Resident Evil 0′s story will have all the zombies looking exactly like they did in that game and same goes for the rest of the chapters.

The biggest difference between this game and the other games in the series including ‘Survivor’ and ‘Dead Aim’ is that it is an on-rails shooter, meaning you cannot freely move your character on your own; the game does it for you.

There are a total of 4 main chapters with around 3 or more sub-chapters within it, each based on one of the games in the main timeline of the series. Throughout each chapter, you collect points that can be used to upgrade the weapons that you collect in each stage.

Every time you find a weapon on a stage, it gets stored in a type of inventory for you to choose before each level but sadly, you can only choose one weapon to take with you and have to rely on finding more when you play a stage if you want ammo. You can also find items such as first-aid sprays which revive you one time when you time, herbs that heal your health and grenades which I think are self-explanatory.

Certain elements of the stages are destructible and when you destroy them, you get points which all leads up to your rank at the end of the level but files can also be found in the props which give you more back-story.

The cross-hair on screen has a tendency to get stuck on occasion due to remote movements being too fast for the game to handle but it doesn’t affect gameplay much. The game also suffers from frame rate issues, even when not a lot is going on on-screen. There might also be an issue with people beating the game far too fast and re-playability is a little lacking.

Voice acting is pretty cheesy and not very well done in my opinion. It would have been better if they had gotten the same voice actors from the previous games.

The script was also not very well written which is only made worse by the sometimes annoying voice acting. The music is also not well constructed and it would have been nice to see music from the original games make a comeback in either their original form or in a remixed fashion. Instead, we get a very generic soundtrack which is disappointing.

The sound effects also have a tendency to get kind of scratchy when too much is happening on screen at once.

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles was a game made for fans of the Resident Evil series and that is it. The game seems kind of rushed but for fans of the games it’s nice to replay some of those memories giving it a bit of a nostalgic feel.

People looking for a first-person shooter are going to be highly disappointed because this game isn’t that type of game, it’s a rail shooter. Fans will enjoy it, casual gamers won’t, that simple.

- Great nostalgia factor for fans
- Nice to see what other characters were doing
- Satisfying gameplay if you’re into rail shooters

- Average graphics
- Not a lot of re-playability
- Cheesy voice acting
- Unresponsive controls on occasion

About Colton West