What is the meaning of life? For some, it’s a question many have devoted their entire existence to. I myself for example often question things such as this and I am certain you do too. Why are we here? What is my purpose? WHY WAS UMBRELLA CORPS. MADE? These mysteries, unfortunately, may never have an answer. Luckily for everyone though, I took the unwanted task of welcoming this black sheep into my collection and playing so that some of you don’t have to.
Umbrella Corps is a 6 to 8 player squad based multiplayer game where you play the role of a contracted member of a mercenary group. Umbrella Corps ditches horror in an attempt to provide fast-paced, harrowing deathmatches in zombie-infested locales with other minor objectives. These objectives act as the different game modes for players and range from different tasks such as killing a mutated enemy and stealing their blood sample before the enemy team, collecting briefcases of sensitive documents, and holding certain locations in a time-based situation. There is a single player mode called ‘The Experiment’, but don’t expect any story from it. It’s a hash up of different multiplayer objectives in different locations that are painfully difficult. The controls themselves are well done. They’re made for fast paced onslaughts against other players, and Bio-Organic Weapons (a Resident Evil fan would call these B.O.W.s) such as previous game enemies like Zombie Dogs, Ganados, Majini, and Bloodshots. Players receive a primary weapon, a secondary weapon and a melee weapon called a “Brainer” which is a powerful axe tool used for digging into your opponents skull for a single hit finishing move or execution. They can be heated up to inflict fire damage and makes your attack unblockable as well but it emits a high pitched whining and makes you an easy target. The brainer can be countered by enemies who have their own brainer, so rushing in isn’t always advised. Players can customize their guns as well as their outfits, and the special edition of the game comes with masks of Resident Evil favorites to wear in the game, like Chris Redfield, Barry Burton, Albert Wesker, Jake Muller, and Leon Kennedy. There are no customization options for females, very strange considering the franchise history for strong female protagonists.
Players are constantly in an aiming mode and holding down the aim button puts you in first person mode. Players can sprint, crouch and strangely crawl. Crawling speed is ridiculously fast, but it’s useful for hiding under tables and desks or entering vents to get a surprise drop on your enemy. Players can also run up walls and climb them, with the Brainer weapon acting as a climbing axe. While players can level up, your level is by no means an advantage against other players. It’s all skill here. I found myself defeating higher level opponents up in the 200+ levels with basic starter items and my own reflexes. Your progression only counts for cosmetic items like weapon, clothing camouflage and patches to decorate your character.
Umbrella Corps is the game Resident Evil fans never asked for. It’s a strange blend of player vs. player action that doesn’t seem to appeal to any traditional fans of Resident Evil, despite iconic locations such as Raccoon City and the Spencer Estate Mansion. While both of these locations are the main settings of the first 3 games, still many fans feel it was a quick attempt for a cash grab and while that may be the case, that cash could certainly be used for better products that appeal to the core demographic of horror players in the future (cough, cough Outbreak). Truly the game is a saddening departure for horror, it doesn’t exist behind these walls. Interestingly, D.C. Douglas returns as the voice for series villain Albert Wesker and it’s nice to hear the madman berate you for failing or praise you for winning during matches.
I even took to our lovely and friendly Yurei Facebook Group for Resident Evil fans to gauge a reaction. Everyone there is nice and polite, but this game was not welcome. It was like a curse uttered in the night. Umbrella Corps. Broken. Glitchy. No Plot. Hated it. Full of microtransaction crap. Very few people had something nice to say about it.
So, I treated it like a dying animal, I didn’t want to touch it. Didn’t want to be anywhere near it and get the gore on my hands or deal with it, but sometimes you have to suck it up. I recently became aware of the game going on sale: the deluxe edition was 10 dollars flat out, so I took a gamble and spent 20. One for me and one for a friend. I went into the game with as much bias as any Resident Evil fan would have, but something made me like it. Hell, liking it was an understatement: I had fun! I didn’t see any micro-transactions except for one (a style pack for chrome outfit colors. Not bad considering you start off with a multitude of customization colors to begin with) and I didn’t see any horrible game breaking glitches. Yes, Capcom actually put time and effort forth into this one. People spoke of horrible animation, too, which I found non-existant and everything in my playthrough of the tutorial, including a few private matches, was just mindless fun with a Resident Evil flair. The music in matches is great also, mixing a techno Mercenaries game mode vibe into traditional Resident Evil classical music, with flitting piano and violin accents.
While I did enjoy my time with the game, I would never, ever recommend it to someone who wants a good Resident Evil game. This isn’t it. Not by a longshot. Capcom would have been better off putting their resources into something the fans asked for instead of trying to cater to a new audience of Call Of Duty gamers. I don’t hate the game personally and I don’t exactly love it, but the fans speak for themselves and I can’t think of a reason to sell it to you unless you want to kill your friends in the Resident Evil Universe.