Capcom's first attempt at creating a multiplayer Resident Evil game pays off, with more than a handful of annoyances along the way. I think we can all agree that Resident Evil spin-off titles are never as good as the main series. Most of the time, and especially until Outbreak, the spin-off games are terrible games on their own. Survivor. Dead Aim. Both games failed at what they were trying to deliver, ending up with lackluster Resident Evil games. Outbreak, I'm proud to say, breaks the curse, and creates a very fun and enjoyable spin-off game. I'm not proud to say that the many bad elements from Survivor and Dead Aim, have not been cleared up in Outbreak, however.
Unlike the main series of Resident Evil games, in Outbreak, you play as, for the most part, average joes of Raccoon City, with little to no formal training in combat. Outbreak also is the first multiplayer Resident Evil game. The game gives you eight characters to choose from, as well as dozens of unlockable NPCs to play as later, in an all out fight for survival in bite sized episodes online and off. Online, you team up with three other survivors, controlled by real people, and fight your way through the horror. Offline, however, there is no sort of co-op experience. Sure, you have two partners to help you, but they are controlled by brain dead A.I. instead of real flesh and blood people. This is one of Outbreak biggest drawbacks. The game, while being a very fun experience, could have been much better if co-op was offered offline. It's impossible play online at all anymore, as the servers have been taken down anyway, so you're stuck with brain dead A.I. from here on out. The A.I. isn't so bad, but they love wasting ammo and running off on their own. For most of the adventure, one partner will stay by your side, while the other will run off on their own, only to show up near the end, and most likely dying if played on the harder difficulties.
Instead of long narratives like the other Resident Evil games, Outbreak provides you with five bite sized episodes, all clocking in at about 30 minutes each, with the exception of the final scenario, which will take over an hour to complete. Many references to the main series are present, most notably a physical appearance of Nicholai Ginovaef in one scenario. These little tidbits of info will provide hardcore RE fans with some great moments, but will confuse some other players. Outbreak's graphics are good for the PlayStation 2, but in comparison to the remake on the Gamecube, are lackluster at best. Many glitches and limitations really hold Outbreak back from greatness, as they never hinder game play, they can become incredibly annoying and cause you to want to stop game play. Outbreak's attention to detail is what sets it apart. Not to mention the dozens of unlockable NPCs to play as, each character have alternate costumes. Other unlockables include multiple difficulties and alternate game modes, as well as cutscenes and music that is purchasable.
Proving that a good Resident Evil spin-off wasn't an oxy-moron, Resident Evil Outbreak proves itself to be a great game, with a few hinderances like glitches and lack of offline co-op holding it back.
Graphics - 3.6 out of 5
Controls - 3.2 out of 5
Story - 2.9 out of 5
Level Design - 4.1 out of 5
Replay Value - 4.4 out of 5