Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
Wii owners were treated with the formidable Resident Evil 4 already half a year ago and now they get to put their teeth in The Umbrella Chronicles. Still a lot of lovers of Capcom’s renowned horror series are disappointed that the long-awaited fifth part will only make an appearances on the big brothers. The arrival of UC on Nintendo’s console is therefore also seen as an attempt to make up for that. Or do we have a real full Resident Evil adventure here?
First of all, the word adventure shouldn’t be used in combination with UC. There’s no exploration, no riddles that cry to be solved. What’s left is simple: shooting, firing, mowing, and occasionally sending a grenade into a mass of people. Rock hard action and there’s no avoiding it. Literally, as the gameplay from beginning till end is on rails. On certain points there’s a possibility to choose a direction, but for the rest you have zero influence on the path that needs following.
Running away or taking cover is not an option and at first this feels a bit odd but quickly you’ll realise that bringing death and destruction with an endless rain of bullets is the only way out. Forget the nunchuck, the Wiimote is the instrument for your bloody escapades. The piece of inventive hardware does that very nicely by the way: shooting with the trigger, switching weapons with the D-pad and reloading with a good swing, it all works excellent.
Nice is the fact that quite a lot of things in the surroundings can be broken. Lamps, chandelliers, paintings, and so on, you can shoot it all to pieces. And that isn’t just fun, it’s of life importance. In between mowing down the endless amounts of zombies you need to enhance the decors with a bullet painting. This delivers all kinds of power-ups like ammo or a very welcome health injection. Destroying the gameworld is an important part of the gameplay and makes that you’ll rarely find piece and quiet time. The only pauzes the game offers are reserved in the form of tons of cut-scenes.
The harder you get working, the higher your score will be at the end of a mission. This is important for collecting upgrades for your armory and they are all but a luxury. They’re very necessary to get rid of all the zombies, mutants, spiders, dogs and other infected vermin. The game is therefore not exactly a walk through the park and even on “normal” difficulty you’ll reach for some valium.
Especially some end bosses know to royally increase the frustration rate. Luckily these usually follow the same routes so you’ll perfectly know what to expect. But even then it’s not evident to chop them to pieces with your bullets. And before I forget: they’re quite familiar as they come from previous RE games except from part 4 and Code Veronica. Also the playable characters will ring a major bell with fans of the series. Think of Billy Coen, Chris Redfield, Rebecca Chambers and Jill Valentine. To make history complete the old Resident Evil environments and storylines were completely reused and polished up, something nostalgics will certainly know to appreciate.
So the game truly breathes Resident Evil, but is it also a worthy new part? Yes and no. UC never reaches the level of, let’s say Resident Evil 4 and getting rid of the freedom of movement remains a daring choice. The game won’t immerse you for hours in an adventure as Resident Evil 5 no doubt will do as UC is just too short and has too limited gameplay for that. But in the end you need to praise the game for what it is: a brainless shooting fest that arrives as a rock hard kick in your balls. And that I can recommend to anyone from time to time.
Tasting half an hour of the hard action that The Umbrella Chronicles puts on your plate is the ideal way to forget a hard day at work or school. UC may be a cloth to stop the bleeding, it’s silky soft, ultra sterile and has become a super cloth printed with hot chicks. For as along as it takes at least.