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Old 04-20-2008, 05:54 PM   #101
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005

Nintendo Wii
1-2 Players
Developer - Cavia, Capcom
Publisher - Capcom

My Bias
-I love the Resident Evil series
-I love the arcade light gun genre

My Completion
Completed every mission on Easy difficulty

Every light gun shooter I’ve played in the arcade has had a storyline, but it’s always some ridiculous “Save the President” plot. And quite frankly when you play a light gun game, who cares about the storyline? You just want to shoot stuff. Umbrella Chronicles changes this though and for once it’s nice to get a little more engrossed in the experience.

The story is actually a recap of the previous games in the series. It’s made up of highlights from Resident Evil 0, 1, 3 and a new chapter. The last chapter is brand new to the Resident Evil timeline and tells the conclusion of the Umbrella Corporation. It’s a pretty cool ending to the series and finally wraps up some things that RE:CV left loose for years.

The new characters they added were really stupid to me. One is a guy with a thick Russian accent named Sergei. He is stereotypically Russian and that’s basically all you need to know. The worst part is that he has these Tyrant body guards that follow him around wearing sunglasses that make them look like the front of an Alienware computer. Resident Evil has never been THAT serious of a series, but his Tyrant bodyguards are just over the top goofy.

And dont worry, the cheesy RE dialog is still intact

As a fan of the Resident Evil series this game was great fan service. It was really awesome seeing the buildings and environments I experienced as pre-rendered backgrounds now fully realized in 3D. The missions you run through are awesome highlights of each of their respective games and you fight all the trademark bosses.

What I find really disappointing is that Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica are missing in action. There are 2 side missions from Resident Evil 2 which follow the side stories of Ada and Hunk, but nothing from the main game. I am dumbfounded as to why they left these games out because as far as the overall storyline goes, these two games had the most to do with the Umbrella Corporation. Not to mention RE2 was the most popular game in the series, so for a game that is trying to cater to RE fans its confusing.

How cool would it have been to run through RE2?

Supports 16:9 Widescreen and Progressive Scan

On a technical note this game was made for widescreen TV’s with the normal standard aspect ratio as an afterthought. If you try playing this game on a normal square TV, two black bars fill the screen the whole time. I really hate it when games do this.

The graphics in Umbrella Chronicles are about average for a Wii game. Despite being from the same company, they are not nearly as impressive as RE4’s visuals. Nothing in this game is going to blow you away graphically. Still considering the usual quality of light gun shooters this game fares pretty well.

The mansion has never looked so good

Most of this game is made up of the dark and drab environments of the series. This isn’t exactly a bad thing because that’s what the series has always been about. Because this game grabs from different titles in the series, you get some nice varied locations and it helps keep things interesting despite the overall dark theme.

Unfortunately from what I’ve been told, the Resident Evil 3 scenario’s use the exact same assets from the RE:Outbreak games. I can’t confirm this because I have never played the Outbreak spin-offs, but they do look a bit worse than the rest of the games areas. It’s certainly a believable claim.

Like the rest of the series, there aren’t many memorable tunes. However instead of a few awesome tracks thrown in there isn’t anything here like that. What the other titles in the series have always done right to make up for the lack of music, is add a certain ambience that fits the mood and adds suspense. RE:UC replaces ambience with these subtle rock loops that sound neither inspiring or memorable. The menu screen music is probably the best track in the entire game, if the rest of the games music was like that it would be awesome.

The other disappointment is that they didn’t bring back any of the memorable tunes from the games this revisits.

This is an on rails light gun shooter. If you don’t know what that is (which you should if you have ever been in an arcade) the game basically walks you along a track and all you have to worry about is aiming and shooting.

This game differs from most light gun games found in the arcades as well as most home light games you buy for other consoles. You aren’t actually aiming at points on your screen, your moving the cursor around like you do on the Wii main menu.

