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Nov 18, 2007

Review: Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles

I've been a fan of the Resident Evil games for a long time. It's the only franchise that I'm willing to sit scared out of my wits through that involves Zombies. I hate Zombies.

I picked up Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles on Friday and it was and wasn't what I expected. I love arcade light gun games like House of the Dead and when I heard that Resident Evil Zero through three was getting the light gun treatment, I was excited. I tend to play better with a light gun than a controller, so that's why I love these games.

As I figured the game was like a light gun shooter with the "on the rails" type of camera angle and movement, but little did I know how much like the Resident Evil games this game was. Most RE games provide you with little ammo and health items which is fine because you don't have a horde of zombies and monsters chasing you for the entire game. This allows for a good allocation of your items over time.

In RE:UC, you have the same amount of items as in previous games, but you have hordes of zombies tailing your butt through the entire game. This makes it damn near impossible to survive each level. Thank God for the unlimited hand gun ammo or I'd really be screwed.

The difficulty setting were based on a sharp shooter's capabilities or something, because I died ten times on the first boss on normal difficulty setting, before I started the game over on easy. But even on easy, I'm running through by the skin of my teeth.

The game claims that each enemy has a weak point that will light up red on your cross hairs and if shot, the enemy will fall easier, but that just doesn't seem the case. A head shot to a normal zombie with the hand gun and he still needs another shot to go down. I figure one bullet to the brain should kill anyone, even a zombie.

The game lacks the real creepiness of the original RE games. Zombies don't really jump out at you like they did before and the music that constantly plays during the game, makes everything less on edge. The silence of RE is what helps you freak out at the appropriate times. Nothing like a zombie dog jumping through a glass window to break the silence and cause you to jump in your seat.

The "on rails" movement and view point tend to make it difficult in some areas to pick up items. You can only hope that the camera turns back to that area, if you miss a item that runs by your view point too quickly. It really sucks to miss key files, ammo or health, especially when you are about to die.

I like the whole new information aspect of the game. Not that I've gotta that far yet, but I'm looking forward to learning the secrets of the umbrella corporation later in the stages. Wesker narrates the story from a third person view which is really cool and I can't wait to play him as a character later on.

Every level has a small cinematic from the original RE games to help move the story long, but the in game mode has you stuck to the path of the mission. You can't go back, you can only go forward, unless the camera decides to turn you around. You can slightly look around, but not behind you; only to the left and right of your view.

Each stage gives you a character or two to pick from to play and their starting weapons. You can even modify each weapons after each stage completion. You can do this with points you gain from your level grades. The grades are like previous RE games.

The game controls are pretty easy. I had trouble with grenade throwing at first, but figured it out finally when I tried the easy level. You can use the remote for shooting, knife defense and throwing grenades and the nunchuk for switching your weapons and camera angle. Health items are automatic. Herbs are instant and first aid sprays save you after you die.

The graphics are about as good as previous last generation consoles, but considering how nice those were, I can't complain about them. I could but no one would hear me anyway.

All and all, I wouldn't recommend this game as a buy, more as a rental. The game isn't worth the price tag and it doesn't even come with the Wii Zapper which you can play it with. You have to buy it separate with Link's Crossbow Training.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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