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LONG BLOG

Wii REVIEWS: Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles

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For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:

http://www.gamesradar.com/best-wii-games-all-time/

I decided to go back and play those 5o games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I hae not played before. Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

S1- Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles:
Year: 2007.
Genre: Rail Shooter.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom, Cavia. 

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

With the first reveal of the Wii, it was inevitable that a host of Light Gun Rail Shooters were going to be release on the console. With Rail Shooters, zombies are a natural fit. And where there are zombies, Capcom's Resident Evil series cannot be far behind. The Umbrella Chronicles is Capcom's first answer to that demand.

Since rail shooters typically requiring less resources, Capcom took this opportunity to retell the story of Resident Evil 0, 1, and 3 in a fast naturally action oriented fashion. Additionally, the Umbrella Chronicles include chapters detailing the fall of the pharmaceutical corporation. This makes the game ideal for Resident Evil fans who want to quickly brush up on the series's history, and for new fans who are not interested on playing the older games. Also, the game is a decent enough Rail Shooter that should appeal to fans of the genre.

However, I am not sure the game will hold any appeal for players who are neither Resident Evil nor Rail Shooter fans.

"Humanity's future is safe under our Umbrella"

There are few organizations in videogames that are as evil as Umbrella. In fact, I would argue none even manage to compete. Through more than 40 years of virtual history, Umbrella ruined the lives of countless individuals, and inflicted horrors on both an individual and global scale that are simply unimaginable. At no single point is it entirely clear what are the reasons for their action. Because it is a huge organization, the different ideologies of its executives cause pain for a variety of reason.

Unfortunately, in this retelling of the Resident Evil story, the more interesting parts of Umbrellas story is relegated to the Archive Files, while the main story treads mainly on the main protagonist's walk from point A to B. In each of the different scenarios, those who are not already familiar with the lore behind the franchise wouldn't be able to differentiate it from Zombies the Game.

The exception is in the behind the scenes scenario, which are played by non other than Albert "Sunshades" Wesker. Reaffirming his statues as a badass character, Wesker's chapters are actually the only chapters that run more than skin deep, as they attempt to showcase both Wesker's ambition and Umbrella's imminent downfall.

After reading through the archives, playing the regular scenarios, and finally playing Wesker's chapter, I was reminded of three things. First, that Resident Evil is a franchise with a carefully constructed lore, a lore that was sadly forgotten with development of RE5. Second, that Chris "Punch-a-boulder) Redfield is such a stupid one dimensional character with no redeeming factors. In one instance, after having to kill a teammate who became a zombie, his first remark was: "sorry Forest, I will miss our target practice sessions". Third, that Wesker is a great villain, and his narration adds a lot to the story.

As you might guess in a Rail Shooter, the story is divided into small stages. Due to going through what can be considered 4 story lines, the game consists of a number of "main" stages as well as "sub" stages. Generally, you would want to finish both, but some of the sub stages can only be unlocked after fulfilling some easy conditions.

There is nothing revolutionary about the Umbrella Chronicle's attempt to retell the Resident Evil story, and it can actually be said its a little bland. However, its actually just enough for fans to remember all the lore, while newcomers might be interested after reading the Archives.

Albert Wesker: +3
Not an Interesting Retelling: -3
Cool for the Fans: +3

Sure you will


"The city was doomed to annihilation... and there was no way out"

Before starting a level, you are usually given the choice between two characters, who are either Jill Valentine or another character (Jill is available the most). However, your choice has no effect on gameplay, as the starting handgun which has infinite ammo is the same for all characters depending on the stage.

Other than your trusty handgun, you can pick up different weapons in each stage, running the gamut from shotguns to anti-tank missiles. Also, you can chuck grenades if you need to, and as always, picking up a herb will help keep you healthy.

With your arsenal in place, the player needs to concentrate in one thing and one thing only; to point at the screen with the Wiimote and shoot. I did not find this to be really accurate at first, which could be due to one of these reasons: A) Limitations of the Wii itself, B) Programing, C) Light Gun games in general, D) My own incompetence. As I slowly managed to get better, I realized it actually can be a combination of all the above.

For maximum efficiency, you are required to shoot at weak-points to get critical hits. Unfortunately, the weak-points usually have very small hit boxes, and whether I hit them or not was more due to luck than skill. To better be able to play the game, I spent some time calibrating the Wii sensor, as well as realign my whole gaming area to get a more steady aim. Consistently, I thought some kind of aim-assist would have improved the experience somewhat.

Depending on many factors, this might be different for the player. For instance, the size of your TV vs the size of your gaming area. Such discrepancies are inherent in Light Gun games, which is why Arcade Cabinets are custom made for a certain position.

Convinced that I won't be able to master the game, I lowered the difficulty to Easy, and actually had a fun and challenging time. For my limited skill-level, I didn't feel it was a cake-walk, and the challenge level was perfect. Generally, the game was fun for a stage or two, but playing longer than that wouldn't be ideal

Stage System: +2
Aiming: -3

Just the time to have a romantic candlelight dinner


"Be a good girl and stay dead this time"

Since you are basically retreading a lot of the stories of the past RE titles, you will be facing a number of familiar monsters. From the mundane zombies, to all sorts of creepy crawlies. Regular monsters come in three varieties, small creepers that die with one shot, zombies, and special foes that are usually tougher than your regular zombies. Some scenarios have unique monsters, which was a relief since I really hated the leeches of the RE0 chapters.

