Reviews// Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles

Posted 14 Dec 2007 17:19 by
While we await the sprawling zombie-blasting antics of Capcomís Resident Evil 5 to release on PS3 and 360 later next year, we have a little taster for us this Christmas in the shape of the on-rails, arcade style shooter that is Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles on Wii. On top of everything else, this game is the first proper lightgun game for Wii; and by far the best excuse yet to wield Nintendoís new Wii Zapper for an extended playtest (Linksí Crossbow Training Ėthe free game that comes bundled with the gun - is a nice taster, but not really a filling main course).

For those zombie-haters who have played their way through the past few outings in the series, you will recognise a number of scenes in RE:UC plucked from Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil (the GameCube remake), and Resident Evil 3.

There was initial concern amidst some of the more hardcore fans of Capcomís undead-hating series when the shamelessly arcade-y, on-rails style shooter outing that is RE:UC was announced. We enjoyed the brief time we had with the game (and the then just-announced Wii Zapper gun) at E3 earlier this year, but we had one niggling question eating away at our brains after ten or fifteen minutes of blasting the heads off hordes of zombies. Would we get bored of it after an hour or two?

Iíve been sat in a dark room for the past week charged with taking out the worst undead fiends and biological weapons that the Umbrella Corporationís rogue T-virus has produced. Iíve done this with a small plastic gun. Read on to find if the experience was in any way fulfilling.

Firstly, two admissions: I love Resident Evil, but to my knowledge I donít think Iíve ever sat down and played a lightgun-based, on-rails shooter right the way through to the end. Not that this type of game doesnít appeal to me, it does, particularly when faced with the latest House Of The Dead incarnation in the arcade. But Iíve generally had enough of the game after half an hour or so. They donít tend to offer me so much in the way of longevity. Thirty minutes of blasting baddies with a big plastic gun and thatís me sated, thanks.

Thankfully, RE:UC is very different. Itís held my attention for far, far longer that 30 minutes over the past week and, even if I wasnít charged with reviewing it, Iíd want to return to it again and again for just one more crack at that hard-to-kill boss monster.

Just one more play through a particularly favourite set piece; just one more opportunity to unlock some more new info about the back story.

If you are a big fan of the series, like me, youíll get a frisson of joy when playing through the never-before-seen chapters such as the Umbrella Corp's Russian base. If youíre not a fan of the series and not so bothered about knowing too much more about the storyline or the characterís back stories, then youíll get enough satisfaction from hour after hour of blasting away at zombies while being whisked through some genuinely creepy and memorable levels.

Before I say much more about why I think the game holds its own against Nintendoís best first-party offerings though, a few words about the new Wii Zapper peripheral. The new placky gun is in high demand (as is pretty much anything thing these days that is white and produced by Nintendo).

The Zapper is a pretty solid piece of gaming kit into which you insert the Wiiís two controllers, allowing you to easily control the Nunchukís thumbstick and to use the Wii Remoteís [B] button as the trigger. Itís a lot of fun and, in the course of playing Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, I kept on returning to it time and time again, as it really did enable me to aim better.
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RiseFromYourGrave 14 Dec 2007 19:24
it is very good, much more depth and longevity than any of its ilk, whilst keeping it fun and interesting the entire time. a lot of people complained about the sometimes super small weak points, i love them! really gives some challenge and something to aim for (pun intended) beyond just going trigger mental

ive put 14+ hours in and i havent finished it or got all the guns yet. great stuff. id agree with the 90% if im playing with a friend, its more fun then. id give it 80% or a little more on its single player merits
InsaneJonny 15 Dec 2007 21:11
I'm getting this for christmas next week, can't wait. A real pity I only have one zapper, the other person will have to make do with a combo

I'm surprised how much I enjoy the zapper, hearing all the negative talk had me not expecting much, but it really is a sturdy half decent shell. How'd you get two of them?
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RiseFromYourGrave 15 Dec 2007 23:19
InsaneJonny wrote:
How'd you get two of them?

i guess buy Link's Crossbow Training, you can probably get that for 15 quiddages if you look hard enough
DoctorDee 16 Dec 2007 12:02
This makes me unhappy. I love gun games! One of my fondest gaming memories is of Config and I finishing House of the Dead 2 in Citť Europe in Calais, back in 1998. Both of us were dressed in corporate wage-slave gear, our shiny heads and flying ties making us look like we were employees of the International Contract Agency. This memory is perhaps rose tinted. While my baldom his long established, Config may have had flowing locks in the style of Vincent Vega, and I certainly didn't have a barcode tattooed on the back of my head in those days. We were pumping 10Fr coins in from a huge pile we had amassed for the purpose, determined as we were to complete the game.

But since moving first to an RPTV, about seven years ago, and then on to projectors I've had to forgo them. This has caused me considerable emotional distress. Though this distress is mitigated somewhat by being able to play Ratchet and Clank at 120 inch.

So when I heard of the Wii Zapper and RE:UC, I was excited, perhaps inappropriately so. I resolved immediately to get a Wii. But then I heard about Time Crisis 4 and the Guncon 3, and it also turned out that Wiis were considerable rare, and overpriced in the UK this Christmas. So I decided to wait for TC4, which was slated for a pre-Christmas release.

Now RE:UC is here, and it's great, and TC4 is still several months away. I WANT A GUN GAME!!!11!1ONE1!ONE

OptimusP 17 Dec 2007 16:36
I suggest to redo your trip to france then. And get yourself a french Wii with RE:UC at 249,99 euros. it seems on the continent there isn't a supply problem. There was a Super Mario Galaxy shortage here in Belgium though.
DoctorDee 17 Dec 2007 17:09
OptimusP wrote:
I suggest to redo your trip to france then. And get yourself a french Wii with RE:UC at 249,99 euros. it seems on the continent there isn't a supply problem. There was a Super Mario Galaxy shortage here in Belgium though.

Whoa, how do you know I was in France? Oh, you mean in 1998 ;-) I was in France last weekend, to see Vanessa Paradis in Lille. I thought you somehow knew that.

I went to Citť Europe, and tried to buy a Wii, but they were all sold out. Just a short hop from England, so it should have been no surprise, but I didn't think. I bet f I'd tried to buy in Lille I would have got one.

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