|By Charlie Goodrich||Saturday, 9 Feb 2008|
Let’s play Time Cop (that’s right, a Jean-Claude Van Damme reference) and travel back to 1996. This year saw the dawn of the Resident Evil franchise, and with it, the growth in popularity of survival horror games. For it’s time this game was innovative, graphically sound, and scary. Since then, Resident Evil has spawned many sequels all with differing levels of quality and entertainment. However, the series is losing its original luster: the scary and innovative. Each new game usually has nice graphics that make us all go “ooo pretty,” but the quality is lacking. The writing has ranged from spectacular to horrible, character development is hardly present, and the storyline is beyond ridiculous. However, in an attempt to revitalize the innovative (and suck another franchise dry of any money making potential it has), Capcom has released Resident Evil: the Umbrella Chronicles. This is a track-based first person shooter that uses the Wii in a fun way. There are some flaws, but the game will make RE fans happy until RE5 is released.
The Wii remote works well for this game. It is a quick and fun game to pick up and play. Add a buddy for some co-op gunning and things get only better. But this isn’t a simple game. There are different tactics you can use to defeat your enemies and complete the game. There is also a lot of collecting you can do. Completing the game and earning a perfect rank on each level will earn you a collection of items, files, and unlimited ammo. All in all, I’m glad Capcom is taking advantage of the Wii’s capabilities as well as co-op play. However, they could have created a more unique experience.
Chronicles is basically Resident Evil 0, 1, and 3 all rolled into one game with some added goodies. You play through a shortened version of each game so you’re given enough of the story to understand the main plot and what is going on. After completing certain chapters, you unlock parts of the game that are to help piece together Wesker’s role in Umbrella and how the company met its final demise. Now, remember how I said the storyline got more ridiculous as the series progressed? How Capcom chose to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle only furthers the confusion of this franchise. In the end, I told myself “whatever” and enjoyed my time shooting things.
There you have the good and bad, now for the ugly. Chronicles graphics are obviously taken from the Gamecube. They don’t look bad, but it is nowhere near current gen. It would have been nice if they updated the graphics to make this game stand out more from its predecessors. Enhanced graphics would have also added to the atmosphere this game lacks. Resident Evil is a series that should be about the atmosphere, but Capcom has failed in doing this really starting with Resident Evil 3.
Overall I am pleased with RE: Umbrella Chronicles. It is fun to play through especially with a friend. However, it does nothing to enhance the storyline or offer much that players haven’t already seen. If you are a Resident Evil fan, I would recommend this game, however, I don’t think this game is worth a $50 price tag. If you are hesitant about buying this, wait until it drops to $30. This is a thirty-dollar game even though I have no regrets paying $50. But I love my Resident Evil!