by Dynamo, reviewed on
Rehashing the events of past games
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles is an on-rails first person shooter for the Nintendo Wii, revolving around the fall of a so-called Umbrella Corporation. The game is separated into four chapters, each featuring three main scenarios. The first three chapters focus on the events of Resident Evil Zero, the original Resident Evil and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis respectively. The fourth chapter introduces new scenarios which take place in 2003, five years after the events of the rest of the game.
Old heroes revisited
The player can choose between one of two characters to play out each main scenario which include Rebecca Chambers, Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield amongst others. In addition, the game also features a range of bonus scenarios, each focusing around a single character. Most of the bonus scenarios focus around Albert Wesker, the main antagonist of the Resident Evil series, portraying his betrayal of the Umbrella Corporation. This is the first time Wesker is featured as a playable character outside of mini-games; being able to see the events unfolding through his eyes adds a lot to the story of the game.
The pacing of most scenarios is a bit slow, with the characters exploring and sometimes back-tracking, stopping to look around at frequent intervals. When being approached by enemies, including the all too familiar bio-organically produced zombies, crazed monkeys, enormous spiders and mutated insects, the characters will usually stand still until all enemies have been destroyed. The developers take this a little too far, at times insisting you destroy dozens upon dozens of small (at least compared to everything else in the game) insects. Needless to say, it isnít fun waiting for these insects to jump on you so you can slash or to spend your time shooting them. Of course, you could finish them all off with a grenade, but why waste such a powerful utility on something so trivial?
Easy for beginners
The Umbrella Chronicles should be simple for first-time players to pick up; players simply aim with the Wiimote and shoot by pressing the B button. To reload players simply wave the Wiimote. The nunchuck is optional; its main purpose is to give the player limited control as to where the character is looking by moving the analogue stick. In addition to shooting players can throw grenades and attack with the knife. Although the grenades are very handy to get players out of tricky situations, the knife is rather limited, itís only use is to slash down small insects who have jumped onto the character.
Also, similar to those seen in Resident Evil 4, the game uses timed button presses throughout cut-scenes as well as in-game. For example, the game may require the player to tap a button to dodge a powerful attack from a boss or wave the Wiimote to shake off a zombie. Shaking away zombies will get old after a while but I like the idea of using button-presses to dodge boss attacks seeing as you have no control over the position of your character. Of course, timed button presses arenít the only way to avoid enemy attacks; more often than not youíll be able to stop an enemy in its tracks by pumping it full of lead.
A shooter needs its guns
Starting off, players have access to three weapons: a pistol, a submachine gun and a shotgun. However, as you play through scenarios new weapons are made available such as a grenade launcher, a magnum and different types of shotguns. It isnít all fun and games, though: donít expect to blitz your way through scenarios, blasting each enemy with your grenade launcher. The only firearm with unlimited ammo in the game is your trusty pistol which is equipped in each mission as a secondary weapon.
Every other gun has different amounts of limited ammo (it is survival horror after all) and so picking the right gun can mean the difference between life and death. As powerful as an MRL might be, itís going to serve little purpose when youíre faced with wave after wave of enemies. Of course, you might be able to pick up a shotgun or submachine gun throughout the scenario, but in many cases that will not be enough. Itís almost impossible to judge which gun will be useful in which mission before actually playing, although a shotgun/submachine gun are usually safe bets with their relatively high amounts of ammo.
No Pros and Cons at this time