Capcom’s decision to comfortably walk away from the survival horror concept of its original Resident Evil games, to focus on a more action oriented and shooting experience, has only left longtime fans firing questions pertaining to the where the franchise is heading. Likewise, I have my own questions as well. With the recent release of Biohazard: Umbrella Corps, I would like to ask just how and why this game was even given the green light for an official release.
Biohazard: Umbrella Corps is a Resident Evil spinoff, set two years after the events of Resident Evil 6. Similar to Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, the player once again fills the shoes of an Umbrella Corporation agent/mercenary. While the evil corporation has for long been disbanded, there still remains plenty of valuable viral BOW research that needs to be salvaged.
The concept of following a good storyline from the perspective of the Umbrella Corporation seems promising at first; pivoting on the assumption that Capcom has perhaps learned much from mistakes it committed with Operation Raccoon City. Umbrella Corps, however, delivers nothing close to that, instead forcing the player to endure an inconsequential storyline across the same uninspired set pieces and tasked with the same objectives throughout the game.
In fact, even calling it as a narrative would be a sin. There’s no additional insight on the Umbrella Corporation, no constructive interaction with the faceless mercenary you play throughout, no cut-scenes; not one special moment of comprehension for the game’s abysmal content delivery. Capcom’s manner of providing insight on the Corporation is through badly written diaries scattered around the game.
There’s little differentiation between the game’s single-player mode (The Experiment) and online 3v3 multiplayer. Embarrassingly, Capcom has chosen to extract the same objectives from the online matches and incorporated them into the single-player campaign. Regardless of what you’re playing, you’ll be roaming through the same stages over and over again, and doing one of the following: killing enemies to collect their DNA, collecting briefcases, or holding a random point until the timer runs out.
The issues surrounding Umbrella Corps are more than simply trying to relate the game to the Resident Evil franchise. Umbrella Corps clearly misses the target of what a Resident Evil game is supposed to be like. That being said, several design flaws and broken gameplay mechanics make it apparent that this title was either rushed or the amount of effort gone through in making it was enough to fill a jar of jam.
Let’s begin with the awful camera. Along with a third-person perspective, the game also allows you to shift into first-person for accurate shooting. Unfortunately, the snapping movement as you shift perspectives can be incredibly disorienting at times. Additionally, the character model takes up almost half of the screen, making it impossible to predict where enemies are coming from. However, you don’t have to concern yourself with the AI. The badly coded and dumb foes may most of the times fail to even take note of your presence, and at others, showcase the worst marksmanship ever.
In the weapons category, Umbrella Corps features a wide range of arsenal from pistols to machine guns and shotguns. However, the only one weapon that you’ll find using the most is a pick axe called the Brainer, capable of initiating one-hit kills. It’s ironic that a game dwelling in online shooting has players opting for melee action instead.
Surprisingly, the game features a cover system in both the single-player and online modes. This is surprising since the cover system is of little use against zombies who cannot shoot back. As for human scenarios, interacting with available cover can be infuriating. Moving along and exiting cover can be a chore itself, even giving the enemy advantage as you try the hardest to get into position.
This brings us to the movement of the game. Moving when prone is usually supposed to offer slow mobility. For some reason, you can move at the same speed when prone as you do running. This creates a nightmare in online matches where players go prone and glide across the floors in low-lit areas to surprise you.
Umbrella Corps fails to impress in even the visuals department. Low and cheap textures give the game a muddy look, with frequent screen tearing and jumping frame-rates.
At least Capcom had the sense of not offering such a poor concept at full price. You can, though, always choose to purchase the Deluxe Edition by paying an additional $15 to attain the privilege of playing as classic Resident Evil characters such as Leon, Jake, and Wesker. There’s no point of arguing over why these skins are not part of the main game. Not like cosmetic overhauls could save this abomination.
Umbrella Corps is a repetitive broken mess that should be ashamed to associate itself with the iconic franchise.