There were a number of iconic bosses in the RE franchise as well, and the Umbrella Chronicles does a good job of making some of those bosses just as iconic in a different gameplay mode. Besides being visually freighting, the bosses will push you in a mulch-tiered battle for dominance.

Generally, each boss offers a unique fight that would demand you focus where to shoot. If its red and glowing, you know you should shoot there. However, sometimes you need to do more to expose the weak-spot, and sometimes it is only exposed momentarily as you move on-rail. Meanwhile, you need to do everything you can to evade your enemies attacks.

In another genre, some of what happens in the boss fights can be derided as QTEs. However, within the confines of a Rail Shooter, they are another form of a dodge button. Yet, not all attacks can be evaded with a button prompt (or a Wiimote waggle), as some require you to stay your ground and cancel the momentum of the boss. Other attack will have you shooting off tentacles, or breaking down incoming rocks.

Not all levels have a boss fight at the end, but most do, and the bosses are in many ways a highlight of the game.

Boss Fights: +3
Varied Enemies: +2

Jill has more to worry about here than becoming a sandwich


"The world will burn in an inferno of hate"

Rail-Shooters benefit from their pre-designed camera angles, and as such they have excellent control over the environment you see. As such, through good direction, a Rail-Shooter can look much better than contemporary games in the same system. Naturally, a series known for its good direction such as RE looks great.

However, enemy models are repeated a lot, with little difference between two of the same type. Which makes sense for bats, and even monkeys, but shouldn't be the norm for the large sized hunters. Of course, the bosses are a highlight of enemy design, but how hard is that with the iconic direction of the series.

The Playable characters themselves look fine in all of their pre-HD glory, and I frankly see this grounded design of Chris as a more natural design choice than the Hulk in RE5. As for their voice acting, it runs all the way from weak like Rebecca Chambers, to excellent in the case of Weskers. Mostly, it adds to gameplay experience, especially since you are too busy aiming to read.

For the soundtrack, I must say I was pleasantly surprised by its quality and style. While no track other than the main-title track was especially memorable, it was a solid offering that gave a special mood. With ambient noises, as well as an electronic score, the track smoothly changes from haunting to urgent and exciting. When I think about it, its difficult to fully appreciate the soundtrack of Rail-Shooter because the game continues to move and doesn't give you the chance to fully listen.

Nice Graphical Design: +3
Repetitive Enemy Models: -2
Nice Soundtrack: +3

He is really a fun guy if you get to know him


In Conclusion:

With enough content to fully occupy a first run, the Umbrella Chronicles is great for people looking for another RE game or a Rail-Shooter. For one thing, they can always play it with two players (which I have not tested). At worst, its an inoffensive game that serves to remind you of the glory days of the franchise.

At best, you might actually like it and actively try to master each and every level. With different difficulty levels, as well as a number of collectibles that you can only get if you preform well at harder difficulties, this is a game that you can play a lot.

Personally, I don't think this game warrant the time needed to master it, but it sure deserves a full play-through.

Final: 36/50

*****************************************************************

"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"

For some reason, Destructoid did not review this game.

"Sales Data:"

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

Judging from the fact that Capcom made another Chronicles game on the Wii, they were satisfied by this game's performance, as they should be. In fact, at about 1.5 million units sold, The Umbrella Chronicles actually is the highest selling spin-off RE game to date, selling more than the Outbreak game in the PS2, and the terrible Operation Raccoon city in the both the PS360.

As for Rail Shooters in the Wii, its only outsold by Link's Crossbow Training, which I guess makes sense especially with the Zapper being packaged with that game. Its noteworthy that only RE and House of the Dead are Rail Shooters that punched the 500 Thousand line.


"Tips"

1- Don't be ashamed of decreasing the difficulty level.
2- Aim for the head (DUH!!).
3- Magnum's are your best friend if you don't usually miss.
4- Don't be afraid of using grenades.
5- To get better scores and to find files, simply shoot everything that can break.
6- Some doors are breakable, and lead to bonus stuff (nothing groundbreaking though with one exception).
7- Countering is an easy kill, but it costs some time.
8- If you are willing to play even more Rail Shooters, it pays to get a Zapper (I don't have one though).

"Next Game"


After playing the RE Rail Shooter game that is not in the Gamesradar list, I am now going to play Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles which is #47 in that list.

I enjoyed the Umbrella Chronicles, and Darkside is supposed to be the better game, so I am actually going in with some expectations.

Stay Tuned


For Previous Wii game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/wii/resident-evil-the-umbrella-chronicles/screenshots

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About Lord Spencerone of us since 5:57 PM on 01.12.2014

Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Thanks to the excellent work of community member Dango, now I have a cool infographic of my top 20 games. This list is not my final one, but what I thought off at the moment. If you notice, they are presented in chronological order:





Oh, and here is a link to my blogs:
My Blogs