There is no screen calibration like found in other Wii light gun games, so this game will always feel like your positioning a cursor rather than pointing a gun directly at the screen. Interesting tidbit, the technology used in the Wii Sensor bar is the exact same as what’s used in Arcade games. It’s true, I went to my local arcade and confirmed. So theoretically if you could position or even build your own sensor bar to accommodate your screen size, then you could have 1 to 1 screen pointing. Not anything I’d expect any normal person to do, but interesting nonetheless.

I can’t tell you how different this game plays or feels with a plastic gun shell. I own neither the official Zapper or a 3rd party shell, but when I eventually get one I will update this review. I have heard reports that a good gun shell (not the Zapper) makes the game more fun than it already is.

The quick time events from RE4 are back with a vengeance. These are by far the most frustrating part of the game. During certain cut scenes the screen will inverse colors for half of a second, and then prompts you to quickly press a random button. If you fail to hit it in time or push the wrong one by mistake then its game over and you must restart the entire stage (or halfway through if you hit the checkpoint). What’s worse is that sometimes it wants you to repeatedly mash the displayed button because there have been many instances where I pressed the required button once and still died. I wish it would have told me that.

The bosses in this game are really fun. Most of them do some creative things, which aren’t exactly new to the light gun genre, but fun nonetheless. Although this is a Resident Evil game its not scary at all. I'd like to say that its because of the genre, but I know thats a lie. Like RE4 its an action game.

Even in the dark its not scary

One complaint I have with this game is it’s so dang hard. It starts off pretty easy but by the time the last levels come around it’s near impossible. When games of this length are this hard, it becomes very frustrating redoing entire 10 minute levels just to get stuck at the same part. I understand some players like their games hard but there are three difficulty options in this game, at least make easy mode EASY. Part of what makes this game so hard is that most enemies require pinpoint accuracy to be killed in one shot. It’s not just a matter of shooting a zombie in the head, you have to nab a specific part of their forehead to do it. The game has way too many instances where enemies jump at you and you have a split second to react in time or you get hit. The only way to stop the attack is to get that critical hit, which is REALLY hard to do.

Even at this close its hard to get headshots

Also counterattacks often do more harm than good. In this game you can counter attack if a zombie grabs you by rapidly shaking the Wii Remote. While this can save you from getting hit, a lot of the time it actually puts you in more trouble than you were in. While your character performs the counter attack animation the other zombies don’t stop moving forward. So when you finally get back in control, you have zombies standing point blank in front of you ready to attack.

Umbrella Chronicles is full of fan service. Throughout the stages there are secret files hidden in breakable objects such as lights and chairs. These files are full of Resident Evil history and fun facts, which makes for a good read through for any RE fan.

Congrats to me, I unlocked a little icon of the G-Virus.

Like any light gun shooter, 2 player makes this game even more enjoyable. What I love about the way this game handles 2 players is that you both share the same health bar. Most light gun shooters divide the screen in half and forces players to worry about their half of the screen rather than working together.

Another cool part about this game is its weapon upgrade system. Like Resident Evil 4, you can use the points you earn in missions to upgrade your guns. You may then pick that gun to be your starting alternate weapon or find it somewhere on your next stage. The only bad part about this whole system is that once you upgrade all the guns to max level, you can then upgrade them to have infinite ammo. This sounds awesome for a light gun game and trust me it is, but once you do this it’s impossible to go back. Like a cheat that can’t be turned off. There is no way outside of resetting your save to get rid of the infinite ammo.

Lasting Appeal
One of the great parts about this game is the amount of content it has. The bad part about most light gun games is that they can be beaten within an hour and get pretty stale after you’ve played through it multiple times. Umbrella Chronicles takes a good 10-15 hours to beat all the missions, including the bonus mission. And because this is a light gun game there is a good amount of replay value. Include the unlockables, the gun upgrade system and multiple difficulty levels and you have a light gun shooter that lasts as long as a full blown game.

Final Thoughts
If you’re a Resident Evil fan than getting this game should be a no brainer. It’s fun and it’s full of RE fanservice, enough said.

If you’re not a fan of the franchise I still recommend this game. It’s a fun light gun shooter that will last a very long time.

Gameplay Video

Last edited by Seraph; 07-22-2009 at 03:10 PM.
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