Resident Evil: Outbreak - PS2

Also known as: Biohazard: Outbreak', 'Network Resident Evil', 'Resident Evil Online

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Adventure: Survival Horror
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Capcom Soft. Co.: Capcom
Publishers: Capcom (JP/GB/US)
Released: 17 Sept 2004 (GB)
Dec 2003 (JP)
30 Mar 2004 (US)
Ratings: PEGI 16+
Connectivity: Network Adaptor (Ethernet) compatible
Features: Analogue Control Compatible: analogue sticks only
Accessories: Memory Card


Born in 1997, Resident Evil earned the respect of gamers the world over when it delivered a genuinely chilling horror story to the PSOne console. It set the survival horror genre alight, and it wasn't long before a plethora of clones and so-called 'Resi-beaters' made themselves known to a zombie-mad audience. Furthermore, Resident Evil itself has been subject to myriad sequels and spin off games. And with the series still going strong after more than seven years and 20 million sales, you'll not be bowled over to see the release of Resident Evil: Outbreak for PS2.

Set in a time before the nuclear demise of Racoon City in Resident Evil 3, Outbreak tells the tale of a small group of unfortunate survivors as they try to escape the effects of the t-virus and its demonic bi-products created by the infamous Umbrella Corporation. There are eight characters all told, all of which are playable and all of which come with their own strengths and unique abilities. They are: Alyssa, Cindy, David, George, Jim, Kevin, Mark and the troublesome Yoko.

Though the play mechanic of solving puzzles, mixing herbs and disposing of zombies remains largely the same, these character-unique abilities means players must alter their strategies each time they play through the adventure. Additionally, there are several difficulty settings that result in fewer healing items, less ammo and more resilient enemies, depending on your choice. There's actually enough replay value here to potentially warrant more than a dozen visits to Racoon City.

Like Code Veronica, Outbreak is one of the few Resi games to be rendered in full 3D glory. And although it doesn't match the pre-rendered loveliness of the GameCube remake of the original 1996 offering, it is noticeably good looking. Parts of the game look almost photorealistic, and the overall visual style is just as convincing as that seen earlier games.

The UK version is sadly lacking the online aspect of its US and Japan counterparts, so a communal adventure is not an option for PAL gamers. Fortunately however, the single player adventure is sufficient enough to warrant multiple play-throughs and doesn't leave players feeling like they're missing too much.

A little different from other Resident Evil games in its approach multiple characters and scenarios, Outbreak does a fine job of bringing the survival horror game back to Sony's console. Whilst we wait with bated breath for the GameCube exclusive that is Resident Evil 4, followers of the games can relish the opportunity to re-visit Racoon City and its grisly inhabitants once more, in what is a worthy addition to the Capcom franchise.