|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: TBA 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
For a little over a decade, we have enjoyed blowing a hole in the heads of zombies with the Resident Evil series. In that time, there have been many clones and cheap knock-offs, but none really capture the beauty and resonating fears of zombies taking over. With the success of Resident Evil 4 solidifying the need and want of more zombie shoot'em up games, it comes as no surprise that Capcom is ready to unleash another title featuring their mindless, flesh-rotting mascots, the zombies. This time around, things will be slightly different.
For starters, it will be on the Wii. I know that is nothing new, but the fact that the game has been built up from the ground up is definitely new. The fact that it will not be a ported game is definitely enough for Wii owning Resident Evil fans to get pumped. The fact that this is also going to be a first-person shooter game is even more reason why this game is gaining some fan momentum. Capcom has assured that the experience will be completely fresh, meaning it will not be a copy of the successful Dead Aim spin-off series. You will travel on a rail system that guides you completely through the game. Occasionally, you will have a choice in the matter of what direction you wish to go, but for the most part, your direction is already mapped out for you.
The characters this time around will be fan favorites - Jill Valentine, Rebecca Chambers, Carlos Oliviera, and, making a return to the franchise, Chris Redfield. Chris has been missing in action since the Dreamcast hit, Code Veronica X. Fans have been asking for the return of the male lead that was there at the start, and now they are getting rewarded for their patience. Also appearing, once again, is the vile villain and one time comrade, Albert Wesker. Not much is known about the actual storyline just yet, but what we do know is that during gameplay you will be returning to some favorite locales of the Resident Evil mythos including the Mansion, the Train, the Police Station, and eventually the Umbrella stronghold. There have also been talks about new locations for us to fill with bullet casings, but currently there has been no new information concerning the new locales.
Since the game will be on the Wii and the fact that it is a first person shooter, you can imagine what the functionality of the Wii-mote will be - point, aim, and fire. So what makes this new entry into a genre that has been done to death? After all, there are several light-gun based survival horror games; even Resident Evil has a few in the ring right now. One thing will be the camera. There have been a few pieces of footage of the game revealed that shows a whipping camera that will not only give a broad perspective of the area, but when performing certain tasks you will be treated to a small cinematic cutscene. For example, when the zombies get too close and you press the correct button, you might push them off and then witness the character you are controlling deliver a harsh kick to the stomach before returning to your normal view.
There will be other things in the game to remind fans of the core elements of the series. Therefore, it won't be mindless shooting for hours and hours. Though it does not appear that the classic "go find an item here, and then go all the way back to the beginning of the game, oh wait you should have stayed where you were" scenario will be involved this time around. It appears that you will still be able to search for items using the Nunchuk to explore the world around you, but Capcom assures that you will not have to have a Nunchuk to immerse yourself in the game. Even though Umbrella Chronicles shares many similarities with House of Dead, especially the rail system, Capcom has stated that you will be playing Umbrella Chronicles for around 15 to 20 hours. There have also been a few loose talks about the possibility of including the option of multiplayer, yet nothing is official, but we can always hope.
With each new installment, it appears that Capcom solidifies the look of the Resident Evil franchise to near perfection, and Umbrella Chronicles doesn't look to disappoint. However, there does appear to be some questionable pixilation here and there, but then again, this is still in development, so Capcom has time to fix anything that is currently less than perfect. Equally important are the sounds of Resident Evil and, thus far, there has never been a disappointing entry into the creepy symphony of the game, therefore, there really is no reason to expect anything short of horrifying - in a good way.
Every horror movie fan has played these games in to the ground. Equal to the horror movie fans are the as passionate survival horror game fans. Lately with the occasional rare exception, there hasn't been a great edge of your seat horror game. I guess it is time to go back to basics and it looks like a lot of fun. Be sure to keep checking CCC for the latest info as it becomes available.
CCC Freelance Writer