The Umbrella Chronicles is a tough one to call, even at this stage. On the plus side, the return of zombies, coupled with co-op wii-zapper action is gonna make me all teary for the days of coin op House of the Dead. But the other edge of the rail-shooter sword is that it might dumb down the whole experience.
In addition to the unlimited handgun, you’ll also be able to pick up submachine guns, rocket launchers and grenades along the way. The game’s targeting system sharpens your targeting reticule the longer its held on an enemy – presumably you’ll be able to tweak this if the game is getting too easy. Theres also a knife, which I’m hoping you’ll be able to Wii-thrust with in the same way as in RE4. Capcom will also be encouraging some exploration through the levels, allowing you to look around and pick your path.
The plot involves a journey through the sinister history of the Umbrella Corporation, which means you’ll be exploring familiar environments from RE 0,1,2 and 3, as well as new levels. Even though you might be sick of the mansion by now it shouldn’t be ignored that these are the first time these environments have been realized in true 3D, not pre rendered backgrounds. A damage sensitive environment will also be fun for people who like to bring chandeliers crashing down on enemies.
In 480p and 16:9 it looks OK, with some decent light and darkness work, but some of the world and character textures tend to blur up close. Any further fears I had of gore being played down have thankfully been nullified – you can be assured of exploding heads and blood splatter, thanks to over the top particle effects.
A run through has been estimated at 15-20 hours, and the several interactive paths through the game should multiply replayability accordingly.
Even with my critical instincts jumping all over Umbrella Chronicles, the dedicated RE fan inside me will definitely be giving this one a go. No doubt it’ll be the game of choice for the wii-zapper.