A good on-rails shooter with plenty of stuff for fans of the Resident Evil series.

User Rating: 7.5 | Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles WII
*** RESIDENT EVIL: THE UMBRELLA CHRONICLES ***

THE GOOD

-Fun controls
-Good variety of weapons
-Resident Evil look and feel
-Awesome graphics

THE BAD

-Sometimes shots don't register correctly
-Getting top ranks takes some of the fun away

OVERVIEW

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles is a good on-rails shooter that takes you down memory lane as you relive the events from Resident Evil 0, 1 and 3. Also, you'll have the chance to unlock levels that recount other events not told in the games mentioned; especially the events involving the infamous Albert Wesker.

You start the game as Rebecca Chambers (STARS Bravo) and Billy Coen (former marine) as they discover that things in the Umbrella Training Facility aren't quite right. A mutated virus known as the T-Virus has been unleashed by James Marcus (Umbrella's co-founder) as punishment to Umbrella for murdering him. This virus is turning all organic beings into flesh craving zombies.

The second scenario, Resident Evil 1, takes you through Umbrella's Research Facility which is located in a mansion's basement which is located close to the Training Facility. When STARS HQ loses communication with the Bravo team, the Alpha team, which includes Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker and some others, go in to investigate. Like Rebecca and Billy, the Alpha team shortly discovers the terrible abominations that plague the area.

Resident Evil 3 brings Jill Valentine back to Raccoon City trying to find answers but is quickly overrun by gangs of zombies. She finds aid from a mercenary named Carlos Oliveira and this simple information fetch mission turns into a fight for their survival. As they make their way through hordes of infected people, they find out that a hulking monster known as Nemesis is hunting them down.

GAMEPLAY

Resident Evil fans will definitely feel right at home with The Umbrella Chronicles because there is a very familiar look and feel to the game play. From the suspenseful in-game moments to the cut scenes, any RE fan will surely have an enjoyable experience. The game play puts you in the first person view as the camera moves you along.

At the end of each chapter you're scored in five different categories: Clear Time, Enemy Hits, Critical Hits, Objects Destroyed and Files Obtained. Each category is ranked with a letter grade (S – excellent, A – very good, B – good and C – poor) and then an overall rank will be averaged. This overall rank determines how many stars you get which lets you upgrade the weapons you've already collected. This ranking system is a neat idea but it takes away from some of the fun because you have to pay attention and shoot parts of the environment and other mundane breakables instead of focusing solely on the enemies.

For the most part the controls work really well in this game. Shooting is an easy point and click while the motion control is used for reloading and knife play. The Nunchuk helps out with weapon selection and turning the camera angle which could uncover extra hidden items. The one downfall to the control system is that sometimes shots don't register correctly. This mainly happens when and enemy is in the "get up" animation where even if you shoot them, you'll have to wait until they stand up for the shots to register.

Umbrella Chronicles offers a wide variety of cool weapons like the shotgun, magnum and rocket launcher. Your pistol has an unlimited amount of ammo but your secondary weapon is limited. At the beginning of each chapter you'll be able to choose which secondary weapon to carry with you. The customized upgrading is another fun feature which lets you cash in your performance stars to make your weapons more effective; like fire power and ammo capacity.

Aside from killing zombies, there is a challenge that awaits you at the end of each chapter where you'll encounter a boss. Each boss offers a good amount challenge which is fun for you and a friend; which takes me to the next feature, multiplayer. If you don't care about the ranking system, then the multiplayer aspect is a lot of fun. Destroying mobs of zombies is even more exciting when you doing it with a buddy. However, if you want to unlock extra levels or obtain more performance stars, you may want to go at it alone. The reason is that each level contains the same amount of destructible items and enemies and the same requirements for letter scores. So, you can do the math. If both players are equally as good, neither one will received good scores.

GRAPHICS & SOUND

The visuals are really well done in Umbrella Chronicles. There is a great amount of suspense that can only be done with the right lighting and this game definitely delivers. The spooky atmosphere gives the game a frightening edge and enhances the overall experience for the player(s).

The music is sort of up and down in Umbrella Chronicles. Sometimes the soundtrack complements the theme of the environment and sometimes it's sorely out of place. The sound effects are pretty good from the shotgun blasts to the moaning of a room full of zombies; which adds to the creepiness of the game.

CONCLUSION

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles has a few hang-ups but overall it's a fun on-rails shooter. The game has the same familiar atmosphere that fans of the series know and love. The controls are easy to pick up and it's fun to relive the events that surrounded the ill-fated town of Raccoon City. I would recommend this game to all RE fans and other people that enjoy on-rails shooters. If you enjoyed playing through the early suspenseful RE games in the series, you'll have fun playing through these events again in Umbrella Chronicles.
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