Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 Hands-On

Capcom shows off the US version of the online branch of the PlayStation 2 RE series.

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Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 is the follow-up to last year's online incarnation of Capcom's venerable survival horror series. For those unfamiliar with the Outbreak games, the action in them takes place immediately after the excrement hits the fan in Raccoon City, which comes courtesy of the evil Umbrella Corporation's T-virus. If you've ever wondered what it was like for the residents of Raccoon City as their homes were overrun by the walking dead, the Outbreak games let you live the adventure. The game picks up after the action found in its predecessor, and it, once again, focuses on several different individuals that have the misfortune of being at the ultimate wrong place at the wrong time. Unlike the traditional Resident Evil games, which cast as you as a reasonably well-armed and well-trained special forces agent of varying gender, you'll simply play as an average joe in Outbreak File #2. The playable demo on display at the press event let us try our hand at a subway level populated by the undead and enormous insects.

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Now, while zombie and insect-infested subways aren't the healthiest places to hang out, we found weapons of one kind or another strewn about the dank locale. As with the previous game, you'll get through the adventure with the help of three other people. The game's lack of headset communication forces you to use sound bites uttered by your character, as well as hand motions, to communicate with your fellow players. The bulk of the game mechanics in Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 are identical to its predecessor, although they've been expanded some. The most significant tweak to the experience is the ability to walk and shoot, which is extremely useful when facing the game's creepy foes. Your roster of enemies will now include animals thanks to a new area set in a zoo. Yes, zombies are scary, but zombie elephants are something else entirely.

Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 will also feature new content to test your skills. You'll find new areas and costumes to use. The game will also read your save file from the original Outbreak to let you import data from it to File #2. The data transfer goes both ways, as the costumes you open in File #2 can be taken back and used in the original game.

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The subway level we played stuck pretty closely to the formula established in the original game. You'll explore areas that are divided into smaller chunks, and you'll look for items and clues that will help you access new areas. The game will again support the PlayStation 2 hard drive to reduce loads between areas. The additions to the control are well implemented, although the game does still exhibit the same quirks as its predecessor. While the new systems help freshen the game's handling over the first one, and while the visuals are strong, File #2 may have a hard time appealing to anyone who isn't already a fan of the Outbreak games. Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 is currently slated to ship this April for the PlayStation 2, so look for more on the game in the coming months.

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